The Convergent Stream supports the creation of multi-platform Canadian productions. They must include content intended for distribution on at least two platforms, one of which must be television, and the other, a digital media platform. More specifically, the stream enables the development and production of television shows and related digital media content in four underrepresented genres: drama, documentary, children’s and youth, and variety and performing arts. The required digital media components must comprise rich and substantial interactive content and can include games, rich interactive media such as web series, ebooks, and social media projects, for example. The Convergent Stream is designed to support access to Canadian-produced content, anytime, anywhere, on the device of the user’s choice.
The stream comprises a number of different programs and incentives designed to encourage the creation of content from all regions of Canada and in the variety of languages spoken by Canadians. The majority of funding in this stream is disbursed through the Performance Envelope Program.
Convergent Stream Funding
In 2014-2015, the CMF provided $311.3M in funding for the production of 505 convergent projects generating almost 2,800 hours of new content and triggering $1.2B in production activity. These totals include Aboriginal and Diverse Languages funded projects. Funding has risen by 1.8% compared to 2013-2014. Total 2014-2015 television funding at $285.6M showed a 1.4% increase from 2013-2014. Funding to digital media components rose by 6.9% to $25.7M. A total of 231 digital media projects were funded with budgets of $46.7M. Digital media budgets topped $200K on average for the second year in a row. Total convergent budgets triggered were 1.7% higher than in 2013-2014. The funding budget ratio has jumped from 3.7 to 1.0 to 4.0 to 1.0, a sign of the greater leverage effect of CMF funding.
Children’s & Youth
English Children’s & Youth received 20.6% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $644K per hour, a 5-year high, as hours funded dropped to a 5-year low while funding and budgets were maintained from last year.
French Children’s & Youth received 17.4% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $128K per hour, lower than normal due to a 5-year high in hours funded.
Distributors and foreign financiers provided significant portions through advances and licence fees in 2014-2015 English projects. Producer investment was at 4.1% in English television, compared to 2.3% last year. Broadcasters provided substantial triggers for French projects.
English Documentary received 20.2% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $329K per hour, holding steady at $320-$330 per hour for the last three years. Total funding and budgets were at a 5-year high in 2014-2015. Digital media funding in Documentary was a close second to DM Drama at $6.1M. English digital media projects had an average budget of $257K per project.
French Documentary received 21.7% of French-language funding. Average television budgets reached a 5-year low at $139K per hour as the hours funded hit a 5-year high.
Distributors contributed 3.7% of financing in 2014-2015 English television projects, compared to 2.2% last year. Broadcasters are the major financiers of French television projects. Producer investment share is high at 3.5% in French television projects.
English Drama received 56.3% of English funding. Average budgets were at $1,543K per hour, down by approximately $100K from the last three years, but hours funded were at a 5-year high. Digital media funding was the highest of all the genres at $6.3M. Average digital media budgets were at $344K per project.
French Drama received 52.7% of French-language funding. Average television budgets increased to $454K per hour from last year’s $436K. Total funding and budgets were at a 5-year high in 2014-2015.
Distributors and foreign financiers together provided 17.7% of budgets in 2014-2015 English television projects. Broadcasters’ portion was 12.8 share points more than CMF financing of French television projects.
Variety & Performing Arts
English Variety & Performing Arts received 2.8% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $253K per hour. This is a decrease from last year but similar to 2010-2011 and 2012-2013.
French Variety & Performing Arts received 8.2% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $228K per hour, a 5-year high. The declines of the previous two years shown in the chart above show improvement in 2014-2015.
As is typical for this genre, broadcasters provide a large portion of project financing, especially in French Television where the contribution nears 60%.
In 2014-2015, projects were deemed convergent if the television program met one of the following three conditions:
- it was complemented by one or several digital media (DM) components;
- it was made available on a digital distribution platform non-simultaneously with its original broadcast (non-simultaneous streaming); or
- it was made available on a CRTC-licensed video-on-demand (VOD) service.
The share of funding going towards convergent projects with DM components has risen to a 5-year high over all languages, particularly in French (+8.0 points), with English very close to the 5-year high of 2012-2013 (+2.0 points compared to last year). The share of the number of projects with DM components has also reached a 5-year high. Funding to digital media components and the number of projects funded were at a 5-year high, at $25.7M in funding for 231 projects. Most convergent projects with DM components received more funding than those with other second platforms, hence, convergent projects using DM comprised a higher percentage share of CMF funding than the percentage share of the number of convergent projects.