Will Dixon has a good summary of the proposed changes to funding of Canadian media, starting with the proposed fusion of the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) with the fund for online/digital media. There’s also the proposal to “level the playing field” by removing the CBC’s “guaranteed envelope.”
Forgive me if I’m getting this explanation wrong, but as I understand it, when the CTF was created, it was decided that because of the importance of CBC programming to the country, CBC productions would be guaranteed a certain total percentage of the money from the fund. I think removal has been discussed before (it may actually have been removed at one point around 1999; I’m not sure), but now the idea is back.
The big announcement was made by the Heritage Minister speaking live from the set of Flashpoint. The Writers’ Guild press release notes some reservations about the plan, particularly “the loss of the CBC’s guaranteed envelope, a board structure that does not include creators or broadcasters, and talk of opening to more in-house production” but also expresses relief about “the fact that the Fund was not split, and that current criteria mandating Canadian writers and other talent remained.”
There’ll be more about this later; right now I’m having trouble separating the proposals from the rhetoric and figuring out where it all comes down. (Despite the talk of fusion and new media and leveling the playing field, the end result could be similar to what we had already, or it could be very different.)
Update: Here’s part of the CTF’s statement:
(Toronto, March 9, 2009) – The Canadian Television Fund (CTF) thanks the Government of Canada and The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, for their confidence in the sector, demonstrated through the Government’s two-year financial commitment in support of Canadian production. This financial commitment recognizes the important contribution of the production industry to Canada’s economy and of the thousands of Canadians employed in this sector.
Combining the CTF and the Canada New Media Fund enables the Canadian production industry to move forward effectively into the digital future.
The CTF looks forward to participating in a consultation process with the Government and industry to ensure a smooth transition to the new Canada Media Fund.
Update 2: DMc has more, and notes that this makes more sense than the CRTC’s idea to split the CTF into two vaguely separate funding streams.