2014 was a turning point for Canada’s digital-first media landscape, according to a new report released today by the Canadian Media Production Association  (CMPA). The report, Content Everywhere (2): Securing Canada’s Place in the Digital Future , examines the emerging marketplace for English-language linear content created outside the traditional studio and broadcast system over the past four years. It also provides case studies to give producers a real-life instruction kit on how to benefit from digital markets.
The report received funding support from the Ontario Media Development Corporation  (OMDC), the Canada Media Fund  (CMF) and the Independent Production Fund  (IPF). Content Everywhere is an update to a sister white-paper  commissioned in 2011 which suggested Canada, at that time, was lagging behind the U.S. and U.K in terms of original content production for new digital platforms.
“The jury may be out on what broadcast models will survive or prevail but there are clear lessons here for producers. First, there are rapidly growing markets for libraries of content and increasingly for original content, both large and small budget and perhaps, most important, strong signals that audience matters as never before,” says Michael Hennessy, President and CEO of the CMPA. “As underscored in the report, in a world where choice is infinite and the viewer controls consumption, the producer must demonstrate that there is an audience for what they are pitching. At the CMPA we are working through advocacy, market research and professional development to provide producers with the opportunities and tools to exploit these emerging markets.”
“Ensuring Canadian programs are available and visible in the vast depth of content offerings will be key to Canada’s success,” says Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the CMF. “As we have seen, the marketplace for digital-first content is transforming and each day, new players as well as traditional media companies are making announcements about their new initiatives to get into the game. Whether its new SVOD services, OTT channel offerings, or digital series launched on YouTube or VIMEO, Canada’s producers have a growing role to play in this burgeoning market for digital-first content.”
““OMDC was pleased to have supported Content Everywhere 1 and 2. It is timely and innovative research that provides important context on Canada’s contribution to the global digital marketplace and explores emerging trends in the continually shifting media landscape. The study examined a number of successful Ontario-based digital first properties including Annedroids, Out With Dad and Bite on Mondo which will help producers build audience for their properties and engage the right talent and partners to increase their digital footprint,” says Karen Thorne-Stone, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).
This White Paper aims to answer the following questions:
- What has happened in the emerging marketplace (English-language) for content created outside of the traditional studio and broadcast system over the past three to four years?
- Who are the new content buyers in the US, Canada and the UK, and what are they commissioning?
- How are traditional media players responding to the rising tide of OTT original production?
- Four years ago, Canada did not have any players of scale in the original digital content space. Has this changed? What are the domestic opportunities for Canadian producers?
- What do case studies of TV series and web series produced for digital platforms tell us about changing financing parameters?
“Canadian content producers need all the tools possible to grow their businesses to meet the current boom in digital-first linear content,” says Andra Sheffer, Executive Director IPF. “The IPF has been a significant funder and supporter of web-based and mobile drama in Canada over the past five years. Content Everywhere offers important insights to help content creators find their way in this highly volatile environment.”
Content Everywhere provides a comprehensive overview of the eight common characteristics of successful digital-first content from Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. markets, based on interviews and data collected from more than 30 industry buyers and creators. The project was led by Catherine Tait of Duopoly Inc.—an independent entertainment company that has provided business development services to the media industries in Canada and the U.S. over the past ten years.
Ms. Tait will be presenting her study and moderating a panel  on Friday, March 6th at the CMPA’s annual conference, Prime Time in Ottawa 2015 . She will further discuss new opportunities in original online production from SVODs to MCNs with:
- Mike Cosentino (Senior Vice President, Programming CTV Networks, CraveTV, Bell Media)
- John MacDonald (VP Television, Head of Women’s and Family Networks, Corus Entertainment)
- Navaid Mansuri (VP Content Partnerships, Rogers Media)
- Marni Shulman (Senior Director, Content and Programming, Shomi)
A copy of the report is available here  and it can also be found on the website of partners associated with the research. The French version of the report will be available soon.