Netflix, lifeline for Quebec productions?

The Quebec company Attraction tried for a good decade to sell the rights to the series Caleb’s daughters to a television channel or digital platform broadcasting in English Canada. In vain. No thanks.

And then recently, a stroke of the lever: Netflix hosted the production. It is therefore through this service of streamingunder American control, that fetish Quebec production is now accessible across the country with English subtitles.

“We would like to have ten Canadian platforms to show this classic creation and we would be very happy,” explains the To have to Xiaojuan Zhou, president of Attraction Distribution, interviewed last month shortly after the announcement of the agreement that caused a stir in the Quebec audiovisual community. As if a spark of the national soul was selling off to the imperial devil

“We have spoken with a lot of people in English Canada for at least ten years and we have never managed to interest anyone, continues Xiaojuan Zhou. Netflix was open for series in French with subtitles and, in addition, in its format, which is not 16/9, the norm now. We are happy, even technically. »

The presence on Netflix does not prevent distribution on other platforms, on the contrary. Caleb’s daughters can also be watched on Extra since September, at the same time as on Netflix what. “It’s not a matter of one or the other. We often work with everyone. »

In short, for Attraction, the more customers, the better. HBO Max bought the rights to stream the film this fall CRAZY

“Competition is a beautiful thing, which gives us more choice of buyers, more income,” she says. These new players can take our catalog elsewhere. is not global. Neither does Club Illico,” summarizes Mme Zhou when asked about the place of the American digital giants.

It’s not just them. Attraction sold a few Tales for all to a Spanish network. Poland, series adaptation The parents became the national network’s biggest hit in sixty years and forced the addition of four seasons to the original eight, which also aired successfully in Polish.

“I don’t just want our partners to buy old series, like Caleb’s daughters, said the Quebec president. You have to produce. We must invest in new productions and sell them too. We can do both. »

And then after ?

Mme Zhou repeats the obvious: his company acts as a worldwide distributor of films and series. ” Our job daily is to look for buyers, everywhere in the world, in Quebec and elsewhere, she says. Of course, for years, Netflix has been a potential and desirable customer of ours. But you need a strategy adapted to each production. Sometimes Netflix is ​​the best solution, sometimes not. »

The Quebec distributor’s first contract with this broadcaster was signed a few years ago with Netflix Global for two European series, Belgian police productions. Attraction then dangled its Quebec catalog on various global platforms, this one and others.

The anthology includes, according to Mme Zhou, without modesty, “the best series here”. This selection results from the merger of several production companies, including La Fête, Cité Amérique and Cirrus.

National platforms, including and Illico, have been relaying parts of it for a long time. And it continues. Club Illico has just purchased the 24 films in the series Tales for all.

The tide turned from Netflix a few months ago when the buyer for the Canadian service himself began negotiations by explaining that he was specifically looking for fiction series from Quebec. It must be said that Ottawa has the project to submit the giants of the Web, like Apple TV+, Disney+ and Netflix, but also and Spotify, to the Broadcasting Act to force them to contribute to the production and the diffusion. Canadian content.

Attraction presented its entire catalog, and Netflix chose. The purchased package also includes Life, life, Trauma, 19-2, For Sarah and Headquarters, a miniseries broadcast on ICI Télé in 2017.

Attraction does not reveal the amounts involved. “But we are not talking about millions of course,” says Mme Zhou.

The president would like to extend the contract for worldwide distribution. “Distribution in Canada may be a first step,” she says. The door remains open on both sides for a possible extension to other territories. I don’t think it could be done on all our titles. We will have to look for those who have the most potential and [entamer] a new negotiation. »

Attraction has also just signed a first agreement with Amazon for the distribution of “several series from Quebec”, the list of which remains confidential for the moment. A first original French-language Quebec production from the platform in collaboration with Attraction will be launched in the coming days. Patrick Huard directs this humorous project entitled LOL: Who will have the last laugh.

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Netflix, lifeline for Quebec productions?

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