Industry guru: Canada leads world in transmedia subsidies

New York-based Starlight Runner Entertainment CEO Jeff Gomez (pictured) tells Playback that he thinks Canada is in "the number one position" when it comes to funding and other incentives made available for multi-platform and digital production.

Canadian transmedia content may lag Hollywood in design and scale, but no one surpasses Canada for its subsidy support for multi-platform production.

That’s the verdict of New York-based Starlight Runner Entertainment CEO Jeff Gomez, who last week attended the Merging Media 2012 Conference in Vancouver.

“My feeling is Canada is ahead, in the number one position, simply with regard to the fact that funding and other incentives are being furnished to projects that are required to be spread across multiple media platforms,” Gomez told Playback after delivering a keynote address in Vancouver.

The transmedia guru pointed to federal and provincial tax credits for multi-platform production, as broadcasters require digital extensions to trigger Canada Media Fund support.

And there’s government agencies like the National Film Board, subsidy pools like the Bell Fund and the Quebecor Fund, and Canadian advertising agencies and angel investors backing transmedia to reach new audiences.

Gomez adds Canadian transmedia content doesn’t yet rate alongside the multiplatform extensions his production shingle has done for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, Prince of Persia and Tron, Microsoft’s Halo, James Cameron’s Avatar, or Hasbro’s Transformers.

“I’d say Canada was slightly behind, but not by much, a year or two,” he insisted reassuringly.

To catch up, Gomez tells Canadian producers and broadcasters to look far beyond Canada’s borders for transmedia audiences.

“After all, these things are expensive, and you want millions of people, perhaps a global audience, to engage with it,” he insisted.

Here Gomez points to Rainmaker Entertainment, Corus Entertainment, Cookie Jar Entertainment and Toronto and Montreal studios for French video game maker Ubisoft as Canadian players making transmedia content for a global audience.

“These guys are building global brands. And so those are the products that my kids interact with, and my employees play with on a day to day basis,” he said.

“It’s great to have partners internationally. But I think there’s fabulous interactive content that being born and being nurtured in Canada,” he added.

Photo via Starlight Runner