Source: Sun News Network
The Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) wants you to fear for the survival of the Canadian content system. With Internet-based media such as Netflix having captured the hearts and minds of consumers, they say, Canadian-made media is already half in the grave.
The solution? Block those same consumers from accessing certain American entertainment.
If this argument has made you lament the imminent demise of CanCon, as opposed to embracing it, please seek medical attention.
But this is the argument the CMPA brought in January to the Senate's standing committee on transportation and communication, where they discussed a "Study to examine the challenges faced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in relation to the changing environment of broadcasting and communications."
On one hand, the CMPA argued in its opening remarks, "we have moved from an industry that survived only because it was protected to an industry that is increasingly export-driven."
Canadian media survives, they added, to the tune of "$7.6 billion to Canada's GDP, including $2.3 billion in exports, and . . . more than 127,000 full-time, high-quality jobs."
On the other hand, they went on, "we need to be careful when someone says rely solely on the market or rely solely on consumers to drive the future. These are critical elements but consumer choice is a shallow thing without diversity."
And how can we ensure "diversity?" Well, the CMPA has a few ideas up its sleeve:
1. Require foreign-based content companies to pay into the CanCon system.
2. Bar Canadians from changing their IP addresses to access the American versions of those content companies.
3. Require the companies to pay Canadian retail taxes.
There is little need to fear that any of these measures would cripple Netflix, et al., financially. They've done quite well on their own.
The real fear is that they would support a move to keep Canadians from using the Internet, ostensibly the most open and individual-friendly media platform ever to exist, as they like it.
That's acceptable when we're talking about child pornography and death threats - not how Canadians kick back in front of the TV. Or the laptop.
The CBC, the MAPL music rating system, myriad arts councils and other such entities have ensured that Canadian media is more than available - and often, that you're paying for it, even if you never see or hear it.
Their real complaint is that everything else is simply too available, and must be held off.
Why might a viewer go to the trouble of signing up for Netflix to watch House of Cards when they can get Republic of Doyle on basic cable?
Somehow it doesn't occur to the CMPA that House of Cards might be preferable, and there's nothing government regulation can do about it - without risking the ire of consumers, that is.
Canadian-made entertainment already has the opportunity either to shine or burn in an enormously diverse media landscape.
Evidently the CMPA thinks its clients deserve not to have the option to burn.
CanCon regulations do have a role to play in creating a national cultural identity - if we want that cultural identity to amount to a deep-seated inferiority complex.
Remember: CanCon is probably why you know what Nickelback is.
Kill it with fire.
© Sun News Network