The entertainment landscape in Canada has taken some hard knocks over the past couple of years. Here, we’ll look at the challenges being faced, the impact this has had, and the media that has prevailed despite all odds.
Strict Rules for Canadian Content
All Canadian programming for both TV and radio is carefully monitored by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). In order to boost home-grown content, at least 55% of TV programming overall must be Canadian. For prime-time content broadcasting between 6pm and midnight, at least 50% must be Canadian content. However, during the day, there is no minimum requirement for Canadian content.
This has been part of a wider push to encourage more local productions that make the most of local teams, actors, and creatives. That said, the rules are unusually strict for the industry. For films, Canada has a point-based system to determine whether the movie can be classified as Canadian. Productions must check at least six out of ten boxes, such as having a Canadian director, writer, and lead actors.
Interestingly, the intellectual property rights have to stay in Canada to qualify the production as Canadian, setting it apart from other countries. This means that the Oscar-winning “The Shape of Water”, which had a Canadian producer, visual effects team, costume designer, and sound designer, as well as being shot around Toronto and Hamilton, could not be classified as Canadian.
With such strict rules, it is not surprising that Canadian content is being overrun by content from the US. More and more streaming platforms are popping up all the time, which makes international entertainment increasingly accessible to Canadian audiences. These pressures have become transparent in celebrity-focused entertainment, especially. In 2023, Entertainment Tonight Canada announced it would be ending its Canadian production after 18 seasons.
Their statement cited the cost of production as one of the reasons for ending the show. Instead, Canadian audiences will need to watch the US show to keep up with the latest gossip or E-Talk which is the last remaining Canadian entertainment news production. In addition, Corus Entertainment also reported that the “challenging advertising environment” also swayed their decision to end the show.
This comes just a year after Netflix and other streaming platforms announced the emergence of advertisements, which disrupted the advertising landscape for broadcasters. Netflix has since used Canada as a testing ground for its crackdown on password sharing, and, more recently, offering a basic subscription with ads. Canadian Netflix subscribers will now need to switch to a more expensive plan to watch their shows ad-free.
As streaming services like Netflix and Prime become more and more accessible, and consumer behaviour adapts to watch short form content as seen on Instagram, YouTube, and across other social media platforms, the Canadian entertainment landscape is shrinking as a whole.
Entertainment Defying the Odds
As we just said, we’re seeing a change in consumer behaviour in that audiences are interacting with media in different ways. More specifically, consumers are interacting with content across multiple devices, such as TVs, laptops, and smartphones. It is this rise in smartphone-friendly entertainment that has reportedly caused the Canadian online casino market to experience significant growth despite the shrinking and challenging entertainment landscape.
Due to this rise against the odds, the Canadian online casino market is incredibly competitive. To differentiate themselves, many platforms offer exclusive casino rewards to new players in Canada. New players can benefit from offers such as free spins, deposit bonuses and welcome packages. As a result of this increasing popularity and wealth of rewards, it is estimated that there will be 15.4 billion users by 2028. This will make it the highest user penetration rate globally with 35.7%.
The upward trajectory seems to be enduring, too. The Canadian online casino market is projected to reach $2.61 billion USD this year, and steadily grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.44% to $3.35 billion USD by 2028.
As you can see, despite the overall dip in the Canadian entertainment landscape, online casinos continue to see growth. This makes these platforms the exception to the rule, as they have continued to adapt to changing consumer demands and technological advancements. All that’s left to do is to see what the future brings for the Canadian entertainment landscape.