Canadian creators could lose global revenue with new streaming bill, warns YouTube – National

YouTube has warned that Canadian digital creators, including influencers and broadcasters, could lose foreign revenue if the government forces digital platforms to promote Canadian content.

The bill that would require YouTube and other streaming platforms to actively promote Canadian content risks degrading the popularity of that same content overseas, according to a briefing from the company provided on an unattributable basis.

It would also mean cutting the money Canada’s YouTubers make.

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YouTube is concerned that the bill’s online streaming measures, designed to promote Canadian content, could distort the algorithm they and other digital platforms use to match content to viewers’ personal preferences.

Professor Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, agreed that this could end up being a consequence of the proposals.

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“Canada outstrips its weight when it comes to creating this content, which brings in billions in revenue globally,” Geist said.

“We’re talking about a huge potential loss of revenue for Canadian content producers.”


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Geist says the proposed law, known as Bill C-11, would see platforms like YouTube and TikTok “force-feed Canadian content” that people wouldn’t typically choose to watch, rather than curated content that matches their preferences.

If people don’t choose the Canadian content offered to them, it could suggest that it is not popular, which could lead to less promotion around the world.

YouTube’s cross-border algorithm detects whether a video has been watched, skipped, or muted along the way, as well as whether it gets a thumbs up or dislike. This influences how content is promoted not just in Canada, but beyond its borders.

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Videos that few people watch tend to be harder to find.

If people don’t select the Canadian content offered to them, or if they indicate that they don’t like it or choose another video instead, it could lead to the automatic downgrading of content that has not been Chosen, Disliked, or Didn’t Watch to Finish. world.

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The Online Streaming Act, currently in second reading in the House of Commons, subjects streaming companies, like Netflix, to the same rules as traditional Canadian broadcasters.

This would require web companies to offer a set amount of Canadian content and to invest heavily in Canada’s cultural industries, including film, television and music.

It would update the Broadcasting Act of 1991, which predates the internet revolution that changed the way people watch film and video content and listen to music.

The bill also covers platforms such as YouTube and TikTok that promote early digital creators, including influencers, streamers and people who post DIY videos and live commentaries on video games.


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The government says the bill would not regulate user-generated material and would give platforms the ability to decide how they promote Canadian content.

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Laura Scaffidi, spokeswoman for Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, said the law would give online streaming platforms the flexibility to “choose how they contribute and how they facilitate the search for Canadian commercial content.”

YouTube claims that more than 90% of watch time for content produced by Canadian YouTube channels came from outside the country in 2020. The number of Canadian creators earning $100,000 on the platform is growing rapidly every year.

In 2020, Oxford Economics calculated that YouTube contributed $923 million to Canada’s gross domestic product, including payments from advertisements alongside YouTube videos and royalty payments to record labels.

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Popular videos tend to receive greater amounts of advertising, and advertisers also tend to pay more.

Bill C-11 updates sections of a previous bill after critics warned it could lead to regulation of people who post videos on YouTube.

The updated legislation, Rodriguez said, would only cover commercial social media content, such as professional music videos, and would not include popular home videos posted on YouTube, such as cat videos.

Rodriguez added a line in the new bill exempting such content.

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But according to YouTube, a legal assessment of the current text of the bill would still give the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) the power to regulate user-generated material.

“Clearer definitions and more precise language are needed to ensure that the bill does not unwittingly apply to digital creators and negatively impact the thousands of Canadian creators on YouTube and the millions of Canadians who use YouTube every day,” said Prime Minister Jeanette Patell. public affairs and public policy at YouTube Canada.

“Minister Rodriguez has been clear that Bill C-11 is not intended to impact digital creators. We are focused on working with officials to ensure that this intent is accurately reflected in this extremely complex legislation.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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