Bell Fund launches three new programs

The programs will put up to a maximum of $1.4 million towards creating and updating digital media projects for Canadian television projects.

The Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund has launched three new funding programs to hand out up to a maximum of $1.4 million in new financing for digital media for television program development.

The new money represents the most substantial addition to the fund since it launched its Development Fund in 2001, the organization said Tuesday.

“Our goal is to keep the Bell Fund dynamic and to respond quickly to changing industry realities,” said Bell Fund board chair Dr. Paul Hoffert.

The three programs, the TV Development Digital Pilot Program, the Performance Accelerator Program, and the Legacy Initiative, will all fund digital platforms and projects related to new or existing television programs.

The fund will allocate approximately $1 million for TV Development Digital Pilot Program, enabling producers and broadcasters to test potential new TV programming and proofs-of-concept on digital platforms.

The idea is that piloting TV programs online or on mobile will allow for creative audience feedback and measurements, which can then boost the potential for a project’s success.

The Performance Accelerator Program will provide funding to existing successful digital media projects to evolve and maximize on-going exploitation opportunities nationally and internationally.

The funding will be available in the form of a grant, which is applied to a project’s digital media component, for up to 75% of its production cost, to a max of $75,000 per project.

According to the fund, through this program digital producers can then optimize their audiences and monetize their projects.

And the Legacy Initiative will extend the Bell Fund’s Production Program, making funding available to previously-produced successful Canadian TV programs, like long-running kids series and doc specials that have had a long TV life, for first-time digital content.

Funding towards the digital component will be made available in the form of two grants: one of up to 75% of the digital component production cost, to a max of $250,000 per project, in addition to a bonus grant matching any broadcaster(s) cash contribution (license or equity) to the financing of the digital component, to a max of $100,000.

“By providing funding for enduring hits, we are rewarding rights holders and audiences – and everyone in between. New digital content can help make a successful television brand more valuable, keep characters alive on new platforms, attract a new generation of viewers and satisfy the growing digital appetites of today’s fans,” said Bell Fund board communications chair Catherine Warren in her own statement.

Approximately two-thirds of the funds will support English-language projects, and one-third for French-language projects.

The first two deadlines for the TV Developmental Digital Pilot Program are Oct. 1, 2012 to Feb 1, 2013.

Full information and guidelines are available through the Bell Fund’s website.