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 2016-2017, the CMF provided $306.0M in funding for the production of 530 convergent projects generating almost 2,900 hours of new content and triggering $1.3B in production activity. These totals include Aboriginal and Diverse Languages funded projects. Funding has declined by 2.8% compared to 2015-2016, however total production activity has remained stable. Total 2016-2017 television funding at $278.1M also showed a 2.8% decrease from 2015-2016. Funding to digital media components fell by 3.0% to $27.9M. A total of 195 digital media projects were funded with budgets of $50.4M. The digital media average budget was at $258K. The funding budget ratio has jumped to 4.4 to 1.0, another five-year high and a sign of the greater leverage effect of CMF funding.
Children’s & Youth
English Children’s & Youth received 11.8% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $686K per hour. Average budgets fell by $8K per hour from 2015-2016. Total funded budgets, hours funded, and CMF funding dropped to 5-year lows.
French Children’s & Youth received 18.7% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $156K per hour, $7K greater than 2015-2016. Total funded budgets were at a five-year high and hours funded rose from 2015-2016.
Distributors and foreign financiers provided significant portions through advances and licence fees in 2016-2017 for English Children’s & Youth projects, especially foreign financiers at 11.5% of financing. Producer investment was at 4.9% in English television. Broadcasters provided substantial triggers for French projects.
English Documentary received 25.9% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $415K per hour, a five-year high. Total funding and budgets were also at 5-year highs in 2016-2017. Digital media funding in Documentary was the highest of all genres at over $7.0M. English digital media projects had an average budget of $431K per project, compared to $193K per project in 2015-2016.
French Documentary received 22.7% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $139K per hour. Total funded budgets and hours funded hit 5-year highs for the second year in a row.
Distributors contributed 6.1% of financing in 2016-2017 English Documentary television projects and 4.1% in digital media projects. Producer investment share is high at 12.1% in English digital media projects. Broadcasters are the major financiers of French television projects and private funds are the major financiers of French digital media projects.
English Drama received 56.9% of English funding. Average budgets were at $1,769K per hour, up from $1,631K per hour in 2015-2016. Budgets funded were at a 5-year high. Digital media funding was a close second to Documentary at just under $7.0M. Average digital media budgets were at $541K per project, a five-year high.
French drama received 48.8% of French-language funding. Average television budgets fell to $434K per hour from last year’s $469K. Total hours and budgets declined from 2015-2016.
Distributors and foreign financiers together provided 19.3% of budgets in 2016-2017 English Drama television projects. Broadcaster financing of English digital media projects was the highest of all genres. Broadcasters financed 42.3% of French television projects.
Variety & Performing Arts
English Variety & Performing Arts received 5.4% of English-language funding, an upswing compared to the past two years. Average television budgets were at $497K per hour, almost double from 2014-2015 ($253K per hour). Hours funded have risen from 2015-2016.
French Variety & Performing Arts received 9.8% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $239K per hour. Total funded budgets and hours are at a five-year high.
As is typical for this genre, broadcasters provide a large portion of project financing, especially in French television where the contribution nears 59%. English award shows had a larger than usual contribution from the award-granting organizations, shown here as “Other”. English-language digital media financing is not shown, as only one project was funded in 2016-2017.
In 2016-2017, 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.
There was new flexibility introduced this year in eligible DM components, allowing more convergent projects to have DM. However, total funding to these projects declined slightly.
The share of funding going towards convergent projects with DM components has dropped slightly from 2015-2016 (-1.0 points), because French funding fell while other languages rose or stayed stable. Despite this fall in share, funding to digital media components stayed at a high level compared to previous years. In the measure of the number of projects with DM components, the share has risen or stayed at 100% for all languages. 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.