Clock ticking as Canadians demand Netflix data

Netflix Building41-620x413Canadian communications regulator the CRTC has demanded Netflix reveal subscriber, viewing and programme expenditure data and threatened to waive the streaming service’s exemption from local content obligations if it does not cooperate.

The CRTC, which is conducting an extensive round of hearings into Canadian TV, has demanded the data be delivered by 5pm today (Ottowa time).

The demands were made during a sometimes tense exchange between CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais and Netflix’s global public policy director Corie Wright.

Failure to provide the requisite data will put Netflix at risk of losing its exemption from local content rules, the CRTC chief told Wright. In turn, she asked for certain information to be treated in confidence and said the company might need more time to provide the data beyond the 5pm deadline.

The CRTC said it does keep business sensitive information private, but would not provide confidentiality guarantees beyond that.

Netflix has been criticised in some quarters in Canada for not contributing to the local content business. The US-listed streaming service has invested heavily in US-produced drama originals and has also committed to creating original scripted content in France, the UK and other European territories.

It has not, however, made any original fare any out of Canada, but says it supports the local content business through its acquisitions of local programming.

Netflix never reveals any viewing information. Its chief rival, Amazon Prime Instant Video also doesn’t disclose viewing data, making the success of both companies’ original and acquired notoriously difficult to assess.

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