CMF, Google partner on Cancon initiative

A new YouTube channel, managed by BBTV, will host classic Canadian film and TV series from as early as 1995.
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Canadians will have a few more options for accessing Canadian content in 2017. To capitalize on Canada 150 celebrations, the Canada Media Fund and Google Canada have joined forces to launch a Cancon-focused YouTube channel.

The channel will host iconic Canadian film and TV projects, with the goal of making Canadian titles more accessible to the public.

The CMF is tentatively looking to launch the channel in late March, CMF president and CEO, Valerie Creighton, told Playback Daily. The channel will focus on titles from the period between 1995 and 2005, as the CMF didn’t want to focus on titles that still have commercial distribution opportunities, said Creighton. “This is a legacy library, a back-catalogue project,” she said, adding the CMF also wanted to avoid the complexity and cost of restoring titles made prior to 1995.

The CMF’s announcement was made the same week Telefilm Canada announced its plans for increasing the discoverability of Cancon, including a partnership with iTunes.

The as-yet-unnamed YouTube channel is being developed by the CMF and Google Canada. It will be managed by Vancouver-based MCN BBTV, while post-production house Deluxe Toronto will oversee the digitization of the catalogue. The CMPA, AQPM and Telefilm Canada are additional partners on the project.

The CMF started with a list of 22,000 titles that were either not digitized or weren’t widely available on digital platforms. They’ve since identified primary rights holders and from that research compiled a list of about 250 titles to be made available on the channel, factoring in regional, cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as title recognition. No specific titles have been announced as of yet, as the CMF is still reaching out to rights holders.

In addition to providing a hub for Canadian content and ideally generating more buzz for Cancon, the CMF said the channel will offer an opportunity to test new business models for catalogue content. Creighton added that the channel is a legacy project, intended to last long past Canada’s 150th anniversary year.

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