CFTPA suggests Telefilm fund changes  On July 7, the Canadian Film and Television Production Association responded to Telefilm Canada’s proposals for changing the Canada New Media Fund in line with recommendations made by David Ellis of Omnia Communications Inc. Following is a version of the CFTPA’s letter response, edited for space: While the projects supported by the Canada New Media Fund to date have met with success, the fund is greatly over-subscribed. In order to ensure that the Canadian public has the option of accessing Canadian content on a variety of platforms, it is essential that there be support for the creation of high-quality content that they will want to access. The CFTPA feels that in order to ensure the continued development of this industry the fund should be increased to $50 million annually. CFTPA would be supportive of any efforts made by Telefilm to renew and secure increased funding for this program. Building Audiences In general CFTPA supports Telefilm’s shift in focus toward audience. Successful connection with an audience encourages commercial success for producers and upholds Telefilm’s responsibility to serve the Canadian public. More discussion of the benchmarks to be used for measuring audiences will be required, however, to ensure fairness when comparing different types of projects and to determine how to ensure that many different audiences can be reached by projects supported by the fund. We welcome further discussion on this issue. Short Term Priorities Project platform CFTPA believes that the Canada New Media Fund should not be limited to any one form of new media distribution. It is important to evaluate the benefit of reaching different audiences and to value the experience that users have with various types of content. In evaluating audience per dollar it is important to recognize the different new media experiences and to not give preference to any one style of interactive project or type of audience experience. Requiring market attachments to "trigger" eligibility Partnerships and arrangements with portals, aggregators, and large branded online presences such as broadcasters, distributors or retailers are essential to reaching audiences and creating successful business models, therefore we support in principal the elements of the evaluation grid that recognise and encourage these sorts of relationships. Long Term Priorities Improving predictability of financing by supporting more quality projects & reduction of application levels. The independent production community recognizes the effort required by the team at Telefilm to review the long and detailed applications to the fund. CFTPA is committed to working with Telefilm to find a solution that reduces the workload for Telefilm analysts by encouraging stronger applications that can be efficiently processed. In doing so, however, it is important to remember that application criteria that are excessively defined and restrictive may stifle innovation and prevent improved connection to audiences. Reduce producer and corporate overhead risk to levels commensurate with other cultural sectors This can be accomplished by weighting the grid to favour projects that are fully financed or that have lower producer investments. This will also reduce application numbers, as a significant hurdle will be in place. Those projects that are supported will have the greatest chance of benefiting the production company over the long term. Raising per project percentages & caps CFTPA supports the notion of flexibility for Telefilm in how it participates in project financing. However, through the evaluation grid Telefilm should encourage producers to access any other available sources of funding such as sponsorship, licence fees, in-kind, tax credits etc., so that Telefilm’s investment leverages more funding and a greater audience. Identify Marketing Agent Branding the national industry as a whole may not provide much benefit as new media spans such a wide range of products and thematic content. It is not clear what a third-party agent would do that producers can’t already do through partnerships with various kinds of distributors, portals and retailers. Competitive production & marketing budgets The dot com meltdown shows us that size does not guarantee success. Strategic thinking and partnerships do. While CFTPA supports raising the cap for total investment and the total possible level of participation up to 80%, we still feel that smaller projects that demonstrate a high audience per dollar investment potential should not be overlooked. When selling certain types of product (i.e. interactive components to TV shows) the market is small and the licences are somewhat fixed regardless of total budget. Larger budgets may not necessarily mean access to a greater audience or a better chance for companies to realize revenue from their projects. Smaller projects are often more easily financed and realized in a quicker time frame. Therefore, a diversity of projects should be evaluated on the merit of the application with no preference given to budget or financial request. Better coordination with other funds such as Telus and Bell New Media Fund As Telefilm is not fully financing projects, it is important that there is a certain amount of understanding and co-operation with the other funds that support the industry. While the mandate and form of investment may be different, in the event that projects can qualify for other funds a concerted effort to work with and understand the other funds is crucial.