Canada The problem isn't Netflix, it's Newsflix: Salutin

03:51  13 october  2017
03:51  13 october  2017 Source:   Toronto Star

Netflix launches campaign to set the record straight about $500M Canadian investment

  Netflix launches campaign to set the record straight about $500M Canadian investment Netflix launches campaign to set the record straight about $500M Canadian investment Netflix Inc. said on Tuesday it had received formal approval to start a $500-million production unit in Canada and sought to quell talk that it had asked for special tax benefits for investing in its first such unit outside the United States.The maker of Emmy-winning shows such as The Crown and Black Mirror said last month it was in talks with the Canadian government for an investment over a minimum of five years.

As news outlets struggle to survive, the obvious solution is public funding.

Netflix problems in the last 24 hours. October 08: Problems at Netflix . Netflix is having issues since 10:30 AM EST. Are you also affected? Adventure Time isn ’ t on Netflix anymore, someone help, I wanna watch it .

The solution to the crisis in the funding model of journalism, Rick Salutin argues, is to take away the CBC's entire news subsidy and funnel it to news outlets that serve a public purpose. © Cole Burston/Toronto Star The solution to the crisis in the funding model of journalism, Rick Salutin argues, is to take away the CBC's entire news subsidy and funnel it to news outlets that serve a public purpose.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Netflix says it’ll voluntarily pour $100 million a year into Canadian film production over the next five years. The response here has been typical Canadian ingratitude: Is that all? Or: They’re only doing it to evade being taxed directly. I wonder if that irritates Netflix, or just perplexes them. What’s with these people?

Quebec wants to impose provincial tax on Netflix

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Well done. It ’ s a painful thing to believe, of course, which is why we’re constantly assuring each other the opposite. “Just do your best”, we hear. Why life isn ’ t fair. Our idea of fairness isn ’ t actually obtainable.

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My own reaction is that I’m worried less about Netflix than about Newsflix. Whatever its troubles, Canadian dramatic art is in far better financial shape than Canadian journalism. Does that sound like the most artless segue ever?

Allow me to double down. I think there’s been a peculiar but strong historical symbiosis between Canadian journalism and Canadian film culture. This was always the land of documentary, shading into drama. The first feature doc ever made (more or less, these are inherently specious claims) was Nanook of the North, done by an American but made here, with early intimations of docudrama. The very term documentary was coined by a Scot, John Grierson, who migrated here and created Canada’s luminous National Film Board.

Netflix adds more subscribers than expected, shares hit record

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Why Netflix Problems exists: After many years of horrible performance from Netflix (or NetFLUX as we call them), we decided that it was time for the public to have a forum.

The first Anglo-Canadian dramatic feature, 1964’s Nobody Waved Good-bye, was made by Don Owen, at the NFB. Our films have retained a doc-like feel, as if the national sense was shaky enough that it needed a sense of being anchored in the real world, something that actually happened, because you probably read about it, eh?

Add the national bent for news-based satire, from Max Ferguson’s brilliant daily radio sketches through Rick Mercer or all the Canadians who built satire in the U.S. One of Canada’s sublimest dramatic creations, Ken Finkelman’s The Newsroom, was based on CBC news, and filmed in the bowels of the CBC. It couldn’t have existed without Canadian journalism, but transcended it utterly.

CBC, in fact, should be a key to resolving journalism’s current crisis. That crisis is based on the sudden disintegration — like a milkweed pod, poof — of the advertising economic model. It was always accidental; there’s no natural affinity between ads and news, but it worked, till internet behemoths like Google and Facebook swiped all the ad revenue. Now news outlets are gasping for air; many have already expired.

Netflix Responds to Canadian ‘Conspiracy Theories’ About Production-Investment Deal

  Netflix Responds to Canadian ‘Conspiracy Theories’ About Production-Investment Deal Netflix has received approval for its agreement with Canada to invest at least $400 million ($500 million Canadian) in content produced in the Great White North. But some in the country believe the streamer unfairly got special treatment from the Canadian government — and that Netflix should be subject to tax regulations and forced to produce a certain amount of French-language content. In a blog post Tuesday, Corie Wright, Netflix’s director of global public policy, sought to dispel what she characterized as misconceptions and a few “conspiracy theories” about the agreement.

Image: David Giesbrecht/ Netflix . Over the past couple of years, there’s a phrase that’s accompanied several poorly reviewed comic book films or TV shows: “ It ’ s not for the critics, it ’ s for the fans.”

No, I’m not saying that it ’ s OK for Standard Oil to come along and gouge its customers because we don' t want to discourage future robber barons. The problem with this piece is that it starts from the wrong premise—and ignores the elephant in the room, jobs.

The obvious solution is public funding, as with other national necessities, like health care or the Armed Forces. For some reason, many people, journalists included, find this odious and a threat to press freedom. Why corporate pressures, via ads, are seen as less menacing than government ones, I have no clue. But CBC already exists and gets about $1 billion in public funds each year. So there’s your new model, and it’s been accepted for decades.

Sadly, CBC in its current incarnation is a wretched exemplar for news. For its own tawdry reasons, it’s chosen to focus mainly on crime, weather and consumer tips. Its lead story for the Houston hurricane was how much it would cost Canadians at the pumps. That’s an insult to the intelligence and citizenry of those whose taxes sustain it. CBC’s motive for this contemptuous dumbing down was ostensibly to multiply eyeballs. The result is that more people now watch not just CTV news with Lisa Laflamme, but Global news with Dawna Friesen. Global for God sakes!

So I’m not arguing for support to the institutions just as they are, including the CBC. Fortunately, other models exist, like Vice News Canada. Vice News is a complex international octopus but has a lively Canadian component. Its U.S. reporter, Elle Reeve, did the splendid embedded coverage of racism in Charlottesville as well as a piece on progressive liberal wrestling heel Dan Richards. It is a kind of newsflix.

Here’s my proposal, meant to gradually transition to a solvent news media with public financial backing: take CBC’s entire news subsidy and funnel it to news outlets, old and new (Vice News Canada, Jesse Brown’s Canadaland) that, unlike CBC, serve a public purpose. Turn CBC basically into a spigot. Add more funds as required. If CBC news ever smartens up, they can apply to get some of it back.

I know it sounds a bit improvised but we live in an era of mishmash. Work and leisure, culture and the economy, news and art, are less distinguishable than they were. Most jobs now involve an (albeit routinely overstated) element of creativity. It’s all courtesy of the internet, which, at its electronic root, is about connections.

There you go. Crisis solved. Next?

Rick Salutin’s column appears every Friday.

Kim Cattrall Says She's 'Moving On' from Sex and the City and 'So Should You' .
Kim Cattrall has moved on from Sex and the City, and she thinks fans should too. The 61-year-old actress responded to a fan on Twitter Friday who questioned her yet again about the dashed plans for Sex and the City 3 — which reportedly fell apart after Cattrall said she didn’t want to reprise her role as powerhouse PR maven Samantha Jones in the long-awaited sequel. “So I’ve seen you doing interviews on ageism yet I see you on [Instagram] saying you’re too old to play Samantha?” the fan named Josh wrote Cattrall, questioning her on a recent comment she left on Instagram. “I’m so confused!” “Josh, I’ve played ‘SAM’ for 20 years. Am moving on &amp; so should you,” Cattrall wrote back, plugging her recent two-season Canadian comedy series Sensitive Skin, which is streaming on Netflix. “Trying #SensitiveSkin my show on @Netflix.” Josh, I've played 'SAM' for 20 years. Am moving on &amp; so should you. Try #SensitiveSkin my show on @Netflixhttps://t.co/mJYOybZMi8— Kim Cattrall (@KimCattrall) October 6, 2017 Rumors that Samantha, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) were reuniting for a new film — which would follow 2008’s Sex and the City and 2010’s Sex and the City 2 — had long swirled, with fans hoping to see the fierce foursome from the Emmy-winning HBO series back on the big screen.

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