The last few months have showed a complex and potentially ominous relationship between digital content and community engagement. While Netflix announced stellar results in October (the result of a relentless global expansion), Shomi, the Rogers and Shaw domestic on-demand service was abruptly shut down. In November, Canadian Heritage ended its public consultations on the digital future.
Netflix presents many challenges for Canadian producers and consumers, and these have been widely discussed. The company that was started by mailing movies to customers has fueled a new generation of so-called ‘cord cutters’ that are happily oblivious to the bundle offerings of domestic telecommunications providers. These providers, in turn, are furiously lobbying the CRTC – and anyone else that will listen, in an effort to loosen regulation and perhaps even introduce new taxation (though for others of course…).