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PIAC files submission to Heritage Canada’s Canadian Content consultations:
Canadian content should be supported but not by forfeiting affordable access to broadband
OTTAWA, December 7, 2016 – A survey filed by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) in its submission to the Minister of Heritage’s Consultation on Canadian Content in a Digital World shows Canadians want Canadian content (Can Con) to succeed globally but differ on how and what type of Can Con should be supported.
The national survey of 1,200 English-speaking Canadians found the majority of Anglophone Canadians watch “some” or “very little” film or television made by Canadians but still want Can Con to succeed globally – 73% of respondents believe the top priority should be to create Can Con so it can be “sold to the rest of the world” rather than “creating Canadian content for Canadians.”
When asked for the best tool to support Can Con, Canadians were split but younger respondents in particular tended to favour greater promotion and marketing of Canadian films and television.
Figure 1. Best tool to support Canadian Content (by age)
While many Canadians would still like to see ongoing support for dramas and documentaries, a growing number of Canadians, including young Canadians and some regional communities, believe local communities and minority groups, such as ethnocultural and First Nations groups, should be given close attention.
Figure 2. First and second priorities for support for types of Canadian programming
“Our survey shows Canadian think Can Con is important, but the question is how to support it moving into the future,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel to PIAC. “We believe no policy tool should hinder affordable access to broadband internet because Canadians, including low-income Canadians, need the internet to participate, connect and innovate. So, a levy on Internet Service Providers to support Can Con funding could actually hurt the success of Canadian content—that proposal should be out of the question.”
When asked who should support Canadian content, the top answers given by respondents were: Canadian television broadcasters (81% support), cable and satellite TV providers (72%), and online video streaming services (64%).
“Canadians see traditional and to some extent online media players as having the most ‘skin in the game,’ so maybe they should have greater responsibilities to support Can Con,” said Alysia Lau, Legal Counsel at PIAC. “However, we should look at the current policy tools first and figure out what works and what doesn’t, rather than simply talking about more funding.”
PIAC’s full submission to the Canadian Content in a Digital World consultation can be found here.
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