Netflix will create a permanent production presence outside of the US for the first time with the establishment of Netflix Canada and a pledge to put over $400 million towards the development of Canadian programming. The money will be spent over the course of five years.
The streaming service has largely avoided the requirements put on Canadian content producers by the country's government. That has ushered in concerns over loss of Canadian content, worries over how to compete with streaming services and calls for streaming taxes -- the money from which has been proposed should go to fund Canadian programming. Canada briefly had its own Netflix rival -- Shomi -- but it went kaput last year. As of now, the country doesn't tax digital companies like Netflix and doesn't plan to anytime soon.
Netflix has worked with Canadian content creators previously. With the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, it developed an Anne of Green Gables series, with a second season in the works. It also produced a miniseries with Canadian filmmakers Sarah Polley and Mary Harron based on the Margaret Atwood novel Alias Grace.
In a speech today, Canada's Heritage Minister, Melanie Joly, said the deal "signals a meaningful partnership in supporting Canadian creators, producers and Canadian creative work, and in bringing that work to millions of viewers around the world."