CMF-triggered production up 8% for 2015-16: report

The organization's annual report shows an overall $371 million investment in Canadian projects.

As the Canadian entertainment industry reacts to CRTC-mandated changes in the independent funds sector, the Canada Media Fund’s annual report sheds light on the impact funding models have on the industry.

According to the report, the CMF’s $371.7 million investment in Canadian projects in fiscal 2015-16 resulted in roughly $1.4 billion in production activity.

The total represents an 8.4% increase over the previous year, when the CMF’s $365.6 million investment triggered a reported $1.3 billion in production activity.

The CMF’s Convergent Stream, which supports Canadian TV projects and digital media content, funded 541 projects with a total of $314.9 million in 2015-16, generating nearly 3000 hours of content, according to the report. This was up on the previous year, when the Convergent Stream funded 505 projects with an investment of $311.3 million, generating 2,800 hours of content.

The amount of funding funneled to TV projects through the Convergent Stream remained steady in 2015-16, totaling $286.1 million (a 0.2% increase from the previous year), while digital media projects received $28.8 million (an increase of 12%). Overall, the Convergent Stream generated $1.3 billion in production activity for the year.

This year also saw an increase in the amount of documentary production and a drop in children’s TV production funded through the Convergent Stream. In terms of TV hours for docs, English-language production increased from 401 hours in 2014-15 to 429 this year. On the French side, the number of TV hours jumped from 464 in 2014-15 to 584 this year. For English-language children’s TV, the number dropped from 274 in 2014-15 to 260 this year, while in French the number of hours dropped from 499 hours in 2014-15 to 461 hours this year.

Meanwhile, the Experimental Stream, which covers interactive, digital media content and software applications invested a total of $40.5 million across 104 projects. In terms of production funding administered through the Experimental Stream, $28 million (or 69% of the total) was doled out in 2015-16, compared with $23.9 million the previous year. Meanwhile, development received a 22.8% share ($9.2 million) of the total and marketing received 8.1% ($3.3. million).

The economic activity triggered by the Experimental Stream also increased this year, according to the report, with the resulting production activity increasing by 7.4% to $66.4 million compared with 2014-15. The stream received 375 applications in total, of which roughly a quarter received funding. In the Experimental Stream’s most recent round of funding, $4.7 million in development and marketing support was distributed across 22 digital media projects.

Across all its streams, the CMF devoted 80.8% of its funding to TV projects, while 19.2% went to digital media content.

For fiscal 2016-17, the CMF has set its budget at $371.2 million.