Post Tagged with: "netflix"

What a Difference Two Years Can Make: Canadian Broadcasters and Distributors on the Internet

The Globe and Mail is reporting that a coalition of broadcasters, broadcast distributors (cable and satellite companies), and creators groups have written to the CRTC to ask for a public consultation on over-the-top video providers such as Netflix. The letter states:

The Working Group believes indeed, like the Standing Committee, that foreign over-the-top services are becoming a significant presence in the domestic market. It is now public knowledge that a foreign over-the-top service operating in Canada has commissioned new exclusive dramatic content, including for the Canadian market. It is buying exclusive rights with studios in the windows of certain linear Canadian programming services. Therefore, the Working Group submits that the Commission should initiate the public consultation recommended by the Standing Committee.

The fight against Netflix is likely to escalate as broadcasters and broadcast distributors wrap themselves up in the Canadian flag and proclaim the future of Canadian content depends on new regulation of online video providers complete with Canadian content requirements and financial contributions (these are the same broadcasters arguing for decreased Canadian content requirements on their own networks).

The battle has been brewing over the past few months (I wrote about Shaw’s about face on regulation in January) and what is particularly striking is how badly Canadian broadcasters and broadcast distributors understood the future impact of the Internet on their businesses. The prospect of the Internet becoming a substitute for conventional broadcast was not exactly a secret at the new media hearing in 2009. In fact, I wrote about the hearing and the Internet streaming of movies in back-to-back columns just before the hearing started. But consider the comments of Canada’s broadcasters and broadcast distributors then and now. Earlier this month, Shaw told the CRTC:

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April 15, 2011 49 comments News

Netflix CEO: Canadian ISP Caps “Significant Negative”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has stated that he’s worried about the download caps imposed by Canadian ISPs, acknowledging that they could be “a significant negative for Netflix.”

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January 27, 2011 18 comments Must Reads

The Netflix Effect in Canada

Credit Suisse has conducted a study that unsurprisingly finds that Canadian ISP pricing leads to sticker shock for those subscribing to services such as Netflix.  That will only continue with ISPs such as Primus and Shaw introducing new limits on their bandwidth caps.

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January 10, 2011 14 comments Must Reads

Netflix Partner Says Comcast Setting Up Toll for Online Video Delivery

Level 3 Communications, which delivers online movies to Netflix customers, says that ISP giant Comcast has set up a toolbooth around its broadband Internet services.

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November 30, 2010 3 comments Must Reads

Why are U.S. Net Services Slow to Migrate North?

Netflix, the popular online movie rental service, launched in Canada last month, providing consumers with the option to download an unlimited number of movies and television shows for a flat monthly fee.  While the Netflix debut was marred by an ill-advised public relations stunt that involved actors masquerading as excited consumers, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the long delays in migrating the service north once again raised questions over why popular online services rarely view Canada as a priority destination.

Canada’s legal framework makes for a convenient explanation, but the reality is that subtle legal differences are rarely the primary rationale for business and marketing decisions.  Moreover, Canadian privacy, e-commerce, and intellectual property laws are compliant with international standards and recent surveys have found that business executives view Canadian protections as better than those in the United States. As the Canadian government readies its national digital economy strategy, identifying the real reasons behind delayed entry into the Canadian market is a crucial piece of the puzzle.  

At least three explanations come to mind.

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October 15, 2010 36 comments Columns