CMF sets program budget for 2016/17 at $371.2M

The funder has also announced it will introduce two new pilot programs for the coming year.

digitalmedia2-shutterstock2The Canada Media Fund has set its program budget for 2016/17 at $371.2 million, and plans to introduce two new pilot initiatives for the coming year as well as several other program updates.

The first new pilot program will be focused on commercially driven digital media projects, in an effort to “better respond to the competing objectives of innovation and commercialization in the Experimental Stream,” the CMF said in a release. The Experimental Stream supports interactive digital media content and software applications. The new Commercial Projects Pilot Program will still require eligible projects demonstrate innovation, but will place more emphasis on their market potential.

The second pilot program is in direct response to a commitment made by the federal government in its recent budget to showcase Canada’s cultural industries abroad. This new pilot program from the CMF  is intended to support the “discoverability of Canadian content in the global market,” with additional details to be announced in the coming months.

In other program updates, the CMF is changing guidelines for digital media projects backed through its Convergent Stream, in an effort to provide more flexibility for producers. The CMF will change the minimum digital media content requirement from “rich and substantial” to “value added,” and will also give applicants more flexibility when calculating CMF convergence requirements. The Convergent Stream supports multi-platform projects distributed across at least two platforms, one of which is television.

The overall program budget for the coming year is down slightly from the 2014/15 budget, which was set at $375.2 million. The CMF’s program budget is backed by revenue estimates for the upcoming year based on contributions from the federal government, Canada’s IPTV, satellite and cable providers and recoupment and repayment revenues from funded projects. This coming year’s budget reflects a stable contribution from the federal government, and also considers expected declines in BDU’s contributions to the funder.

Funding in the Experimental Stream for both the English- and French- language programs stayed the same year-over-year at $27 million (English) and $13.5 million (French). Funding in the Convergent Stream for English-language projects dropped from about $213.4 million to $207.8 million with funding in the French stream for that program decreasing from $106.6 million to $103.9 million. Funding for Performance Envelopes (which falls under the broader Convergent Stream program) is down to $167.8 million from $174.5 million for English productions, and to $83.9 million from $86.5 million for French productions.

The CMF also said in its release that last year’s industry consultations and funding results indicated more support was needed for regional projects in the English market.  As such, the CMF is increasing its funding support to the English Regional Production Bonus, the Anglophone Minority Incentive and the Development Program under the fund’s Convergent Stream. The English Regional Production Bonus is being increased from $11.5 million (2014/15) to $13 million with the Anglophone Minority Incentive increasing from $4 million to $4.5 million and Development funding rising from about $8.8 million to $9 million.