The source of our television services is significantly changing from traditional cable and television services to online providers. The actively changing television service landscape is because of the growth of over-the-top ("OTT") media services.

Growing Popularity

According to a report (the "CRTC Report") by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission ("CRTC"), OTT services are television services that are provided through the internet. The CRTC Report identifies most of these OTT services as subscription-based-video-on-demand ("SVOD") services, such as Netflix and Crave. The CRTC attributes SVOD services as generating the bulk of OTT revenue, surpassing traditional broadcasting revenue by almost a billion dollars.

Streaming Wars

The growth and expansion of streaming services creates an active M&A market. Specifically, the market will remain active as streaming giants continue to acquire smaller production companies. Acquiring production companies is important to increase the share of content to offer subscribers and to compete for the best collection of aggregated content.

Consumers will notice this shift almost immediately as coveted television series and movies begin to migrate from one platform to another. According to a report from Deloitte (the "Deloitte Report"), consumers are entering a phase of "consumer subscription fatigue." As companies compete to offer various subscriptions, many consumers find themselves requiring more than one subscription for complete viewing options.

Canadian Content

The continued growth and expansion of streaming services will impact Canadian media and production, and, likely for the better. Services like Netflix have provided a new, global platform for Canadian shows and increased support for generating Canadian SVOD content. With approximately 6.9 million Canadian subscribers and $100 million invested in Canadian content, Netflix has considerable reach with Canadian audiences. Accordingly, Netflix the largest potential for impact in promoting Canadian culture and arts to global audiences.

While the streaming service industry and the existing demand for new and interesting content show no signs of slowing down, it seems likely that Canadian content and viewers alike will reap the benefits of these changes.

The author would like to thank Vahini Sathiamoorthy, summer student, for her assistance in preparing this legal update.

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