How much economic horsepower does one Canadian series generate?

The CMPA digs in to find the answer as the Alberta-shot series celebrates its 10th anniversary on air.
Heartland 1

Hour-long CBC drama Heartland has been a fixture on Canadian television almost exactly a decade. Premiering its first season on Oct. 14, 2007, the series reached the 175-episode mark during its 10th season, with the 11th launching on CBC at the end of September.

Almost 10 years to the day since Heartland debuted, the CMPA on Wednesday released a study assessing the show’s economic impact on both Alberta and the rest of Canada.

The report, carried out for the CMPA by MNP LLP, indicated that Heartland contributed $351 million to Canada’s GDP and generated $469 million in economic output during its first 10 seasons. During that time, the series has racked up $278.5 million in production expenditure and created the equivalent of more than 4,500 jobs in Alberta.

The study also undertook a close study of the show’s ninth season (18 episodes), which resulted in a total production spend of $28.7 million across Canada. In total, $19.7 million of that spend came in Alberta ($11.4 million on production and post-production and $8.3 million on goods and services), while $9 million came in the rest of Canada ($6.9 million on production and post-production and $2.1 million on goods and services).

The report also said that season nine of the show received $3.1 million in federal tax incentives and $5.9 million in provincial incentives (from both Alberta and Ontario). Last week, the government of Alberta announced a new grant program that will make $45 million a year available to production companies working in the province. The new Screen-Based Production Grant, which replaces the Alberta Production Grant, will make around $45 million a year available to prodcos working in the province, compared with around $30 million under the previous program. Under the new Screen-Based Production Grant, productions such as Heartland are eligible to receive up to $7.5 million annually, whereas that total was previously capped at $5 million.

Heartland is produced by Seven24 Films and Dynamo Films. Executive producers on the series are Heather Conkie, Tom Cox, Jordy Randall and Michael Weinberg.