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BC film industry pleased with feds' Netflix announcement

Last Updated Sep 28, 2017 at 1:17 pm PDT

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President of Creative BC praises Netflix investment, government policy overhaul

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The head of BC’s film board says our province’s entertainment industry can only gain from the federal government’s Netflix announcement.

As part of the federal cultural policy, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly has announced a deal with Netflix that will set up a Canadian branch of operations for the company and commits Netflix to investing $500 million over five years in original productions in Canada.

Creative BC president Prem Gill is praising the investment and the government’s policy overhaul.

“It just shows that Canadian creative industries are a serious thing in this country and part of our economic story and drive, and investment into creative and cultural content is a priority.”

Gill says while it’s still early in the game, she’s looking forward to how the actual mechanics of the agreement will unfold.

“Netflix is very familiar with British Columbia and the talent here and the opportunities here. We hope that that will only grow with this increased investment. And certainly, having a presence of Netflix Canada is great.”

Although it’s not being called a tax, consumers may feels the same effects as Netflix raises its Canadian prices.

But digital law professor Jeremy de Beer with the University of Ottawa calls the plan a good middle ground.

“The investment that we see announced today is a voluntary arrangement, substituting for what would otherwise be a compulsory approach,” he says.

“It’s like a settlement. They’re making this voluntary investment to avoid what they don’t want, which is the regulatory approach. And for the government, it allows them to avoid bluffing. There are significant questions about the extent to which government has the ability to force Netflix to make these kinds of investments.”

Netflix already films several shows in BC, including Travelers, Haters Back Off, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and the Archie reboot Riverdale.