NETFLIX WANTS TO OPEN A MAJOR FILM AND TV STUDIO IN TORONTO

One of the world's leading entertainment brands is ramping up production in its quest to satisfy the insatiable beast that is your remote control—and Hollywood North could benefit big time.

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Toronto (Photo by Lisa de Jong)

One of the world’s leading entertainment brands is ramping up production in its quest to satisfy the insatiable beast that is your remote control—and Hollywood North could benefit big time.

I mean, where better for Netflix to make a whole bunch of new films and TV shows than in Toronto? With its wealth of talent, tax credits and buildings that look like they could be American?

The streaming content juggernaut is considering it, according to Toronto Mayor John Tory. So seriously, in fact, that the city is already working with local industry unions to bolster their labour forces in anticipation of future productions.

“I have a very high level of confidence, without betraying confidences that aren’t yet concrete, that they’re going to,” said Tory on Tuesday when asked if Netflix was setting up shop in Toronto.

“They’ve been in active discussions with our industry, with me, about wanting to create one of their hubs here.”

Tory, who was speaking at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards gala, also said he’d met with representatives from Netflix in Los Angeles last March, to discuss the matter.

“We’ve talked to them from here a number of times and they certainly know how much we would like to have them here,” said Tory to the Canadian Press. When asked if he knew when Netflix might create a production hub in Toronto he said no, but also that “If I knew I wouldn’t tell you.”

Coy as the mayor wants to play it, an expansion into Toronto makes sense for Netflix.

The American company has been producing more and more original content in recent years, much of it with viewership numbers to rival that of any major cable network. It took home five Golden Globe awards for its original content on Sunday alone, more than any other network or streaming service.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s film and TV production industry is booming. Several new studios, including one owned by CBS Television, are slated to open here within the next few years and, on top of that, Netflix recently committed $500 million toward the creation and distribution of original productions in Canada.

Currently, the company’s only main production facility is in Los Angeles, but it plans to build new hubs in Madrid and Albuquerque. Could Toronto be next?

In the words of Tory himself, “fingers crossed.”

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