Going over-the-top: reassessing Canadian cultural policy objectives in a converged media environment
thesisposted on 2021-05-23, 10:33 authored by Siobhan Ozege
The Canadian media landscape is changing at an unanticipated pace, catching public and private broadcasters off-guard and ill equipped to meet the changing demands of the market. This is placing significant strain on the regulator's existing approach to new media regulation. Since 1999, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has employed a policy of non-regulation-or as I will argue in this paper, a policy of non-policy regarding new media broadcasting undertakings (NMBUs). While NMBUs cast a wide net in terms of what we would classify under this term, its most widely known proponents-"over-the-top" (OTT) providers like Netflix Inc., Hulu, Apple TV, and countless others are taking the lion's share of the criticism and concern in Canada by broadcasters and social groups like ACTRA, and the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA). This paper will provide an environmental scan of the existing approach to new media regulation in Canada by examining The Broadcasting Act, the New Media Exemption Order (NMEO), and the OTT Fact-Finding Mission (and results). This exploration will identify existing policy gaps, provide a history of the regulatory model, and highlight a brief case study on the Office of Communications (Ofcom) in the United Kingdom that has adopted an umbrella regulatory model that may be useful when exploring new options for new media policy in Canada. Finally, it will identify some existing roadblocks for undertaking such a policy review by looking specifically at the legislative confines of The Broadcasting Act.