Audiovisual and digital media funding organizations in different markets are faced with common issues and challenges in order to adapt their funding mechanisms and programs to ongoing market changes in content consumption, production and distribution. A new white paper  published by the Canada Media Fund  in collaboration with the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles  (SODEC) and Power to the Pixel , demonstrates that funding organizations have implemented policies and programs to meet current needs and are looking to creative means in order to face the future of the industry.
Understanding Funders: Funding Approaches, Challenges & Adaptation Strategies To Help Funders Cope In A Changing Media Environment (Download PDF ) was designed to ignite and nurture the debate among participants of the fifth edition of the Power to the Pixel Think Tank that will occur in London, U.K. on Friday, October 10.
This discussion paper identifies overarching similarities between different funding systems targeting audiovisual and transmedia production and distribution. The research pinpoints common challenges facing funding organizations and program administrators. It also proposes inspiring solutions based on real-life examples implemented in some of the countries covered within the study, specifically: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“As the CMF engages in conversations with stakeholders around the globe, it is clear that we all share the objective of providing content producers with access to more resources to create captivating content,” says Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, CMF “By working with organizations in Canada and from other countries, we continue to monitor changes in the industry and share innovative solutions to adapt our policies and strategies to this ever changing environment.”
“Although programs and business models vary from one country to another, the fact remains that we are all confronted with the same important issue of freeing up sufficient resources to produce rich and innovative content,” says Monique Simard, SODEC President and CEO.
“Support and financing structures for media are, in the large part, deterministic based on distinct media formats. Now that digital is blurring the boundaries between media formats and industry silos, support and financing structures may need to consider adopting a less deterministic approach,” says Liz Rosenthal, Founder and CEO, Power to the Pixel. “We’re honoured to be collaborating with CMF and SODEC on this research and are excited to see how its findings can kick start the debate around supporting innovation at Power to the Pixel’s annual Think Tank this week.”
Key observations and trends
- More complex funding models and a need to diversify revenue sources – Funds are undergoing sometimes tremendous pressure to diversify their sources of revenue, and content producers and creators are exploring alternative forms of funding on their own.
- Committing to excellence in terms of assessment and management – Fund administrators are concerned with their existing policy assessment tools and program performance indicators, a trend that is consistent with: an increased focus on recoupment; reduced program administration costs; and the need to develop success indicators and performance measures for works supported across all media platforms.
- Encouraging collaboration between creative industry stakeholders – With media convergence and tighter budgets, funders of audiovisual and transmedia content are looking toward other creative sectors (such as video games, performing arts, publishing, for example), as well as other stakeholders that provide support for content (including training centres and schools, accelerators and incubators, and private investors).
- General willingness to harmonize – Dialogue with counterparts is now an ongoing concern for most of the organizations studied: identifying common interests, harmonizing operational frameworks and procedures, as well as sharing knowledge and best practices are keys to success.
- Gradual transition from an incentive model to a structuring model – With funding models changing rapidly and becoming more complex, content producers find themselves needing to develop greater expertise and adaptability. This includes the transition from an incentive model of funding to a structuring one: refocusing efforts towards sustaining businesses as opposed to simply providing project-based funding.
- Regional funding: resource consolidation and experimentation – Trans-regional cooperation is becoming more important than ever. Funding at regional levels, especially in the European Union, can provide a responsive and adaptable context that easily lends itself to experimentation. It can also become a breeding ground for testing new funding and partnership models, as well as developing pilot programs