The future of Quebec culture is in danger, because young people are less exposed to it due to the omnipresence of American platforms, fears the president and CEO of Télé-Québec, Marie Collin.
There “is an urgent need to act,” argues Ms. Collin, who sounded the alarm on Monday during a hearing of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). “If we continue in a decade, we will no longer have consumers of adult content,” she warns.
“If today’s young people lose contact with content here in French, they will no longer be able to pass on to their own children the taste and pride of cultural and linguistic identity,” he laments. -She.
At the same platform just before Télé-Québec, representatives of the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) expressed concern about the absence of a Canadian “star-system” to promote culture English speaker of the country. Quebec, however, stands out with its own cultural stars.
However, the Quebec cultural community is not immune from experiencing the same difficulties experienced by Canadian artists, believes Ms. Collin. “If we continue in a decade, we will no longer have consumers of adult content. It’s true that we have a “star system” that is strong in Quebec, but it starts at a very young age. »
The omnipresence of American digital platforms complicates the discoverability of children’s shows. The head of Télé-Québec reports that two-thirds of young Quebecers aged 2 to 17 watch content in English.
Télé-Québec broadcasts content on the YouTube platform, which belongs to Google’s parent company (Alphabet). “We don’t have a choice to be there, because we are, we have to be on the children’s journey. »
“It’s very, very, hard work afterwards to bring them back into our ecosystem. Télé-Québec has its own broadcast platforms. […] Nothing guarantees that we are discoverable. So, going into partnership with these platforms often risks drowning out our products. »
The CRTC is currently conducting public consultations in response to the Online Streaming Act, which received royal assent in April. This law aims to modernize federal legislation to require digital platforms such as Netflix, YouTube and TikTok to contribute to and promote Canadian content.
The CRTC, which is responsible for governing the country’s broadcasting sector, is exploring the possibility of requiring streaming services to make an initial contribution to the Canadian content system and putting them on an equal footing with local businesses, which are already required to support Canadian content.
As part of these consultations, Télé-Québec is calling for the creation of a fund dedicated to the production of youth content. This fund would be financed by part of the new initial base contributions that would be imposed on the online services of foreign multinationals.
These headwinds arise at a time when funding for children’s programs is decreasing in Canada, underlines the general director of communications and branding at Télé-Québec, Nicole Tardif, who also participated in the consultation. “The number of hours of youth production supported by the Canada Media Fund has fallen by 41% in nine years, from 785 hours in 2012-2013 to 463 hours in 2021-2022. »
She also points out that English-speaking youth productions have a higher budget. “The average budgets for youth content in the French-speaking market represent less than a third of that of English-language youth productions. »