Watch: CMF’s senior leadership appears before the CRTC
Canada Media Fund (CMF) senior leaders appeared before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on Monday, November 20, 2023 as part of the Commission’s first public hearing to implement Canada's newly modernized Broadcasting Act, which will lead to the development of a new framework to support Canadian and Indigenous content.
Click the image below to watch the CMF session on CPAC. A transcript of the opening remarks from CMF President & CEO Valerie Creighton and EVP Nathalie Clermont is also available below.
CMF OPENING REMARKS
CRTC HEARING – NOVEMBER 20, 2023
[CMF PRESIDENT & CEO, VALERIE CREIGHTON]
- Good morning and bonjour Madam Chair, Vice-Chairs and Commissioners.
- I am Valerie Creighton, president and CEO at the Canada Media Fund. Allow me to introduce the team accompanying me today.
- Nathalie Clermont and Rod Butler from our Content Team
- Trent Locke and Richard Koo from our Finance and Research Team
- Mathieu Chantelois and Kyle O’Byrne from our Public Affairs Team; and
- Marcia Douglas from our Growth and Inclusion Team.
- We are extremely honored to appear before you at this critical hearing, as we believe the issues you have outlined for this proceeding are vital to the sustainability and continued success of Canada’s audiovisual industry.
- The magnitude and impact of your decisions offer a historic opportunity for change to the very fabric of content creation, broadcasting and distribution for the benefit of the Canadian public.
- Content is the CMF’s true ‘North Star’. Our passion is supporting Canada’s diverse storytellers for audiences in Canada and around the world.
- Your decisions will change how Canadians discover and tell more diverse stories that reflect our unique perspective, from coast to coast to coast, that shape who we are, enhance our reputation and take our identity to the world.
- This is history in the making offers an opportunity for all of us to build a promising future together.
- Online undertakings have fundamentally and permanently disrupted the way content is created, distributed and consumed by Canadians.
- As the Commission notes in paragraph 48 of the Notice of Consultation, the purpose of the CMF is "to ensure stable and significant funding of quality Canadian content". The disruption from online undertakings – and the corresponding decline in BDU contributions – has impacted this purpose.
- This proceeding is an opportunity to ensure that we can continue to invest in the Canadian industry in this dynamic environment.
- Paragraph 26 of the Notice states that, because online undertakings have such a significant impact on the Canadian broadcasting system, initial base contributions are “an important early step to ensure continued support for Canadian and Indigenous programming and creators.”
- The Commission is 100% correct in this. There is a pressing need for new financial resources as soon as possible: BDU contributions declined by 21% over the last seven years. This decline is expected to accelerate to between 6-8% annually over the next three years reflecting the real urgency for new resources into the system.
- The new Act offers all of us, legacy and new players, a tremendous opportunity to work together to grow the industry; to bring new resources to the system; and to increase the benefit for Canadian and Indigenous storytelling and audiences.
- The stakes are high and will require bold leadership, from the Commission, and from all participants in this process. We can either reinforce the status quo or use this disruption to form a new and sustainable contribution framework that leverages the success of Canadian and Indigenous storytellers to continue to create content that remains domestically relevant and globally competitive.
THE FOCUS OF THIS HEARING:
INITIAL BASE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ONLINE UNDERTAKINGS
- In recognition of the need for an urgent injection of funds to invest in content, we support the Commission’s intention to frame the discussion in this public hearing around the three immediate issues related to initial base contributions:
- Who Should Pay Initial Base Contributions?
- How Much?
- Which Funds Should be Recipients?
- The CMF’s positions on the first two issues are set out in our written submission.
- In line with the CRTC’s recent decision, we believe the new contribution framework should apply to regulated online undertakings with annual Canadian gross revenues of $10M or higher that must register with the CRTC.
- We suggest that an appropriate level of initial base contributions for all audiovisual online undertakings – Canadian and foreign-owned – would be a percentage of annual broadcasting revenues that is comparable to the existing contribution requirement from BDUs.
- Our comments today will focus on the third issue, where we feel we can best support the Commission in its efforts to determine how to most effectively allocate initial base contributions from online undertakings.
- The CMF believes that to ensure these contributions can be put to work for creators as soon as possible, simplicity and administrative efficiency in Step 1 are of primary importance.
- For this reason, with the exception of supporting a requirement for directed contributions to the Indigenous Screen Office, we believe initial base contributions devoted to programming should be allocated in the current 80:20 proportion.
- As stated in our written submissions, the CMF and Canadian Independent Production Fund (CIPF) regime has proven it can work in an effective and complementary manner to support the objectives of the Act.
- In support of our submission to apply the existing 80:20 allocation we would like to briefly highlight the CMF’s track record of EFFECTIVENESS, EFFICIENCY and EVOLUTION in response to new challenges and opportunities. Nathalie?
[CMF EVP, CONTENT STRATEGY & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, NATHALIE CLERMONT]
- The CMF is effective.
- Created by the Government of Canada and Canada’s BDUs, the CMF is the largest audiovisual funder in the country.
- In 2022-2023, $5.79 was generated in production activity for every $1.00 in CMF financing. This represents a total of $1.6B in television production activity that was generated across the country.
- While the CMF specifically has been the funding conduit for over 8000 projects since its inception in 2010, our predecessor organization supported Canadian content for decades prior.
- We leverage this collective institutional experience and expertise to ensure Canada’s content reaches innumerable countries and territories around the world, win countless awards, and generates billions of views.
- We support projects from coast to coast to coast that are watched everywhere from the big screen to the palm of your hand.
- Roughly one-third of our funding is devoted to supporting the French-market and we offer distinct programs and incentives for Indigenous, Black and racialized, 2SLGBTQ+, Ethnocultural, Persons with Disabilities, Official Language Minority Communities and Women in every region of Canada.
- Documentaries such as Going Native from Manitoba, Children’s and Youth Programming such as La Famille Magique from Gatineau and the Indigenous project from Nunavut, Kuluk, Variety and Performing Arts such as Tout simplement country from Nova Scotia, and Dramas and Comedies such as Heartland, Pour toi Flora, Diggstown, Pour toi Antoine and Sort Of from all across Canada.
- CMF-financed projects are owned by Canadians, made by Canadians, made forCanadians, and travel the world.
- The CMF is efficient.
- We provide more direct funding than any other agency to the widest range of content for a diverse spectrum of communities.
- Due to our size, funding volume and scale of operation, we distribute this funding efficiently.
- Our lean and agile operation ensures that a minimum of 94% of the CMF’s revenue is directed towards advancing Canadian stories and supporting the industry.
- While the CMF offers deep resources to fund a variety of content, we also strategically partner to tap into expertise, leverage funds, amplify opportunities and maximize value to the industry.
- We gather and publish data, and progressively engage with industry stakeholders both to signal change, and inform policies and programs.
- Funding decisions are guided by published eligibility criteria and transparent dispute resolution processes.
- Our direction and results are all publicly available and the CMF’s reporting has been recognized by the Commission as exemplifying “best practices”.
- We are a neutral and transparent funder that leverages its operational scale to benefit of Canadian storytellers.
[CMF PRESIDENT & CEO, VALERIE CREIGHTON]
- The CMF continues to evolve.
- The CMF recognizes that new tools are critical to respond to a growing, dynamic industry.
- We are currently working with Canadian Heritage to implement new flexibilities they have provided, that will allow the CMF to modernize its programs and better serve the industry.
- Consultation is in the CMF’s DNA. We have been meeting with industry and community organizations to communicate these new parameters and will integrate this feedback to progressively implement the beginning of a modernized program model, in April 2024. Stakeholder consultations will be the focus of our work through the coming year to fully implement changes for the 2025/2026 fiscal.
- This new model will provide creators with more ways to unlock and access CMF funds and create greater opportunities for high-quality content for audiences, at home and abroad. It is a continuation of how the CMF adapts to respond to the needs of the industry.
- In conclusion, we emphasize our strong support of the Commission’s goal of addressing the urgent need for new resources to support a dynamic Canadian broadcasting system.
- With experience, expertise and new tools at our disposal, the CMF is well-positioned to receive and distribute a share of initial base contributions.
- These contributions will flow through the CMF effectively and efficiently in service of an evolving audiovisual sector to the ultimate benefit of who we consider to be our shareholders, the Canadian public.
- Thank you for inviting us to appear before you in this historic and critical challenge you face. Bon courage and we look forward to your questions.