April 27, 2016
PRE-CONSULTATIONS: STRENGTHENING CANADIAN CONTENT CREATION, DISCOVERY AND EXPORT IN A DIGITAL WORLD
On the table for this consultation are the primary legal and policy building blocks which impact our sector: the Broadcast Act, Copyright Act, Income Tax Act, Telecommunications Act, Distribution Policy, Foreign Investment Policy and Canadian Content, as well as institutions such as Telefilm Canada, the National Film Board, the Canada Council and the CBC/Radio Canada. As the Government works through this process to develop broader priorities for broadcast policy and for the sector in general, the Guild urges the Government to lead an approach that provides all Canadians with a compelling diversity of stories, that reflects our collective cultural heritage and builds Canada’s screen based industries
ISSUE 1: Support for Canadian authorship:
Economic sustainability and the cultural mission are inseparable for anyone to speak seriously about a home-grown screen sector. We are concerned about a fundamental shift by the CRTC away from the core principle that Canadian stories be told by Canadians. Canadian performers, writers, directors and their creative teams are essential to the creation of high end dramatic series, feature films and documentaries.
ISSUE 2: Consolidation and concentration of resources.
We are concerned that active attempts to concentrate resources in the hands of fewer players in the broadcast and production sectors will result in less competition and fewer commissioning executives and producers. There is insufficient evidence that a greater concentration of production resources or higher overall quality will accompany this attrition in diversity.
ISSUE 3: Creating a production and exhibition ecosystem where all of the players contribute to the Canadian system.
We recognize this as a period of transition where new platforms, new funding models for production and new business models for exhibition are disrupting conventional approaches. With the emergence a more borderless environment and greater demand for content from audiences we recognize challenges related to maintaining a separate and distinct market for content in Canada. As audiences migrate to new platforms the likely result will be lower revenues for conventional players, such as broadcasters, and this will diminish their capacity to commission and support production. To maintain a healthy ecosystem it is important that new and emerging platforms also contribute to the overall health of the Canadian system. All services, including internet based platforms and OTT services such as Netflix should contribute to Canadian content programming.
ISSUE 4: Maintain and enhance support for production in Canada.
Our sector is a success story, but our success is fragile and has only been possible because of a long-standing, well-conceived public/private partnership between governments and the industry. The partners who created this creative engine need to be vigilant about maintaining Canada’s advantage in the hyper-competitive global media industry.
We need to maintain public sector funding for film and television, including tax credits, the Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada, and introduce mechanisms to stimulate private investment.
Tax credits are an effective tool for supporting production activity (both Canadian content and foreign location production). Our sector is an economic driver, creating high quality jobs. It is important that support be maintained for incentives that contribute to a robust infrastructure and a deep pool of experienced talent. Moreover, funding must adapt as the industry moves to digital platforms.
ISSUE 5: Canada needs and wants a well-funded, stable, national public broadcaster:
A CBC that provides Canadians with distinct drama, entertainment, groundbreaking news, current affairs, and documentary journalism.
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