The Aboriginal Program is designed to support Aboriginal-language independent production in Canada. This program is part of the Canada Media Fund’s (CMF) Convergent Stream; thus, projects funded through this program must include content to be produced for distribution on at least two platforms, one of which must be television and the other, digital media. Funding from this program was allocated according to a selective process, using an evaluation grid.
The budget of the Aboriginal Program for development and production was $8.0M in 2016-2017, a $1.0M increase from previous years. The $8.0M was completely spent. 15 convergent production projects were funded. Aboriginal-language production projects received $1.4M in additional CMF funding from the Performance Envelope and regional incentive programs, resulting in $8.6M in total for Aboriginal-language productions, leveraging $17.3M in production budgets, a 5-year high.
Aboriginal projects came from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario, and Quebec. Funding support was predominantly in Documentary, at 56.7% for eight convergent projects. Children’s & Youth funding received a 38.4% share for six projects. One Drama series received 4.9% of funding. Eight television components had an accompanying digital media component, which received $0.8M in funding out of the Aboriginal program in 2016-2017. 22 development projects were supported in 2016-2017 with $781K in funding.
In 2016-2017, APTN licensed 10 projects, Nunavut Independent Television Network (NITV) licensed two, APTN and NITV co-licensed one, APTN and Radio-Canada co-licensed one and Canal D licensed one. A total of 78 television hours were funded, a 5-year high. The average television production budget per hour was $222K, compared to $180K per hour in 2015-2016. Thirteen out of 15 television projects had production budgets at or over $1M.
CMF funding provided 48.6% of television production budgets and 69.9% of digital media budgets in 2016-2017. CMF’s share of television production financing dropped slightly compared to the previous year (51.4%). Broadcasters provided 19.1% of television budgets. Higher budgets this year were supported by higher licence fees and financing by Private Funds and producer investment. Broadcasters contributed 20.7% of digital media component financing.