Should streaming services that operate in Canada be required to contribute to support Canadian content?
Online streaming giants should be forced to contribute two per cent of their annual Canadian revenue to support Canadian and Indigenous content and help level the playing field for local broadcasters, executives from Rogers Communications Inc. told a CRTC hearing Tuesday.
The Toronto-based media and telecommunications company said Rogers and its Canadian competitors are being held back by a "kind of oppressive" regulatory structure that doesn’t apply the same rules to newer digital companies which have disrupted the industry.
In the short-term, it urged the commission to establish a temporary news fund to help subsidize private TV and radio news stations using 30 per cent of the contributions it wants those online services to make.
"We operate in a heavy … regulatory environment on news," Rogers Sports and Media president Colette Watson said.
"It's really difficult to keep planning for the future when we're stuck in 1995 with a framework."
The company's presentation came in the second week of the federal broadcasting regulator's public consultations in response to the Online Streaming Act, which received royal assent in April.
It is meant to update federal legislation to require digital platforms such as Netflix, YouTube and TikTok to contribute to and promote Canadian content.
The commission is exploring whether streaming services should be asked to make an initial contribution to the Canadian content system and if this would help provide equal footing for local companies, which are already required to support Canadian content.
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