Wednesday, 29 August 2012

New Bell Funds Boost Digital Media, TV Production

New Bell Funds Boost Digital Media, TV Production


New funding programs in Canada are designed to take advantage of the boost that digital platforms can provide for TV productions.
Three special programs that will provide financial support the use of digital platforms in television program development, and to ensure that successful digital media projects can build on their achievements, have been launched by Bell.
The Bell Fund receives annual contributions of some $14 million from Bell TV as part of its broadcast distribution undertaking (BDU) contributions. In addition, the Development Program is supported by the interest generated from a $10 million endowment resulting from the BCE-CTV merger benefit package, and contributions from Aliant.
“Our goal is to keep the Bell Fund dynamic and to respond quickly to changing industry realities,” said Bell Fund Board chair Dr. Paul Hoffert. “These new funding programs represent the most substantial additions to the Bell Fund since the launch of our Development Fund in 2001,” he said.
The TV Development Digital Pilot Program will allow producers and broadcasters to test potential new television programming and proofs-of-concept on digital platforms. This new approach of piloting television programs online or on mobile platforms will make more testing opportunities feasible and will provide creative opportunities for extensive audience feedback and measurements, program developers describe, which will enhance the potential for successful Canadian television productions.
The Bell Fund will be rewarding and encouraging success with two additional funding programs. In recognition of the previous lack of support for successful digital media projects that evolve and need updating to grow their audiences, the new Performance Accelerator Program will provide funding to proven digital media projects that complement television programs. This will allow digital media producers to optimize their audiences, monetize their projects and take advantage of new exploitation opportunities nationally and internationally.
The Legacy Initiative is an extension of the Bell Fund’s Production Program in recognition of the library of successful Canadian television programs that were previously produced without complementary enhanced digital media content. “Evergreen” children’s series and documentary specials in particular, have a long television life and many licence renewals. For the first time, funding will be made available for such legacy programming in order to provide digital content for the fans of these successful programs.
“By providing funding for enduring hits we are rewarding rights holders and audiences –and everyone in between,” said Bell Fund Board communications chair Catherine Warren. “New digital content can help make a successful television brand more valuable, keep characters alive on new platforms, attract a new generation of viewers and satisfy the growing digital appetites of today’s fans.”
The Bell Fund provides grants to Canadian independent producers who develop and produce television content complemented and enhanced by excellent digital content designed for various platforms. It has invested over $115 M in the production of 1,000 cross-platform projects in the past 15 years.
The Bell Fund is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, governed by an independent Board of Directors representing various sectors of the television and new media industry. The Fund is administered by the Independent Production Fund.

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