Netflix will invest at least $400 million USD (C$500 million) on original content production in Canada over the next five years, the Canadian government has announced. The company will also establish Netflix Canada, a permanent production presence that will be its first such venture outside the US.
The streaming company will produce content in English and French in coordination with Canadian broadcasters, production houses and local talent, with at least $25 million earmarked for French content.
The Netflix deal with Canada came about through a government effort to modernize the country’s content programs and review legislation on broadcasting, telecommunications and copyright issues. Starting next year, the Canadian government pledged that its contribution to television and digital media production would rise, although no specifics were released. Canada will spend C$125 million in the next five years to promote the country’s art in foreign markets.
Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly was in charge of reviewing the country’s content policies. She said the government will sharpen its focus on investing in Canadian content producers.
“If we get this right, we will be a leader in the world,” Joly said.
Some Canadian officials were lobbying to tax Netflix and other streaming services. The new announcement does not indicate that will happen.
Netflix has been developing several Canadian projects, partnering with the CBC on an Anne of Green Gables remake dubbed Anne. It is also working on a miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, written by Sarah Polley and starring Anna Paquin. Netflix also distributes the series Trailer Park Boys and co-produces the science fiction scries Travelers.
The Canadian government said it was also seeking agreements for similar investments by other companies for the country’s content. YouTube has recently created a Canadian content channel.