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$200M for more supply? What the Canadian screen sector needs is demand.

The recent announcement by Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge, framing the new $200 million contribution from foreign streamers to the Canadian screen sector, marks a significant milestone for our industry. However, as we celebrate this progress, let's recognize that funding more content and bucketing it to "enable discoverability" are not sufficient for truly modernizing and creating long term sustainability for the production sector. Not when audience attention continues to fragment across platforms and a virtually endless supply of content options.

To truly thrive, we must invest in building and measuring audiences beyond conventional systems and metrics. This means embracing new technologies, yes including AI, alternate platforms, business models, and methods that enable us to better understand and engage audiences. It's messy work. It takes time. It takes research and imagination. Above all, it takes commitment and resources.

I am biased. For the past 14 years, I have thrown money, passion, blood, sweat, and tears at a business dedicated to building audience development tools and skills training. A few courageous industry leaders have shared and supported the vision but sustaining momentum and carving out meaningful resources have been difficult as vitally important matters around EDI, sustainability, C-11, and the pandemic have necessarily been prioritized.

Ensuring a portion of these new funds is allocated toward innovative audience development strategies, skills development, tools, and meaningful marketing budgets will help our producers and platforms stay relevant and our businesses stay viable. A concerted and unified national initiative to equip industry with the expertise and resources to build large and engaged audiences around original content would deliver significant advantage and enable Canada to lead in the global media landscape. 

It is pointless to continue the sole focus on content supply. Content that doesn't get seen may as well not get made. We must shift attention to driving demand. At the end of the day, we all serve at the pleasure of the audience. 


For more information about the $200M in anticipated revenue from foreign streamer contributions:


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