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Umm...ATTENTION Digital Creator Community!
The future is calling, and it's calling you right now. As you probably know, we are nearing the end of the Ministry of Heritage’s consultation on the role and shape of Canada’s creative and cultural economy in a 21st century, digital world.
I probably also don’t have to tell you that there’s a lot of misinformation going around about what it means, and what it takes, to be a successful creator in the digital world. This is an opportunity to share your views with the government. They're interested in modernizing the Canadian creative and cultural ecosystem. There has not been a review of this magnitude in decades. According to Minister of Heritage Melanie Joly, “everything is on the table”. This undertaking comes at a crucial time when old business models are being disrupted, and new ones are beginning to emerge—and in some cases, solidify.
This really is your opportunity to have your say. Anyone with an interest or stake in the issues is invited to share their thoughts here. And you can submit in any format you like, so vlog away! The last day to contribute your views is November 25, 2016. Time is ticking.
Remember, you don't need to be an expert to participate. The IWCC invites you to reflect and share what you know best. Here are some starting points:
Describe your experiences as a digital-first creator. What’s working? What’s not? What are some pain points in the current digital content creation and distribution ecosystem?
What do you believe you NEED to enhance your chances for success?
Share your ideas for the kinds of programs that would be useful to you.
What are some missed opportunities from a Canadian industry standpoint, and how can we best seize them?
And for a little background, here are some key hot-button issues for this consultation that people in-the-know are thinking about:
Funding for Canadian content
- Currently, Canadian cable companies are required to direct a portion of their revenues toward the funding of Canadian content. As cord cutting continues to increase (seriously, how many of you digi creators have cable?), cable company revenues will continue to fall, thereby lowering contributions directed at the support of Canadian content. Where is new support for Canadian content going to come from? OTTs like Netflix and Crave are NOT required to contribute financially to the creation of Canadian content. Should they? Where should support for Canadian production come from?
- We do not have a tradition of private investment in the Canadian content industry. Most productions rely on government funding. How do we encourage diversified funding sources? How do we encourage companies to take risks?
Showcasing Canadian content
- As consolidation in the digital world continues to increase (think Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix), how do we make sure that Canadian content gets made and discovered? Traditional broadcasters are required to save a certain percentage of their 'shelf space' for Canadian content. Is this feasible in the digital world? Should there be Canadian content requirements for OTTs?
- OTTs like Netflix tend to feature their own content on the front page. How do we make sure that Canadian content is easily discoverable online?
Other major Netflix issue
- The company doesn’t pay sales tax in Canada! Should it?
Canadian content qualification
- How “Canadian” does a project have to be in order for it to qualify for government funding? Currently, the Canadian-ness of a project is determined based on a points system. Points are awarded based on the presence of Canadian talent in key roles. The CRTC recently reduced the number of points required to qualify for certain kinds of funding. What do you think?
- The Canadian traditional screen world is overwhelmingly white and male. Unfortunately, recent research has showed that our digital-first world is not so different. How do we change this? How do we broaden funding and program criteria to give more people a chance to participate and succeed? Should we require public funding to be tied to the representation of diversity in the key creative team, for example? What are other ways we can ensure an inclusive digital world?
- Do you have the skills you need to succeed in the online space? What skills are you missing?
There's a lot at stake here. Don't let decisions that affect your livelihood be made without your input. You know this space best. Share your views today.
Watch this space for our upcoming podcast on the issues. We'll be sharing this podcast with the Ministry.
President of the IWCC