'Your priorities are backwards,' Bell tells CRTC during Online Streaming Act hearing

'Priorities are backwards'

Bell Media owner BCE Inc. wants the national broadcasting regulator to create a news fund that would provide financial assistance to broadcasters and require foreign streamers to contribute to the subsidy through their Canadian content spending.

Bell representatives told a CRTC panel Tuesday that the commission should simultaneously exempt Canadian streaming platforms such as Crave from those new obligations until traditional broadcasters receive regulatory relief.

The hearing, which began Monday and is set to last three weeks, is part of the CRTC's public consultations in response to Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, which came into force in April.

It seeks to determine what contributions traditional broadcasters and online streaming services will need to make to support Canadian and Indigenous content.

But Bell says the CRTC's "priorities are backwards" amid a crisis for Canadian broadcasters that have experienced declines in revenue while also competing with new digital platforms that don't face the same regulatory burdens.

The commission is also scheduled to hear today from Google LLC after a presentation on Monday by Quebecor Inc.

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