That's one way of saying it. The other way is that Heritage Canada recognizes the need to foster the Canadian New Media sector into a growing sustainable part of the economy. Telefilm Canada (TFC) oversees the application submission and approval process for the Canadian New Media Fund (CNMF). If you are a producer that develops content for what is considered an “Eligible Platform”, you should contact TFC to see if you would further qualify.
Presenters Louie Ghiz and Slavica Ceperkovic say they receive a lot of requests every year but many get declined because the applicants fail to demonstrate the fiscal viability behind their proposals. For the 2006/2007 year, only 18% of the total applications were successful in acquiring funding. Contrast this to the 40% funding success rate found in Canadian television and film. The CNMF has yet to yield an ROI as well as have its projects penetrate the Canadian Market in a significant way. Not all $14.5M of the money assigned by Heritage Canada is up for grabs. Once expenses are deducted and leftovers are divvied up with the other regions of Canada, Ontario-based projects only see $2.7M. The other big runner up is British Columbia with a slightly lesser amount. The numbers mentioned are unofficial and unverified as they are wrapping up the fiscal for these years.
All negativity aside, both presenters encourage companies to apply for the fund. The process continues to improve its goal to be streamlined. The actual filling out of the CNMF application is rumored to be time consuming. What is new is that there is a pre-screening process and an Expression of Interest Form that will help defer the most time consuming phase of applying. This may sound like more obstacles but it’s actually designed to speed up funding to the projects that deserve it. Previously, processing the CNMF applications from large numbers of applicants proved to be an administrative burden. So if your project is great, provided all conditions are met, it will see funding much sooner that those who received it in previous years.
The other major benefit of CNMF funding is that it doesn't want your IP. Considering other types of business arrangements to finance your company, it’s highly advantageous for a cultural investor like CNMF to have no say in your company’s intellectual property. They just ask you pay re-pay anyone you owe first and then re-pay them back LAST within 3 years.
One of the big major tips for application success is to have a 3rd party investment in the form of partnerships or contracts. One of the examples mentioned if a Canadian company was developing games for the Nintendo Wii, one of the conditions would be that they need Nintendo to recognize the developing company through certification. If you were developing casual games for mobile platform, an example would be a deal with a carrier or aggregator. Having such deals will rank you a higher success rate in obtaining funding.
Some of the previous CNMF funded projects have been able to sustain themselves after funding. Marble Media Inc. and Xenophile Media Inc. have won a number of awards for their work in Canadian New Media as a result of the fund. Other big stories were N+ for Xbox which has been proven to be popular in the Xbox Live crowd.
N+ was a CNMF funded game that is on XBox, Flash, and Nintendo DS
In theory, a more stringent process will yield better results for stronger projects to make their way into the marketplace. Both presenters expressed that they would be more than happy to entertain applications if they can cogently demonstrate how their projects would be able to make money or break-even. Secondary, the proposals need to explain how the project can garner interest among Canadian users as well as those internationally. I hope by reading this, it will stir more questions about CMNF in which case I can redirect you to the place were all the answers are at: