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Experimental Stream

The Experimental Stream has 3 core programs:

  1. The Innovation Program, designed to support Canadian interactive digital media content and software applications that are innovative and leading-edge. Projects are supported at the prototyping, production and marketing stages.
  2. The Commercial Projects Pilot Program (“C3P”), designed to support the production of Canadian digital content and software applications which have an increased focus on potential commercial success. Projects are supported at the production stage.
  3. The Web Series Program, designed to support original, linear series in their second (or subsequent) season, created initially for the web, in the designated CMF genres of Drama, Children’s and Youth, or Documentary programming. Projects are supported at the production stage.

Experimental projects can also be supported through the Accelerator Partnership Program ("A2P") and international codevelopment and coproduction incentives.

Funding in all Experimental Stream programs is allocated according to a selective process using an evaluation grid. Projects at the production stage are assessed by a jury of Canadian and international industry experts. Their biographical notes can be found on the Canada Media Fund (CMF) website. Projects at the prototyping and marketing stages are assessed internally.

$42.0M was allocated to the Experimental Stream’s main activities, which went to 116 projects. The number of projects funded reached a five-year high in 2018-2019. Total budgets supported rose to $77.1M, $5.0M more than 2017-2018. Successful projects came from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec, and Saskatchewan. Production received 71.1% of funding and Prototyping received a 17.8% share of Experimental Stream funding in 2018-2019. Marketing applications received an 11.1% share of funding.


Production Activity by Program 2018-2019

Program # of projects CMF $M Budgets $M Average Budget $K
Innovation Program 28 19.3 34.7 1,240
Commercial Projects Pilot Program 9 6.6 13.4 1,483
Web Series Pilot Program 18 3.9 12.2 679
Total 55 29.8 60.3 1,096

Average production budgets for the C3P and the Innovation Program were at $1.5M and $1.2M respectively. Average budgets for these programs have changed little from 2017-2018. Funded Web Series had an average per-project budget of $679K, an increase of $205K from 2017-2018, showing a genuine leap in production values for Web Series. Two Web Series budgets were over $1M.

* Excludes international incentives

Production projects received an average of $543K in CMF investment in 2018-2019 or 49.5% of the production budget, an increase from $519K in 2017-2018. CMF funding to production projects ranged from $75K (for a low-budget Innovation game project) to $1.2M (the maximum for a C3P application). Total budgets triggered by production funding rose from $57.6M 2017-2018 to $60.3M, due to the increased funding and larger Web Series budgets. The number of projects funded has remained stable over the past three years.

The portion of production support that went to games created for various platforms has risen to 65.4% in 2018-2019 (from 60.4% in 2017-2018). Rich interactive media received the next largest share of production funding.  Rich interactive media refers to content that requires the viewer’s interaction, as the viewer navigates through the numerous options that were made available in order to reach the previous year. Web Series received 13.0% of support. Funding to Software projects has declined significantly. The C3P was shared by games at 76.0% and rich interactive media at 24.0%.

There were 363 applications to the Experimental Stream in 2018-2019, and 32.0% were supported, a 5.5 percentage point increase from 2017-2018.

* includes $4.1M of prototyping advances converted to 2018-2019 production financing
* includes $0.2M of prototyping advances converted to 2018-2019 production financing

In the Innovation program, the CMF provided the majority of financing at a higher level compared to last year (65.8%). The high share of CMF financing may be linked to lack of third-party financing in this program. The C3P had a maximum contribution of 50% of eligible costs and the average share of financial support was just over the maximum (due to the addition of prototyping funding). The CMF allows applications to convert prototyping advances to production investments. Producer investment at over 20% was the secondary source of financing for Innovation and C3P projects, lower than previous years of the Experimental stream. C3P projects used a significant amount of provincial tax credits for financing. Other financing includes government sources, private investors, distributors, and other entities providing services. 

In Web Series, 31.8% of financing came from the CMF, compared to 46.7% in 2017-2018. Distributors, including broadcasters (for their affiliated websites) matched CMF with a 31.8% of financing. Government sources, private funds, and producers provided the remainder of financing.

Accelerator Partnership Pilot Program - List of Accelerators

  # of projects Location
Centre d'entreprises en innovation de Montréal (CEIM) 4 Quebec
CFC - IdeaBOOST 3 Ontario
Communitech (Waterloo region) 2 Ontario
Execution Labs 1 Quebec
George Brown Digital Media & Gaming Incubator 1 Ontario
Inno-Centre 1 Quebec
LaunchPadPEI 1 PEI
Québec International (Propulsion) 1 Quebec
SheEO 1 Ontario
1 Quebec
Total 16  

The Accelerator Partnership Pilot Program targeted producers of digital media projects funded through the Experimental Stream, to provide better access to mentorship, market intelligence and capital. The Accelerator program committed $480K to 16 projects. Ten accelerator partners, from Ontario, Québec, and PEI, signed agreements to work with producers.

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