The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced announced its Program Guidelines for the upcoming fiscal year starting April 1, 2011. It also announced the Factor Weights that will be used to calculate Performance Envelopes for 2011-2012. These announcements reflect decisions made by the CMF’s Board of Directors at its meeting held on November 25, 2010.
“The changes announced today reflect much of what we heard during the extensive consultations undertaken this fall by the CMF”, stated Valerie Creighton, President and CEO. “We once again wish to thank our stakeholders for their time, advice and valued contributions”.
“We are truly pleased with the success achieved so far by the CMF”, added Louis Roquet, Chair of the CMF’s Board of Directors. “The CMF has been an important catalyst for change within the industry, while also accounting for the challenges faced by its stakeholders in the face of rapid transformation of the market. The changes announced today also set in motion the two strategic objectives identified by the Board to continue to move the organization forward, namely to simplify the CMF’s policies and programs and to reward success.”
Complete Program Guidelines are available on the CMF web site. The updated Performance Envelope Manual will be available this week. The CMF will hold a webcast to provide a complete overview of changes to its programs and Performance Envelope calculations in January 2011. Key highlights include the following:
In line with the objective of simplification of the CMF’s programs and in order to provide an incentive for producers to return recoupment revenues to the CMF more rapidly, the CMF will amend its recoupment policy for projects financed at the production stage.
Producers who return the CMF’s investment will benefit from an increased share of future profits. Those who do so within a 2 year period will receive an additional benefit. Also, in this stream, the CMF will no longer require an undivided share of copyright in the projects it funds in return for its equity investments.
These changes will apply retroactively to projects supported in 2010-2011.
In line with the objective of ensuring that content is available to Canadians on all platforms anywhere, anytime, anyplace, projects will continue to be able to qualify in the Convergent Stream through one of the following three options: in addition to the television component, the creation of rich and substantial digital media components; the airing of the television component on a CRTC-licensed video on demand platform; or its non simultaneous digital distribution (streaming). Basic digital media components will no longer qualify to make projects convergent.
Broadcasters will continue to be required to allocate a minimum of 50% of their envelopes on projects with rich and substantial digital media components. Projects with pre-existing rich and substantial digital media components will continue to be counted within this percentage, but at only half of the amount of the envelope allocation to such projects. Also, in order to allow the production of more elaborate digital media content, the CMF’s maximum contribution to digital media components will be increased from 200K$ to 500K$ in the Performance Envelope program.
In July 2010, the CMF announced the Performance Envelope Factors to be used for 2011-2012 calculations, as well as related definitions. The Factor Weights that will be used for 2011-2012 calculations will reward successful projects more significantly through an increase in the Audience Success (Total Hours Tuned) factor. For drama and VAPA, an increased emphasis will also be placed on the Audience Success of original, first-run programs aired in prime time. Broadcasters will also be provided with an incentive to support rich and substantial digital media content through the creation of a Digital Media Investment factor.
The Factor Weights for 2011-2012 are:
Note: 50% flex will continue to be applied within the Performance Envelopes.
English Regional Production
In response to concerns raised by stakeholders, the CMF has amended its English Production Incentive (EPI), which will now apply on a provincial/territorial basis (rather than by “area”) and on a two-year basis. In order to ensure this program meets the objective to incent production, only new projects will be eligible for the EPI.
Also, pre-development expenses, including travel costs to meet with Canadian broadcasters, will be deemed eligible expenses in the CMF’s development programs. This change will apply to all of the CMF’s development programs.
The CMF’s budget for 2011-2012, including the financial allocations to be provided to each of the CMF’s programs, will be presented to the CMF’s Board of Directors in early March of 2011. Program allocations and Performance Envelopes will be announced shortly thereafter.
What’s Ahead for 2011/2012
As a result of the Board’s focus on the guiding principles of simplification and rewarding success, the CMF will continue its dialogue with the industry and its funders to assess the impact of the program with a view to seeking increased flexibility, focus and results including the consideration of a multi-year approach.
This dialogue will occur against the backdrop of other important policy discussions within the industry that may ultimately affect the CMF. In order to ensure an adequate level of support to all genres of production while providing flexibility in the use of envelope allocations, the CMF will begin discussions with the industry to refine the performance envelopes towards a more “genre-based” model with measures of success tailored by genre.
Work has started on the measurement of audiences to CMF-supported content on digital media platforms and this will be concluded so that these audiences can be integrated into Performance Envelope calculations as of 2012-2013. The CMF will also continue its examination of appropriate mechanisms to ensure the Fund’s investments in the projects it supports in the Convergent Stream are maximized through potential revenue generation.