Canadian Heritage

Canadian Heritage

March 09, 2009 10:05 ET

Minister Moore Announces Canada Media Fund to Give Viewers What They Want, When They Want it

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 9, 2009) - Canadian viewers will have better access to Canadian programming on all media platforms following the creation of the Canada Media Fund (CMF), announced today by the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

The CMF will be created as the Canadian Television Fund and the Canada New Media Fund are combined, reformed and rebranded through a renewed partnership with the industry. Its mandate will be to ensure the production of quality content and to make it available on multiple platforms.

The announcement was made on the set of Flashpoint. A television series that is broadcast on conventional television and is also available online, Flashpoint is one of the many Canadian scripted series that will benefit from this initiative.

Joining the Minister were Chris Frank of Bell Video Group, Phil Lind of Rogers Communications, Pierre Karl Peladeau of Quebecor/Videotron, Ken Stein of Shaw Communications, Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg of marblemedia, and Tim Casgrain of CBC/Radio-Canada.

"The Canada Media Fund will help our producers and broadcasters to do what they do best: create, entertain, and connect with Canadians," said Minister Moore. "We are confident that the broadcasting and interactive digital media sectors will continue to contribute to Canada's economic well-being and will benefit Canadians from all regions of the country."

Four key principles have guided the Government in its decisions:

- get governance and accountability right;

- reward success and require innovation;

- focus the investment on what Canadians want; and

- level the playing field.

"Our Government recognizes the challenges currently facing broadcasters and producers," said Minister Moore. "The most important thing the Government can do is ensure that the policies in place are not impediments to the changes required in the media industry. That is where this partnership becomes even more important."

The reformed and integrated fund will be fully implemented and in place by April 1, 2010.

In order to minimize the disruption of the business cycles of both the television and interactive digital media sectors, the CTF and the CNMF will continue to operate under the status quo for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The funds announced for the broadcasting and new media sectors in the 2009 Budget will be combined and joined through this partnership with the industry. By adding an ongoing allocation of $20.4 million to this funding each year, the Government will contribute a total of $134.7 million annually to support the production of Canadian programming-through the work of Canadian producers-over the next two years.

"This change will help our producers and broadcasters contribute to the Canadian economy while putting Canadians first. We are levelling the playing field at a time when the industry is undergoing structural change," added Minister Moore. "Through this investment in the broadcasting and interactive digital media sector, we are contributing to the strength of the Canadian economy and supporting job creation."

BACKGROUNDER

Canada Media Fund

Combining, Reforming, and Rebranding the Canadian Television Fund and Canada New Media Fund

CONTEXT

Since 1996, the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) has invested more than $2.7 billion, creating more than 27 000 hours of television production in English, French, and Aboriginal languages. The Government has allocated $120.4 million for 2008-2009.

The Canada New Media Fund (CNMF) was created in 1998 to encourage the creation and development of Canadian interactive digital content products. In 2007-2008, the CNMF provided $11.5 million in financial assistance to 71 projects.

The decision to combine, reform, and rebrand the two initiatives was driven by the need for a renewed public-private partnership, a variety of Canadian choices on multiple platforms, and a more effective and relevant investment to contribute to Canada's economic well-being and benefit Canadians from all regions of the country.

SUMMARY OF REFORMS (POLICY PRINCIPLES)

In order to make this initiative work, reforms will be needed, based on four key principles:

- get governance and accountability right;

- reward success and require innovation;

- focus the investment on what Canadians want; and

- level the playing field.

Get governance and accountability right

A smaller fully independent board made up of nominees of the funders will be created. Broadcasters, producers, and creators will be consulted through a mechanism to be established by the board. A contribution agreement between the Government of Canada and the Canada Media Fund will set the terms and conditions for the Fund.

Reward success and require innovation

The realigned fund will favour projects produced in high definition and those that have achieved and demonstrated the most potential to achieve success, in terms of audience and return on investment. Applicants will be required to make their projects available across a minimum of two distribution platforms, including television. This initiative will also foster the development of cutting-edge applications and content to drive innovation back into the mainstream forms of content. Since building audience demand means investing in development, versioning, marketing, and promotion, the Fund will ensure that these activities occur.

Focus the investment on what Canadians want

The Canada Media Fund will put particular emphasis on drama, comedy, and children's programming. It will also support documentaries and variety and performing arts programming if a project can pass a test demonstrating that the market alone would not support its creation. Because Canadians also want programming on other distribution platforms, it will ensure that this programming is available not only on TV on prime time, but also on the Internet and mobile devices. By focusing on programming Canadians want, the Fund will ensure the best use of the creative sector by ensuring a strong Canadian presence through the predominant use of Canadian creative talent, including writers, directors, and performers. As Canadians want to interact and learn from each other, the Fund will also support Aboriginal and minority French-language productions, and respect the specificity of the French-language market. It will also support programs in third languages where demand and funding are present.

Level the playing field

The eligibility for funding for broadcaster-affiliated production will be expanded, and broadcaster in-house production will be allowed. This will be phased in gradually and over time to find the right mix. All broadcasters will be put on a level playing field, including provincial educational broadcasters and CBC/Radio-Canada, whose guaranteed envelope will be removed. Support will continue to be provided to productions from all regions of Canada.

NEXT STEPS

The Government of Canada, through the Department of Canadian Heritage, will work with its partners to develop this initiative further. More details on the reforms and how these will be put into action will be provided following in-depth discussions with funders and stakeholders.

The year 2009-2010 will be one of transition. In order to minimize the disruption of the business cycles of both the television and interactive media sectors, the CTF and CNMF will continue to operate under the status quo for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The reformed and integrated Canada Media Fund will be fully implemented and in place by April 1, 2010.

For more details on the current CTF and CNMF, visit:

- the Canadian Television Fund website at www.ctf-fct.ca/ctf_home_en.html and

- the Canada New Media Fund website at www.telefilm.gc.ca//03/311.asp?lang=en&fond_id=3

This news release is available on the Internet at www.canadianheritage.gc.ca under Media Room.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    and Official Languages
    Deirdra McCracken
    Director of Communications
    819-997-7788
    deirdra.mccracken@pch.gc.ca
    or
    Canadian Heritage
    Media Relations
    819-994-9101
    1-866-569-6155