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 or video-on-demand 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. DM components are interactive or linear content related to a project’s TV component but created specifically to be consumed on digital platforms. They can also be discoverability tools or applications which use digital and social media aimed at locating, leveraging or building audiences, or that provide a synchronized experience during the broadcast of the TV component. 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 2018-2019, the CMF provided $285.3M in funding for the production of 493 convergent projects generating 2,595 hours of new content and triggering $1.3B in production activity. These totals include Aboriginal and Diverse Languages funded projects. Funding has increased slightly by 0.2% compared to 2017-2018, however total production activity has remained stable. Total 2018-2019 television funding at $261.8M represented 91.7% of Convergent Stream commitments. The overall funding to budget ratio has remained at 4.6 to 1.0, a five-year high and a sign of the powerful leverage effect of CMF convergent funding.
Funding to Rich and Substantial digital media components declined again in 2018-2019 to $23.5M from $24.6 last year. A total of 176 rich and substantial digital media projects (up from 166 in 2017-2018) were funded with budgets of $35.4M. The digital media average budget was $201K per project. An additional 57 low-budget digital media components were funded in 2018-2019. An overall decline in budgets of television-related digital media content has occurred in the past two years. The digital media financial structures seen below were financed completely by broadcasters, CMF, government sources, producers, and private funds.
Children’s & Youth
English Children’s & Youth productions received 10.6% of English-language funding, a five-year low. Average television budgets were at $682K per hour, $156K greater than in 2017-2018. Total funded budgets and hours produced represented five-year lows.
French Children’s & Youth received 18.1% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $177K per hour, slightly more than 2017-2018. Funding, total funded budgets, and hours funded were all at a five-year low.
Canadian and foreign distributors and foreign broadcasters provided significant financing in 2018-2019 for English Children’s & Youth projects, especially foreign financiers at 11.3%. In contrast to other genres, provincial sources (including tax credits) provided the greatest share of financing for English projects. Broadcasters provided substantial triggers for French projects.
English Documentary received 25.4% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $388K per hour, a five-year high. Total budgets recovered from last year. Hours produced have stayed stable.
French Documentary received 19.8% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $135K per hour. Total funded budgets and hours funded rose compared to last year but do not reach amounts seen in previous years.
Distributors and foreign sources combined contributed 5.4% of financing in 2018-2019 English Documentary television projects. Producer investment is higher in English Documentary than in other genres. Broadcasters are the major financiers of French television projects.
English Drama received 60.0% of English funding. Average television budgets were at an all-time high of $2.0M per hour, partially due to a five-year low in hours produced. Budgets funded dropped slightly from the last two years (-$9.6M from 2017-2018). The amount of CMF funding has remained stable.
French drama received 55.3% of French-language funding. Average television budgets rose to $475K per hour, a five-year high. Total hours and budgets are also at five-year highs.
Distributors and foreign financiers together provided 22.2% of budgets in 2018-2019 English Drama television projects, higher than all other genres. Broadcasters financed 43.9% of French Drama television projects. Producers invested 3.4% into financing French Drama projects.
Variety & Performing Arts
English Variety & Performing Arts received 4.0% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $594K per hour, a five-year high. The hours funded have dropped significantly, compared to a rise in total budgets over last year.
French Variety & Performing Arts received 6.7% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $221K per hour, down from last year’s $255K per hour. Total funded budgets and hours show slight declines, following the reduced amount of CMF funding.
As is typical for this genre, broadcasters provide a large portion of project financing, especially in French television where the contribution is at 60.5%, while the CMF share of French financing is low at 8.0%. Music associations (shown as Other) contributed substantially to two English award shows in 2018-2019. English-language digital media financing is not shown, as only one project was funded in 2018-2019.