Are the CRTC and CMPA about to devastate Netflix's hopes of succeeding in Canada?

by Knowlton Thomas

As if Netflix doesn't have enough constrictions from low-cellinged internet plans laid out by the oligarchs that comprise Canada's telecom industry, NextWeb is reporting that Ottawa may very well kick the new-to-Canada video streaming service before it can even properly stand up in our fine country.

Quoth NextWeb:

Tomorrow, the Internet media giant Netflix, is the topic of a meeting in Ottawa where industry players will discuss whether or not Netflix will be required to pay online broadcaster fees in Canada.

According to our sources, the Canadian Media Production Assiociation (CMPA) is suggesting that the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television Commission) should be charging Netflix because it’s “undermining the Canadian broadcasters’ revenue model”. In other words, it’s too cheap.

The article notes that major ISPs like Rogers and Bell are hit with this sort of fee, since Netflix charges $8 for a service that many would prefer over other company's $40 movie bundles. However, Netflix can only remain so popular—because of its streaming nature, users must be exceptionally wary of their usage, lest they go over their plan's allotted data and pay overage fees with markups in excess of a staggering 10,000 percent. Meanwhile, Bell and the like offer customers packages invulnerable to such restrictive limitations. 

So is there really undermining going on here? Or is this just more of the CRTC and Canada's telco oligopoly creating an unbreakable monolith?

Los Gatos, California, United States

With more than 15 million members, Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] is the world’s largest subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the Internet and sending DVDs by mail. For $8.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited TV episodes and movies streamed to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. With Netflix, there are... more

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is an independent public organization that regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems. The CRTC does not regulate newspapers, magazines, cell phone rates, the quality of service and business practices of cell phone companies, or the quality and content of TV and radio programs. As an... more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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