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Top Netflix Canada Lobbyist Stephane Cardin Step Down

Top Netflix Canada Lobbyist Stephane Cardin Step Down

Stephane Cardin, top Canadian lobbyist for Netflix, is set to step down after nearly six years in the post.

“I appreciate Stephane’s keen industry insights and everything that he’s contributed to Netflix Canada over the years. I wish him all the best on his next steps,” Ruchi Bhowmik, vp of public policy for Netflix for Canada and the U.S., said in a statement about the decision of Cardin to step down as director of public policy in Canada.

It’s understood that Netflix has begun search for a new public policy head to push and pull the levers of power in Ottawa, with Bhowmik stepping into the role on an interim basis. Netflix hired Cardin in as director of public policy for Canada just as the U.S. streaming giant was ramping up its own original film and TV production north of the border, disrupting the Canadian TV market by increasing its local subscriber base and fending off persistent calls to tax U.S. streaming giants.

That campaign led by local content creators and broadcasters culminated last year in Canada passing into law Bill C-11, or the Online Streaming Act, which imposed first-time rules and regulations on foreign streaming platforms like Netflix, Spotify and Disney+ operating north of the border.

More recently, the CRTC, Canada’s TV and telecom regulator, ordered U.S. streaming platforms to direct 5 percent of their Canadian revenues into local independent production. The CRTC estimated around $200 million annually in new funding from the foreign digital platforms will go towards local content in both video and audio production. 

Having launched in Canada in late 2010 to kick-start its global expansion, Netflix hired Cardin as its first government lobbyist north of the border after the U.S. streamer agreed to invest CAN $500 million ($400 million) in Canadian film and TV production over five years.

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Cardin’s hire coincided with Netflix and other U.S. streaming platforms putting more effort into lobbying governments in international markets where most of its future revenue growth lay and where regulators like the CRTC were intent on imposing rules and spending obligations on foreign players.

Cardin had come to Netflix from the Canada Media Fund, the top Canadian TV financier where he had served as vp industry and public affairs since 2006.

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