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Digital platforms: where does Quebec shine beyond its borders?

Digital platforms: where does Quebec shine beyond its borders?


It's getting expensive to watch the shows you love. Each platform comes with its invoice. Quality productions are deposited there. Our productions, created with talent through hope and perseverance, must compete with millionaire American series whose marketing is as Hollywood as the budget. At the same time, cultures are forging their way and capturing the attention of the eyes of the world.

Club illico, Crave and ICI offer us a preview of the series that their traditional channels will propel a few months later. But US platforms still stand out at the top of subscriptions. According to the audience research company GWI, in the third quarter of 2022, Netflix dominated in terms of platforms with the most French-speaking subscribers in the country. Disney+ came second, closely followed by Prime Video. This week, the Canada Media Fund (CMF) launched new initiatives to showcase the talent of Canadians. Being in the heart of the world is an important factor. But what place do these giants of online listening reserve for Quebec series?

LOL: who will have the last laugh? Richardson Zephyr

Initially, I wanted to write about the uniqueness of Quebec content on international platforms. Candidly, I hoped we would be fertile, inexpensive, and creative ground for the giants to be interested in. The invitation was sent to major international platforms. Only Prime Video management agreed to answer my questions. Since the beginning of 2023, Prime has multiplied the announcements proving its interest in developing original Quebec content. 

“At Amazon, we listen to what our customers tell us they want to see, and combine that with audience data to see what they watch and like,” said Magda Grace, director of Prime Video, Canada, Australia and News. -Zealand. From there, we work hard to partner with the best creators in the industry who can bring something unique and different to our service. 

Magda Grace, Director of Prime Video, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

“We want to make Prime Video a place where Quebec audiences can find the best series and films available, and we also want to be a place for talent and Canadian creators by providing stimulating environments to tell their stories. 

For one night only with Dominic Paquet

“We recognize the quality of the entertainment and media industry in Quebec, and working with Quebec producers and talents as well as emerging creators is what we are ready to do.”

Mathieu Dufour's show at the Bell Center

Quebec talent

In January, the platform launched LOL: Who laughs the last?, adaptation of a Japanese format of the production company Attraction, featuring a dozen local comedians and hosted by Patrick Huard. We recently learned that the series Nuit blancheleft in limbo by ICI Télé after one season would experience a second life on the platform. This week, For One Night Only, a production of Just for Laughs, also took place there. 

“We are looking for an authentic point of view focused on diversity. Currently, we are seeing the success of humor with Canadian audiences. We think there is a real opportunity there, but more than anything, we want content that will first resonate with Canadians and Quebecers,” continues Ms. Grace. 

For one night only with Mariana Mazza

“We know that there are many incredibly talented creators in Quebec and we are delighted to work with them. We are attracted to creators who are passionate storytellers, do things differently and have something to say. We want good stories that have the potential to be unifying.” 

Ten percent – call my agent


Currently, Netflix acts more as a broadcaster than a producer. In 2020, the giant invested in what remains to this day the only original Quebec production, the film Up to Decline. The platform has also purchased the international rights to the Perfect Family Guide. It also offers its subscribers special recordings of Martin Matte and, more recently, Matt Duff performing at the Bell Center as part of the Just for Laughs Festival. Netflix has been associated with the National School of Humor since 2018, injecting funds into comedy projects. Other partnerships are developing, with Wapikoni mobile in particular, but none of the productions officially land on the platform.  

Until the decline

Some Quebec series benefit from a certain visibility, having obtained a place in its catalog. Think of Do you hear me?, For Sarah, Trauma, Life, life and Caleb's Daughters. However, Quebec productions are enjoying enviable success thanks to numerous adaptations. A guy, a girl, which will soon be reborn on ICI 25 years later, has seen the birth of 30 versions in as many countries. The Brotherhood, A Criminal Case, Me Neither, Revolution, Boomerang, Like me!, Guys, are just some of the series that have been sold overseas recently. It's not negligible, of course.

Squid game

Becoming known

But having its place on an international platform keeps our culture and our language well living in other territories. The series make us travel, break down borders. As a spectator, having access to universes in Italian, Spanish, indie, Korean makes the immersion even more believable. In recent years, Spain has shown that it can create suspense thanks to Money Heist. Borgen highlighted the progressiveness of Danish society with a woman at its head. 

France stood out by opening the positions of an agency of artists in Ten Percent (Call My Agent). A series that allowed you to witness the behind-the-scenes games of a real star system. Lupin has risen to the top of the charts creating the event around a classic work carried by a charismatic actor, Omar Sy. Italy stands out with series like Bang Bang Baby or Prisma which present intense plots to young adults in polished universes. And what about South Korea which, in two or three years, has become a new reference in the tele-hook genre, without forgetting the audacity of its fictions. Think of Extraordinary Attorney Woo, The Glory and, of course, Squid Game, huge worldwide success. We can't wait for Quebec to make an enviable place there. 

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