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 2015-2016, the CMF provided $314.9M in funding for the production of 541 convergent projects generating almost 3,000 hours of new content and triggering $1.3B in production activity. These totals include Aboriginal and Diverse Languages funded projects. Funding has risen by 1.2% compared to 2014-2015. Total 2015-2016 television funding at $286.1M showed a 0.2% increase from 2014-2015. Funding to digital media components rose by 12.0% to $28.8M. A total of 234 digital media projects were funded with budgets of $46.0M. The digital media average budget was at $196K. Total convergent budgets triggered were 8.5% higher than in 2014-2015, a five-year high. The funding budget ratio has jumped to 4.3 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 18.8% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $694K per hour. Average budgets and total funded budgets were at a 5-year high. Hours funded and CMF funding dropped to a 5-year low.
French children’s & youth received 18.5% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $149K per hour, $21K greater than 2014-2015. Total funded budgets were at a five-year high, while hours fell from 2014-2015.
Distributors and foreign financiers provided significant portions through advances and licence fees in 2015-2016 English projects, especially distributors at 10.0% of financing. Producer investment was at 5.0% in English television, higher than both years previous. Broadcasters provided substantial triggers for French projects.
English documentary received 23.9% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $339K per hour, a five-year high. Total funding, hours, and budgets were at a 5-year high in 2015-2016. Digital media funding in documentary was a close second to DM Drama at $6.6M. English digital media projects had an average budget of $193K per project.
French documentary received 23.2% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $143K per hour. Total funded budgets and hours funded hit a 5-year high.
Distributors contributed 3.6% of financing in 2015-2016 English television projects and 4.9% in digital media projects. Producer investment share is high at 4.4% in English television projects and 5.7% in digital media projects. Broadcasters are the major financiers of French television projects.
English drama received 54.9% of English funding. Average budgets were at $1,631 per hour, up from $1,543K per hour in 2014-2015. Hours funded were at a 5-year high. Digital media funding was the highest of all the genres at $7.1M. Average digital media budgets were at $460K per project, a five-year high.
French drama received 49.0% of French-language funding. Average television budgets increased to $469K per hour from last year’s $454K. Total hours and budgets were at a 5-year high in 2015-2016.
Distributors and foreign financiers together provided 22.0% of budgets in 2015-2016 English television projects. Broadcaster financing of English digital media projects was the highest of all genres. CMF contributed a two-thirds share of digital media financing. The Broadcasters’ portion was 19.6 share points more than CMF financing of French television projects.
Variety & Performing Arts
English variety & performing arts received 2.4% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $322 per hour, up from $253K per hour in 2014-2015. All other measures are showing a downturn in this genre.
French variety & performing arts received 9.3% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $221K per hour. Total funded budgets are at a five-year high and funded hours continue their recovery.
As is typical for this genre, broadcasters provide a large portion of project financing, especially in French television where the contribution nears 61%.
In 2015-2016, 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 dropped slightly from 2014-2015 (-2.7 points), because English funding fell while other languages rose or stayed stable. The share of the number of projects with DM components has also fallen. Despite this fall in share, funding to digital media components and the number of projects funded were at a 5-year high, at $28.8M in funding for 234 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.