Canada Media Fund Champions Creation of Innovative Canadian Digital Content

Policies and Program Guidelines Released Today

Open for Business on April 1, 2010

TORONTO, March 26 /CNW/ - The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Louis Roquet, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canada Media Fund (CMF), and Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the CMF, today announced the launch of the new funding agency and presented details regarding its programs. Open for business on April 1, 2010, the CMF's mandate is to champion the creation of successful, innovative, Canadian content and software applications for current and emerging digital platforms through financial support and industry research.

"In launching the Canada Media Fund, we've taken an important step towards supporting a truly modern, multi-platform industry and a digital content strategy for Canada. The CMF will allow our industry to do what it does best: create, entertain, and connect with Canadians," said Minister Moore. "We must all work together to ensure the Canada Media Fund's success and provide Canadians with exciting content that is reflective of new digital realities."

The CMF will support projects through two streams of funding, an Experimental Stream, which will invest in the creation of innovative content and software applications for eventual integration into mainstream Canadian media platforms; and a Convergent Stream, which will support the creation of convergent television and digital media content.

"Disbursing over $350 million in funding support, the CMF will strengthen Canada's production and broadcasting industries as they adjust to the evolving content consumption behaviour of Canadians," said Mr. Roquet.

Through its Experimental Stream, the CMF will encourage the development of leading-edge, non-linear, interactive digital media content and software applications. Through its Convergent Stream, the CMF will support the creation of television shows and related digital media content in four underrepresented genres: drama, documentary, children's and youth, and variety and performing arts. While basic digital media components, such as first generation websites and video-on-demand will be eligible, the CMF will encourage the creation of rich, value-added content.

The programs and incentives that comprise the Convergent Stream are designed to support production in all regions of Canada and in the variety of languages spoken by Canadians. The majority of funding in the Convergent Stream will be disbursed through the Performance Envelope Program, which encourages partnerships between broadcasters, television producers, and digital media producers to create convergent content that Canadians want to consume.

All policies and program guidelines are available for download on the CMF website at www.cmf-fmc.ca. The CMF will host a virtual townhall to outline the program guidelines and answer questions from potential applicants. Industry stakeholders are invited to participate by registering through the following links:

English townhall - 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET:

http://events.startcast.com/events6/Default.aspx?EID=0d9f4edd-0c28-4d38-b554-7c7e15fb73f7

French townhall - 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET:

http://events.startcast.com/events6/Default.aspx?EID=8d52137b-2e00-4812-bdd4-5939ebcb2809

"Designed and based on the valuable input we received from the industry, the CMF program balances the varied objectives and interests of the industry, while responding to the call for change in the mandate of the new organization. As we roll out the new program, we will continue to consult with the industry, evaluate the impact of the program, and re-calibrate as required." said Ms. Creighton.

Connect.Create.Innovate.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) champions the creation of successful, innovative, Canadian content and software applications for current and emerging digital platforms through financial support and industry research. Created by Canada's cable and satellite distributors and the Government of Canada, the CMF aspires to connect Canadians to our creative expressions, to each other, and to the world. www.cmf-fmc.ca

    
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    Backgrounder
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The Canada Media Fund (CMF) champions the creation of successful, innovative Canadian content and applications for current and emerging digital platforms through financial support and industry research.

Created by Canada's cable and satellite distributors and the Government of Canada, the CMF's vision is to connect Canadians to our creative expressions, to each other, and to the world.

Projects will be supported through two streams of funding, an Experimental Stream, which invests in the development of innovative content and software applications for eventual integration into mainstream Canadian media platforms; and a Convergent Stream, which supports the creation of convergent television and digital media content.

Experimental Stream

Through the Experimental Stream, the CMF will encourage the creation of leading-edge, interactive, digital media content and software applications.

Eligible projects will include experimental, non-linear, interactive content and software applications created for the internet, wireless, mobile, and emerging platforms or devices. Projects must demonstrate leading-edge characteristics. A television component will not be required. Examples include web and mobile applications, videogames, web series, and software applications with a connection to the Canadian cultural sector.

Eligible applicants will include Canadian-controlled, taxable Canadian corporations with their head office in Canada or Canadian broadcasters. These include television, interactive, and web-based production companies, internet service providers; mobile service providers; broadcasting distributors; private and public broadcasters; and broadcaster-affiliated production companies.

Funding allocated to this stream is $27 million. The maximum contribution per project is 75% of eligible costs or $1 million, whichever is less.

Funding will be delivered as equity investments in projects.

Funding decisions will be made on a selective basis by the CMF and will be based on criteria outlined in the Experimental Stream guidelines.

Convergent Stream

Through the Convergent Stream, the CMF will support the creation of television shows and related digital media content in four underrepresented genres: drama, documentary, children's and youth, and variety and performing arts.

Eligible projects will include content produced for broadcast on television and distribution on at least one digital media platform.

Projects must include high levels of Canadian elements, including Canadian creative talent.

While basic digital media components, such as basic websites and video-on-demand will be allowed for the purposes of rendering the entire convergent project eligible, the CMF will encourage the creation of rich, value added content by requiring at least 50% of a broadcast corporate group's envelopes be spent on this type of content. Examples include videogames, podcasts, webisodes, mobisodes, and interactive web content. The streaming of a production on the internet at the same time as the television broadcast (i.e. simultaneous streaming) will not be considered an eligible digital media component for the purposes of rendering the entire convergent project eligible.

Eligible applicants will include Canadian-controlled, taxable Canadian production corporations with their head office in Canada and Canadian broadcasters (public or private). These include television, interactive, and web-based production companies; private and public broadcasters; and broadcaster-affiliated production companies.

Funding programs within the Convergent Stream are listed in the chart below.

Forms of funding will include licence fee top-ups, equity investments, recoupable advances and non-repayable contributions that are paid directly to the applicant producer, depending on the program (see chart below).

    
    Summary of Convergent Stream Programs

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    Program                     Funding Available         Funding Method
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    Performance Envelope
     Program                       $277 million        Broadcaster triggered
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    Objective: Encourage partnerships between broadcasters, television
    producers, and digital media producers to create convergent content that
    Canadians want to consume anytime, anywhere.

    Key Details: Funding envelopes are allocated to Canadian broadcasters,
    who are in the best position to decide which projects could have the
    greatest market success. Envelope allocations are calculated using four
    weighted factors: audience success, historic access, above-threshold
    licensing, and regional licensing. Funds are paid directly to the
    producer, not the broadcaster (except for broadcaster in house
    productions).
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    Regional French                                   First-come, first-
     Incentive (sub-program)       $1 million          served
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    Objective: Support the growth of French production by Quebec producers
    who are located outside the Montreal production centre.
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    Northern Production                               First-come, first-
     Incentive (sub-program)       $500,000            served
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    Objective: Provide additional support to producers in Canada's
    territories.
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    English Production                                First-come first-
     Incentive                     $10 million         served
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    Objective: Support the growth of production in areas of Canada where
    English production volumes have declined more than 20% below their five-
    year historical average.

    Key Details: Areas are defined as:

        - Atlantic Canada (includes: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and
          Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island);
        - Quebec;
        - Ontario and Nunavut;
        - The Prairies (includes: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta); and
        - British Columbia and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

    Based on 2009-2010 results, Quebec and British Columbia and Yukon and
    Northwest Territories will participate in this program with allocations
    of 54% and 46%, respectively.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    English POV Program            $3.5 million       Selective process
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    Objective: Support the growth of English POV documentaries.

    Key Details: A broadcast licence is not required at the application
    stage.
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    Francophone Minority
     Program                       $10.1 million      Selective process
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    Objective: Ensure that Canadians have access to French production
    reflecting francophone cultures outside the province of Quebec.
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    Aboriginal Program             $6 million         Selective process
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    Objective: Support the growth of Aboriginal production.

    Key Details: Per-project cap is $400,000. As a pilot initiative, digital
    distributors of audiovisual content will be eligible licensors of
    projects from the territories.
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    Diverse Languages
     Program                       $1 million         tbd
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    Objective: Ensure that Canadians have access to content that reflects the
    variety of languages they speak.

    Key Details: Details will be made available mid-year.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ROI Incentive                  tbd                tbd
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    Objective: Reward producers whose projects have demonstrated a return on
    investment.

    Key Details: Details will be made available mid-year.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Development Program            $13 million        English - broadcaster
                                                       triggered French -
                                                       selective process
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Objective: Support productions at the development stage.

    Key Details: All projects submitted for consideration are required to be
    convergent and the digital media component under development must be rich
    and substantial. In the English market, broadcaster-affiliated and in-
    house development projects are eligible up to a maximum of 15% of the
    broadcast corporate group's development envelope. In the French market,
    broadcaster-affiliated and in-house development projects are eligible up
    to a maximum of 15% of available funds.
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    French Regional                $250,000           First-come, first-
     Development and Pre-                              served
     development
     (sub-program)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Objective: Support the growth of French development by Quebec producers
    who are located outside the Montreal production centre.
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    Versioning Program             $1.5 million       First-come, first-
                                                       served
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    Objective: Increase the reach of existing programming to Canadians
    through language versioning.

    Key Details: The versioning of CMF-funded programs into diverse languages
    will be allowed in 2010-2011. Versioning assistance will be limited to
    television programming in 2010-2011.
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    Program Calendar

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                                                          1st          final
                                                      closing        closing
          Program                      opening           date           date
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    Performance Envelope               April 1,    October 15,    December 6,
     Program                              2010           2010           2010
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    English Production Incentive       April 1,             -     December 6,
                                          2010                          2010
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    Aboriginal Program                                      -    May 7, 2010
     (production)
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    Aboriginal Program                                      -    November 19,
     (development)                                                      2010
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    Francophone Minority                               May 17,  September 13,
     Program (production)                                2010           2010
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    Francophone Minority                                    -    November 19,
     Program (development)                                              2010
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    English POV program                                     -   June 7, 2010
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    English Development                April 1,                  November 19,
     Envelopes                            2010              -           2010
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    French Selective                                   June 4,    November 5,
     Development                                         2010           2010
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    Regional French
     Development and                   April 1,                   November 5,
     Pre-development                      2010              -           2010
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    Versioning Program                 April 1,             -     January 17,
                                          2010                          2011
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    Experimental Stream                               June 21,     0ctober 4,
                                                         2010           2010
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    Diverse Languages Program
                                       to open              -
                                      mid-year
    ROI Incentive
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    Other Policy Points

    -   Broadcaster-affiliated and in-house production will be eligible for
        funding from the CMF, but will be limited to 7.5% of broadcasters'
        documentary envelopes and 15% of envelopes for all other eligible
        genres. Similar percentages will apply in the Aboriginal Program and
        the Francophone Minority Program.

    -   The amount of flex within a broadcaster's performance envelope is
        50%.

    -   CRTC-licensed video-on-demand (VOD) can be considered a television
        platform or a 2nd platform; however, VOD-related expenses will not be
        funded. Licence fees paid by CRTC-licensed VOD services are eligible
        for consideration in the achievement of threshold.

    -   Basic digital media content and "non-simulcast" digital distribution
        can be considered as a 2nd platform in order for projects to qualify
        in the Convergent Stream; however, expenses for these will not be
        funded.

    -   All rights related to non-television platforms must be identified and
        valued separately, both from each other and from the linear broadcast
        licence.
    

More Information

The full business policies and program guidelines of the CMF are available for download on the corporation's website at www.cmf-fmc.ca.

Through a services agreement with the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Telefilm Canada administers the programs of this funding agency.

SOURCE Canada Media Fund

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Betsy Chaly, Director, Marketing & Communications, (416) 214-4441

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Canada Media Fund

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