Telefilm Canada  has revealed details regarding the course it intends to follow over the next few years, as set out in its strategic plan for 2015 to 2018. This morning in Ottawa, the Chair of Telefilm’s Board, Michel Roy, unveiled Telefilm’s strategic plan during a speech he delivered at Prime Time in Ottawa , an event organized by the Canadian Media Production Association . The plan, titled Inspired by Talent. Viewed Everywhere.  (PDF), updates Telefilm’s commitment to support the industry so it can connect with target viewers on all screens, in Canada and elsewhere. The plan also defines how Telefilm aims to help the industry take on the challenges of the digital age at a time when fundamental changes are transforming the way audiovisual content is produced, distributed and consumed.
The market’s strong appetite for content, the proliferation of platforms, the presence of major new players, the fact that consumers are increasingly choosing to watch movies at home, and the introduction of new funding and marketing mechanisms, among other things, present challenges for the industry and for Telefilm—while also creating many new opportunities to better promote Canadian talent.
“At its core, Telefilm continues to be an engaged funder, an agency dedicated to the promotion of Canadian cinematic culture,” says Michel Roy. “The work we’ve done over the last four years, guided by our previous plan, Fostering Cultural Success, encourages us to stay the course in order to promote the excellence of and facilitate access to Canadian content. However, we need to intensify our creative approaches in light of the rapidly evolving environment we face. This is a precondition for ensuring that Canadian productions will better connect with their viewers—at home and abroad—on platforms that their viewers choose.”
Carolle Brabant, Telefilm’s Executive Director, adds: “Three years ago, we began to redesign our funding programs to make them more effective and more efficient. As a result, our core business is today more solid than ever; we can now focus even more on innovation. The future isn’t out there somewhere, waiting around. Any organization looking ahead as it plans has to simultaneously incorporate lessons learned with a view to preparing for what lies ahead. For Telefilm, this means acknowledging that creators and viewers are already living in this future.”
Telefilm’s strategic plan sets out six priorities:
- Promoting the excellence of Canadian content – Conduct effective promotion of the industry and its successes directly to consumers. It’s worth mentioning, in this regard, Birks and Telefilm’s annual tribute to the 10 women of the year in film , an event that generates major buzz at the Toronto International Film Festival . Moreover, the Canada Stars in Awards Season  event in Los Angeles, which celebrated our Oscar and Canadian Screen Awards nominees in 2015 in partnership with the Academy of Canadian Film & Television , the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles and ETALK, was a hit for a second year running.
- Fostering innovative marketing practices – Connect with a larger number of viewers. To this end, we encourage all those involved in the industry to find new ways of getting viewers to be more engaged with home-grown stories, by, for example, trying out new marketing strategies adapted to viewers’ new expectations. Corner Gas: The Movie, which was launched on several platforms during a three-week period last December, drew nearly 60,000 moviegoers  (PDF) in theatres and more than seven million viewers on TV as well as generated more than 130,000 video starts—all driven by a large and loyal fan base.
- Market intelligence: making decisions supported by meaningful metrics – Conduct value-added research and survey activities, as well as communicate results to help the industry make informed decisions. In the summer of 2014, notably, Telefilm Canada, SODEC  and the Canada Media Fund  commissioned a study  on the various ways Canadians choose to view audiovisual content.
- Industry funding: diversifying sources of funding – Attract new funding partners and examine new long-term funding mechanisms. In support of this priority, the Talent Fund  has raised more than $14 million in private contributions—an additional source of funding that is already being invested in production and promotion.
- Ecosystem of companies: delivering together – Offer production companies having achieved an outstanding level of performance access to a fast-track funding stream, in recognition of their success. This approach provides for greater autonomy and accountability for Telefilm’s clients while also giving them better predictability for project funding. Also worth noting is that projects selected for funding during the first two years of the Micro-Budget Production Program , which supports debut feature films leveraging digital platforms, were enthusiastically received, winning awards at festivals and receiving nominations at the recent Canadian Screen Awards .
- Organizational excellence: performing in a changing environment – Maintain optimal levels of effectiveness and efficiency. As client surveys revealed, the level of satisfaction with regard to Telefilm’s programs and their implementation has improved, with more than 80% of clients expressing their satisfaction. The organization will continue to maintain its low administrative expenses, not exceeding 6%. Finally, Telefilm will continue its excellent relationship with the Canada Media Fund and with the audiovisual industry as a whole.