While in Cannes two weeks ago to attend MIPCOM, I had a lovely visit with Valerie Creighton, the President and CEO of the Canada Media Fund (CMF). Besides her funding responsibilities, Creighton is a tireless advocate for Canadian content and she has the passion and vigor for the job. We sat in these horribly uncomfortable chairs slung in a so-called VIP section of the festival’s main convention centre. Creighton, however, is used to sitting astride quarter horses back at her ranch in Saskatchewan so the chairs did not slow her down one bit. We had a far-ranging talk about what works and what doesn’t in the Canadian TV industry.
Creighton knows better than anyone the sand is shifting beneath the feet of producers and broadcasters. Netflix and other OTT platforms are changing the rules. The CRTC seems poised to tilt the whole broadcast game into a brave new pick ‘n’ pay future.
“We built in Canada a system for 50 years that says, ‘Oh your making a piece of content, well come and get your money,'” says Creighton. The CMF will have to “best position to continue to have an impact on Canadian content.”
Creighton knows she has to support a domestic industry adapting to a world of change. “We have been a highly-regulated industry and that’s been very important to build the voice,” she told me. “I’m not suggesting we throw it all out. Im just suggesting it is a world business. We need a flexible, diversified approach that protects the great stuff we got, builds more talent, strengthens everything we do, and if we can learn something from Bulgaria and the US and the UK—great.”
One thing she is encouraged by is the booming Canadian production business in Vancouver, Toronto and places as remote as Sudbury, Ont. “We’ve got great talent and storytellers here,” she says. She’s encouraged, also, by cap corrections that are happening in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia in terms of provincial production incentives.
Read more about Creighton and the CMF’s efforts to promote Canadian TV at MIPCOM here at this article I wrote for The Canadian Press.