How cultural regulation drives investment

Carole Tongue of UKCCD has been in touch with a reminder for how we can regulate streaming platforms for increased investment in British drama/film and documentary.

It gives guidance on what the Canadian broadcasting regulator should consider when addressing cultural diversity issues and the contribution to that should be made by the streaming platforms, music platforms, and social media sites. Carole says that national campaigns should draw their government’s attention to this report.

From ‘Contribution to Canadian Content by Online Undertakings‘, a report from Peter S Grant for the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions….

As noted above, a central tenet of the Canadian content definition is that it must be produced by a Canadian owned-and-controlled company. Some foreign streamers may want to argue that this rule is too strict. If the production meets the creative function point test as to whether it is written, directed and/or performed by Canadians, why should we care if it was financed and owned by a foreign company? And why do we insist that the copyright be held by Canadians?

In challenging the Canadian rule, the US studios might point to the United Kingdom, where a number of successful UK independent production companies have ended up being sold to US companies. In fact, a majority of the leading production companies in the UK are now foreign-owned. For example, Working Title, which produced hits like Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bean, is now owned by NBCUniversal. And Warner Brothers produced and owned the Harry Potter movies.

In contrast, France takes a different view. To be a French film, a film must be produced and financed by a French producer. For example, the French hit Amélie, which had a French director, writer and star, and was produced by a French company, received significant support from the French box office levy. But when three years later, exactly the same creative team came up with A Very Long Engagement, they were denied any such support.

Why? Because this time, the film was financed by Warner Brothers. So ownership did matter.

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