Catching Up on Netflix says linear TV will die – C11 Twitter Spats – Canada’s Digital Services Tax

July 23, 2022

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings insisted that linear TV will die in “five to ten years,” as he hosted yet another quarterly investor call to explain the streaming service’s stall in subscription growth (it lost 1.3 million North American customers and will have to get by with its remaining 220 million global subscribers). Hastings’ comments prompted an ode to the staying power of linear TV by Alex Cranz in The Verge

The uncertain future of linear TV in Canada is the focus of a CRTC report about the revenue impact on Canadian TV companies losing access to programming rights to American premium movies and hit drama series. The Report suggests the Netflix prediction might be true and Hastings’ estimate of “five to ten years” too generous. I posted a summary of the Report’s projections.

Last week I posted that Washington Post columnist J.J.McCullough’s loose description of Bill C-11’s “regulation” of YouTube videos needed to be tightened up: the Bill excludes the possibility of CanCon “exhibition quotas” or abusive content codes for videos posted to social media platforms. When the Heritage Minister’s Chief of Staff  John Matheson quoted my post on Twitter he drew fire from C-11 opponents which I summarized briefly  because the back and forth seemed to resolve some misunderstandings about the Bill. This is definitely a post for C-11 disputants and Parliamentarians, but of less interest to normal people.

A Globe and Mail editorial weighed in on the tax avoidance strategies of Big Tech companies, in this case Amazon. In passing the Globe mentioned that ratification of the multi-nation OECD agreement on a minimum corporate tax is stalled in US congress along with much of the Biden agenda. If the OECD deal falls apart Canada’s Digital Services Tax on Big Tech would kick in after all. As I wrote in previous post last December, this “audience tax” is the ideal revenue stream to aid Canadian media that has lost its advertising revenue to Google and Facebook. 

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Howard Law

I am retired staff of Unifor, the union representing 300,000 Canadians in twenty different sectors of the economy, including 10,000 journalists and media workers. As the former Director of the Media Sector and as an unapologetic cultural nationalist, I have an abiding passion for public policy in Canadian media.

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