SHOULD CANADA LEGALLY FORCE NETFLIX TO PRODUCE CANCON?

A government panel will report on whether streaming services will be required to make Canadian programming, but Netflix is pushing back

Alias Grace is a co-production between CBC and Netflix. (Courtesy of CBC/Netflix)

Canadians looking for homegrown content on Netflix aren’t starved for selection. The streamer partnered with CBC to produce Anne With An E and Alias Grace, licensed out shows like Workin’ Moms, Kim’s Convenience and Schitt’s Creek, and even have a few CanCon films like Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies and Michael Dowse’s Goon in its library.

But if there were a competition between streamers as to who showcases the most CanCon, CBC’s Gem and Crave would win, naturally.

Gem is all CanCon, served up free for Canadians from our public broadcaster (unless they want to stream commercial-free for a small fee). Meanwhile, subscribers with the full package from Crave (including Movies + HBO + Starz) have access to at least four times the Canadian content compared to Netflix, and not just the popular television shows (Cardinal, Letterkenny) and classic films (Away From Her, Dead Ringers, Fubar).

Crave’s movie library boasts recent micro-budgeted debuts like Kathleen Hepburn’s Never Steady Never Still, Daniel Warth’s Dim The Fluorescents, Ashley McKenzie’s Werewolf, Zoe Hopkins’s Kayak To Klemtu, Sophie Dupuis’s Chien De Garde, Joyce Wong’s Wexford Plaza, Molly McGlynn’s Mary Goes Round and so much more.

Bell Media’s online service makes for a stellar hub for strong new Canadian voices who pretty much never have their work screened at local multiplexes. But there’s fear in the Canadian film and TV industries that the opportunities for the next generation to tell their stories will dry up in a new streaming landscape.

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