Netflix chooses Toronto for Canadian headquarters

The City of Toronto, from the water

Netflix has announced plans to open its first Canadian corporate office in Toronto.

The move is part of the streaming giant’s push to expand its presence in Canada and support Canadian content. Toronto is already home to one of Netflix’s two Canadian production hubs, with the other located in Vancouver.

The move is part of the streaming giant’s push to expand its presence in Canada and support for Canadian content.

Netflix initially announced its plans to broaden its Canadian footprint in February. In addition to opening a new office, the company intends to hire a dedicated content executive “to work directly with the Canadian creative community.”

“As we grow our business and presence all across Canada, we’re excited that Toronto will be our first local office,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer. “We’re looking forward to opening our doors and building on the great work we’ve started with our creative partners to bring more Canadian artists and stories to the world.”

Sarandos said that for Netflix, growing its presence locally will help it “share more authentically Canadian stories with the world, whether through the development of original content or through co-production and licensing opportunities.”

Netflix filmed its first original Canadian production in 2012. Since 2017, Sarandos said Netflix has spent more than $2.5 billion CAD on productions in Canada. Netflix’s Toronto hub has played an “essential role” in productions like Jupiter’s Legacy, The Umbrella Academy, and The Queen’s Gambit.

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“In very difficult times this is the kind of news that gives us hope,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory, who added that the city had been working hard to ensure that Netflix chose Toronto, and put together a bid book for Netflix in a matter of days.

“Our pitch was clear – Toronto is a film friendly city which welcomes and celebrates the screen industry, the quality and diversity of our talent pool is second to none, and we have a robust and ever expanding production and post-production industry,” said Tory.

In 2019, Toronto’s film and TV sector employed more than 30,000 people and contributed $2.2 billion to the city’s economy.

The sector was hit hard by COVID-19 induced shutdowns, but according to Toronto’s Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, “the local industry has completely rebounded” thanks to its “partnerships with industry leaders such as Netflix.” Thompson said Toronto’s film and TV sector is currently “operating at pre-pandemic levels – and is on track to have another record-setting year in 2021.”

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With the move, Netflix joins a growing number of large American tech companies that have recently announced plans to expand their presence in Toronto. This list includes Microsoft, Pinterest, Reddit, Twitter, and Uber.

Amid increasing streaming competition, subscriber growth for Netflix during the first quarter of 2021 has slowed, according to The Wall Street Journal, as consumers across the world began to emerge from pandemic-related lockdowns.

Streaming platforms like Netflix are currently exempt from Canada’s Broadcasting Act, which specifies requirements for Canadian content production. This could change shortly if Bill C-10, which is currently before parliament, becomes law.

Photo by Sahil via Pexels

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit staff writer who loves to tell Canadian business and tech stories. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.