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. Digital media components must comprise 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 2017-2018, the CMF provided $284.6M in funding for the production of 497 convergent projects generating 2,700 hours of new content and triggering $1.3B in production activity. These totals include Aboriginal and Diverse Languages funded projects. Funding has declined by 7.0% compared to 2016-2017, however total production activity has remained stable. Total 2017-2018 television funding at $260.0M showed a 6.5% decrease from 2016-2017. The overall funding to budget ratio has jumped to 4.6 to 1.0, another five-year high and a sign of the greater leverage effect of CMF funding.
Funding to Rich and Substantial digital media components fell by a significant 11.9% to $24.6M. A total of 166 rich and substantial digital media projects (down from 195 in 2016-2017) were funded with budgets of $38.0M. The digital media average budget was at $229K per project, which declined from $258K in 2016-2017. An additional 50 low-budget digital media components were funded in 2017-2018. The declines in rich and substantial digital media production can be traced to the introduction of additional flexibility in types of content funded, plus an overall decline in television-related digital media content. The digital media financial structures seen below were financed completely by broadcasters, CMF, government sources, and private funds.
Children’s & Youth
English Children’s & Youth received 12.5% of English-language funding, an increase from last year’s 11.8%. Average television budgets were at $526K per hour. Average budgets fell by $160K per hour from 2016-2017. In total funded budgets and CMF funding, there were slight increases from the previous year’s 5-year low, however the increase in funded hours depress the average budget.
French Children’s & Youth received 19.2% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $181K per hour, $25K greater than 2016-2017. Total funded budgets were at a five-year high and hours funded dropped from 2016-2017, causing the increase in average budget.
Distributors and foreign financiers provided significant portions through advances and licence fees in 2017-2018 for English Children’s & Youth projects, especially foreign financiers at 11.0% of financing. Broadcasters provided substantial triggers for French projects. Unusually, there is a French project with substantial foreign broadcaster licences.
English Documentary received 24.2% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $359K per hour, higher than 2010-2011 to 2015-2016. Total budgets were at a 5-year low in 2017-2018.
French Documentary received 17.2% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $139K per hour. Total funded budgets and hours funded hit a 5-year low.
Distributors contributed 5.8% of financing in 2017-2018 English Documentary television projects. Broadcasters are the major financiers of French television projects.
English Drama received 59.1% of English funding. Average television budgets were at an all-time high of $1,991K per hour, up from $1,769K per hour in 2016-2017. Budgets funded were at a 5-year high. Digital media funding was the highest of all genres at $8.5M. Average digital media budgets were at $509K per project.
French drama received 55.2% of French-language funding. Average television budgets rose to $455K per hour from last year’s $434K. Total hours and budgets rose from 2016-2017.
Distributors and foreign financiers together provided 20.8% of budgets in 2017-2018 English Drama television projects. CMF and broadcasters provided 91.8% of English digital media financing. Broadcasters financed 44.3% of French television projects.
Variety & Performing Arts
English Variety & Performing Arts received 4.2% of English-language funding. Average television budgets were at $241K per hour. Hours funded have risen to a 5-year high.
French Variety & Performing Arts received 8.4% of French-language funding. Average television budgets were at $255 per hour, up from $239K per hour last year. Total funded budgets 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 is at 60.7%. English-language digital media financing is not shown, as only two projects were funded in 2017-2018.
In 2017-2018, 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 risen from 2016-2017 (+1.3 percentage points), because English and French funding rose from last year, especially English-language funding. In the measure of the number of projects, the share of projects with DM components has stayed at close to 50% for all languages combined all of the past five years. The difference in shares between funding and the number of projects shows that a small number of bigger-budget projects have accompanying DM components.