Ottawa’s makes an attempt to advertise Canadian content material on-line may have the alternative impact, YouTube creators concern
Canadians working in the digital world say the federal government’s proposed updates to broadcasting regulations could undermine their own goal of promoting Canadian cultural content.
Even so, the government is pushing Bill C-10, the long-awaited update to the Broadcasting Act, after a whirlwind of controversy and debate over whether it could open the door to regulating content on social media.
“We are very concerned about the unintended consequences of this legislation,” Google spokeswoman Lauren Skelly said in a statement to the star on Friday, “particularly with regard to the potential impact on Canadian content creators who use our platform to reach a global audience to reach.”
And some of these content creators agree that the changes envisaged in the bill might hurt them rather than help them.
A change in the bill would limit the ways the Canadian Radio, Television, and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) could regulate social media platforms. However, the Commission could enforce discoverability requirements for platforms like YouTube and ensure that Canadian content (Cancon) is promoted.
For Canadian professionals who have made careers with their own YouTube productions, enforcing the promotion of Canadian content could hurt their reach, says Scott Benzie, CEO of Buffer Festival, which showcases digital content in Toronto every year.
An important factor is YouTube’s global algorithm as it gives recommendations to users and provides them with videos based on their search preferences.
If the CRTC tackles the complicated task of figuring out what is and isn’t Canadian content, and if YouTube promotes Cancon to users who aren’t actually looking for it, “it will have a negative impact on my video around the world,” Benzie said.
He said promoting a Cancon video to a YouTube user who doesn’t interact with it could negatively affect the video’s ranking on the platform and ultimately hurt the producer behind it.
And, Benzie said, such a policy would require mind-boggling decisions on issues such as whether content created by Canadians living in the United States is considered a cancon.
Sharing, likes, views, and comments on a YouTube video can help ensure that it is made available to a wider audience. Most Canadian developers don’t just rely on a Canadian audience because it’s “too small a piece of cake.”
“And then, I mean, the slippery slope of everything, if we do this in Canada, let’s say we do it – great. What if they did that in the US? There are no more Canadian content creators, ”he said.
According to a 2019 analysis conducted at Ryerson University, 24 million Canadians log into YouTube every month. That includes 160,000 accounts that publish content and 40,000 that generate income from it.
Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Lilly Singh are mentioned in the report as Canadian success stories with millions if not billions of views on YouTube. “Some Canadian broadcasters have become so successful that they have become production studios, including WatchMojo and Super Simple Songs,” said the report commissioned by Google.
“They say they want to make Canadian artists more discoverable,” Benzie said. “There is no better way to do this than by democratizing online content.
“It is clearly the legislation that is looking for a problem.”
On the other hand, domestic broadcasters say that the playing field is currently unbalanced. They find that overseas web giants who stream content to Canadians do not pay taxes or into Canadian cultural funds, and do not face the same requirements that domestic broadcasters meet, such as promoting Cancon.
As Quebecor said in a letter to the Canadian Heritage Committee investigating the bill, the Quebec-based broadcaster “believes that there is equity between all broadcasters, regardless of their service or technological media used to broadcast their content must be the cornerstone of any Canadian broadcasting ecosystem. ”
Bill C-10 is expected to be passed in the House of Commons as it is supported by the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. Then it goes to the Senate.
The government has claimed that the bill would not violate freedom of expression and that the aim is not to regulate the content provided by individual users.
Ultimately, it is up to the CRTC to set the rules, but the government has stated that their goal in regulating some social media platforms is to ensure that they fund Canadian cultural productions and promote Cancon.
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