Furious Seas: Experience pirate ship battles on the high seas in VR.

Experimental Stream

The Experimental Stream has three 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 development, 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 matrix. Projects at the production stage are assessed by a jury of Canadian and international industry experts. Their biographies can be found on the Canada Media Fund (CMF) web site. Projects at the development and marketing stages are assessed internally.

A total of $40.0M was allocated to the Experimental Stream’s main activities, which went to 103 projects. The number of projects funded rose again from 96 in 2016-2017 to 103 in 2017-2018. Total budgets supported fell slightly to $72.1M, $3.3M less than in 2016-2017. Successful projects came from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, Ontario, and Québec. Development received a 17.7% share of Experimental Stream funding in 2017-2018. Marketing applications received an 8.5% share of funding.

Production Activity by Program 2017-2018

Program # of projects CMF $M Budgets $M Average Budget $K
Innovation Program 32 21.5 37.1 1,160
Commercial Projects Pilot Program 9 4.5 12.9 1,432
Web Series Pilot Program 16 3.5 7.6 474
Total 57 29.5 57.6 1,011

Average production budgets for the C3P and the Innovation Program were at $1.4M and $1.2M respectively. The average budget for C3P rose from $1.2M and the average budget for Innovation fell from $1.3M in 2016-2017.Funded Web Series had an average budget of $474K, an increase of $46K from 2016-2017.

* Excludes international incentives

Production received 73.8% of funding in 2017-2018, with each project receiving an average of $0.5M in CMF investment, a decrease from $0.6M in 2016-2017. CMF funding to production projects ranged from $59K (for a Web Series application) to $1.2M (for a C3P application). Total budgets triggered by production funding fell from 2016-2017, due to the increased funding to Web Series, Development, and Marketing and smaller budgets in the Innovation Program.

The largest portion of production support in 2017-2018, at 60.4%, went toward games that were created for various platforms. 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. Funding to Software projects has declined significantly. The C3P was shared by games at 61.4% and rich interactive media at 38.6%.

There were 389 applications to the Experimental Stream in 2017-2018, and 26.5% were supported. Due to the small number of C3P projects and the unique production model of Web Series, the financial analyses are shown with Innovation and C3P production combined and the Web Series analysis separate.

* includes $3.2M of development advances converted to 2017-2018 production financing

In the Innovation program, the CMF provided the majority of financing (65.8%), at a higher level compared to last year (61.1%). The higher share may be linked to lower budgets in this program. The C3P had a maximum contribution of 50% of eligible costs and the average share of financial support was 37.2%, very low in contrast to Innovation or Web Series. The CMF allowed 16 applications to convert development advances to production investments in 2017-2018. This has added an additional $3.2M to the 2017-2018 CMF commitments, resulting in a 58.4% share of financial support in the Innovation and C3P programs combined. Producer investment at 31.0% was the secondary source of financing, higher than previous years of the Experimental stream. Other financing includes government sources, private investors, foreign financiers, and other entities providing services, totaling 10.6% of production budgets. 

In Web Series, 46.7% of financing came from the CMF. Distributors, including broadcasters (for their affiliated websites) provided a substantial 19.5% of financing. Government sources, foreign and Canadian private sources provided the remainder of financing.

Accelerator Partnership Pilot Program - List of Accelerators

  # of projects Location
Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) - London 1 United Kingdom
Centre d'entreprises en innovation de Montréal (CEIM) 4 Quebec
CFC - IdeaBOOST 1 Ontario
Communitech (Waterloo region) 1 Ontario
Execution Labs 1 Quebec
George Brown Digital Media & Gaming Incubator 1 Ontario
Inno-Centre 2 Quebec
New Media Manitoba 1 Manitoba
RC4-Ryerson Centre for Cloud & Context-aware Computing 1 Ontario
Ryerson Futures 1 Ontario
YEDi-York Entrepreneurshop Development Institute 1 Ontario
Total 15  

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 $450K to 15 projects. Eleven accelerator partners, from Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, and the United Kingdom, signed agreements to work with producers.

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