CTF: $325M requested

Canadian producers are seeking $36 million more from this year’s Canadian Television Fund than they did from last year’s heavily oversubscribed ctcpf. Adding to the industry’s already anxious state is the fact that the ctf’s operating budget, which has yet to be released, is not expected to increase significantly from last year’s $177 million.

The redesigned ctf says it has received 559 applications requesting about $325 million from this year’s fund.

Last year, 500 applications requesting $289 million were submitted.

The ctf was not prepared to release application numbers and funding request totals broken down by genre.

This year’s budget could be less than last year’s $177 million because at least part of a $20-million bailout loan the fund received from the Royal Bank last year during the April crisis is expected to be paid back this year.

However, the operating budget could be bolstered by increased contributions from Broadcast Distribution Undertaking’s with larger cable and satellite subscriber numbers.

The fund’s budget is expected to be announced shortly after a ctf board of directors meeting March 23.

The ctf says successful applicants should begin to receive word in April.

This is not soon enough to plan fall schedules, say some broadcasters. Beverley Oda, senior vp industry affairs at ctv, speaking at a conference in Toronto last month, said the timing of funding decisions must be made earlier in order to escape the current ‘treadmill.’

Oda says ctv, like the u.s. networks, should be viewing completed pilots for fall sked candidates in April and May, not just finding out which shows have funding.