Watching Canadian Television (Like Heartland) in Other Countries

Posted on Apr 25, 2019

Every day, Heartland fans from around the world leave comments on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube channels asking why they can't watch the newest episodes of Heartland in their countries or on services like Netflix. We hope to shed some light on this in today's blog...

Canadians love to watch TV programming from other countries and many of the networks that show these imported programs also have Canadian counterparts or regular distribution partners that make it easy for Candians to watch new episodes on this side of the border. Canada has direct access to a lot of US programs via simulcast on Canadian networks, for example. But what do you do when you are in The United States or other countries when you want to watch programs that originate on CBC Television in Canada?

The answer can be complicated.  CBC commissions many drama and comedy series intended for a Canadian audience (because CBC is Canada's public broadcaster) and some of the more popular series eventually make it across borders and onto streaming services and networks across the world. While CBC pays for many of these series to be created, the broadcaster doesn't own any of the international broadcast or streaming rights. The sale of these programs to an international audience falls to the distribution company that the various shows' production companies work with.

For example, Entertainment One sold the US broadcast and streaming rights for the popular crime drama, Burden of Truth to The CW network in The United States. While CBC is not involved in that transaction,  it's a huge bonus that more Canadian TV, originally commissioned here, is getting seen in other countries. 

The process for making this happen takes some time and there are a bunch of behind-the-scenes moving parts that help spread Canadian programs around the world. Often, there are requirements for the programs to be available in Canada first and for a certain period of time. Not only that, once they do make it across the border, the license to stream the show on a service like Netflix and the license to broadcast it on TV have their own requirements. For example, it's common that streaming services like Netflix aren't able to make the program available on their platform until the entire season of a show has been broadcast on the traditional TV network that has the license.

The short version is that there isn't any one party that intends to delay you from watching your favourite show in other countries and, it's usually just the contracts, licenses and scheduling that all have to be finalized before it gets to you.

Have you heard any news about when and where new seasons of Heartland will come out in your country?  Share your news in the comments!

Of course, in Canada, we may have to wait awhile for new seasons of Brooklyn Nine Nine to come out on Netflix, but much of our homemade programming is available to stream anytime on CBC Gem, including Heartland, Burden of Truth, Schitt's Creek and others!

Bonus: Amber Marshall commenting on being a part of TV culture in Canada (this is from a couple of years back).