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CBC is breaking up with Netflix. Is this a sign of things to come? Those carefully keeping track of the ever-evolving streaming wars will note this important moment. It comes as yet another changing of the tide in the content battles to come. The head of CBC, which is Canada’s national public broadcaster, has indicated a breakup is on the horizon with the streaming giant.
CBC’s president and CEO, Catherine Tait, had a lot to say about the public broadcaster’s deal with Netflix, which has led to the co-production of the ongoing drama, Anne with an E, and limited series, Alias Grace. They could be among the last of their kind as Tait told the podcast, Content Canada:
We’re not going to do deals that hurt the long-term viability of our domestic industry. A number of countries have done deals, as we did, with Netflix … and over time we start to see that we’re feeding the growth of Netflix, or we’re feeding the growth of Amazon, rather than feeding our own domestic business and industry.
It would seem that CBC is joining other content creators in closing ranks as the streaming wars intensify. What (if anything) does it mean for the availability of CBC's content on Netflix? The streamer has built an extensive library of content comprised of other broadcasters' content via licensing deals. Hence, Netflix’s original programming initiative.
Now that more and more broadcasters are setting up their own streaming services, they are bringing their content back home. That situation is not going to get better for Netflix in the coming years, as it will affect everything from future Friends binge-watching plans to The CW’s Netflix availability. Could CBC be gearing up to focus more on its streaming service, Gem?
CBC breaking up with Netflix is another loss for the service in a string of losses. Disney is pulling its content out of the streaming giant’s library as it launches its own rival service in Disney+. CBC’s breakup news comes as Disney made headlines for reportedly moving to ban Netflix ads from airing on ABC and its other networks.
Financial Post explained the behind-the-scenes mechanics potentially fueling CBC’s decision regarding Netflix. Streaming services are not forced to collect sales tax in Canada. Accordingly, there is no requirement for Netflix to invest in Canada itself, while Canadian broadcasters have to put 5% of their gross revenue in the Canada Media Fund.
Considering that information, you can see where CBC execs are coming from. Their work is contributing to Netflix’s growth and development, while their domestic interests are not being fed equally. Stay tuned as this breakup news continues to make waves.
Alias Grace was a spectacular (in my opinion) miniseries, so its future will not be impacted by CBC’s decision. That kind of certainty is not shared by CBC/Netflix co-production Anne with an E. The Anne of Green Gables-inspired series has finished production on its third season. A fourth installment of the much-liked series is reportedly up in the air now.