Canadian content sees strong demand from Europe and US

First-of-its-kind research looks at Canadian film and television
export data and reveals key trends that can be used to boost global sales

Toronto, May 30, 2017 – The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has supported new research from the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) which reveals European demand for Canadian film and television content is roughly equal to demand from the United States. Two new studies, released today, analyze global sales data and key trends from the past decade, with the goal of identifying opportunities to increase foreign sales and ensure the competitiveness of Canadian content on the world stage.

A review of television export data from CMF-funded projects indicates that between 2006 - 2016, $155.3 million in international pre-sales of Canadian television originated from the US, while during the same period an almost equal number, $155.1 million, originated from Europe. Broken out by country, the UK topped the list at $90.4 million, followed by France ($25.1 million), Ireland ($22 million), Switzerland ($6.3 Million), Netherlands ($4.7 million) Germany ($4.4 million) and Austria ($2.1million). A separate analysis looked at Telefilm-funded Canadian films sold internationally. The research found that among the top 20 Canadian films sold globally between 2005 and 2013, 42 per cent ($74 million) sold in Europe, while 39 per cent ($58 million) sold in the US.

“The Canada Media Fund is pleased to partner with other organizations in the industry on this important research, which sheds light on the challenges and opportunities Canadian creators face when exporting content,” said Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, CMF. “In order to succeed in a global marketplace, Canadian creators must have the necessary tools to compete. This research is a first step in helping us identify where opportunities lie, in view of developing initiatives that support content exports such as promotion, additional funding and research.”

“Viewers around the world are discovering what Canadians have long known – our talented content creators produce some of the most compelling and entertaining stories told on screen today,” said Reynolds Mastin, President and CEO, CMPA. “Findings from these studies will help policymakers and producers work together to develop a comprehensive export strategy that will bolster the discoverability of Canadian programming abroad and maximize the potential for even greater export sales.”

Further analysis of the data identifies important market intelligence that can aid producers in packaging projects that so that they have strong international appeal. For example, English-language drama was demonstrated to be the most significant export genre for both film and television. Over the 10 years studied, a total of $167.5 million was generated from pre-sales of Canadian dramatic films, followed by $32.4 million for comedies and $31.8 million for science fiction features. On the television side, according to CMF data, dramas accounted for the lion share of international pre-sales with a total of $206.8 million, followed by $39.2 million for documentaries and $38 million for animation.

Both reports conclude with recommendations on how to grow exports of Canadian content. This includes the suggestion that Canada develop a concerted national export strategy supported by reliable market intelligence on international sales. Similar initiatives in the UK, France and Germany were cited as best-in-class models that Canada should look to in crafting its own export strategy. The studies also recommend increased investment at the development stage of a project, and the implementation of better incentives for international coproductions.

“Despite their quality and creativity, there are less international market opportunities for original French language productions. We must make sure that all Canadian productions can benefit from measures that will help them attract international partners and increase export sales,” said Hélène Messier, President and CEO, Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM).

“In today’s global market, Canadian content producers can seize opportunities beyond our borders like never before. The export of Canadian productions is critical to the long-term health and viability of the Canadian audiovisual industry and represents another way to diversify the financing sources available for the industry – a strategic priority for Telefilm Canada. Telefilm proudly continues to promote talent and encourage the export of Canadian productions, most notably through our presence at international markets, and the findings from this study will serve as a basis for the industry as it refines its export strategy,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director, Telefilm Canada.


The two studies, Exporting Canadian Feature Films in Global Markets and Exporting Canadian Television Globally, were authored by Communications MDR and commissioned by the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), in partnership with the Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM), the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Telefilm Canada.

About the Canada Media Fund
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) is the country’s leading member-based advocacy organization for independent producers, representing hundreds of companies engaged in the development and distribution of English-language content made for television, cinema and digital media channels. The CMPA works to promote the continued success of the Canadian production sector and ensure a future for diverse content made by Canadians for both domestic and international audiences.


For more information, please contact: 

Kyle O’Byrne
Canadian Media Producers Association
[email protected]

For media inquiries, please contact:

André Ferreira
Communications Manager
Canada Media Fund
[email protected]