FAQs – Production Program



 

Is a stand-alone website or mobile app or web series (without a television program) eligible for funding?

No. The Bell Fund’s specific mandate is to encourage the convergence of traditional broadcasting and digital media production. Therefore all projects MUST have 2 separate components: a television program licensed by a Canadian broadcaster as well as an associated digital media project.

What is your definition of “digital media”? Are games eligible?

The Bell Fund supports digital media projects where the content is useable and/or downloadable to: personal computer (via Internet), and/or ITV, and/or mobile phones, tablets and/or other handheld devices.  Games that run on those platforms are eligible.  Physical games for consoles or arcade (ie. Wii, PlayStation, xbox), and Blu-ray/DVD-only content are not eligible for funding.  Digital Media projects that have received funding in the past have included websites, mobile apps, social media extensions, interactive e-books, games (casual, serious, ARG etc.), web docs, webisodes/mobisodes, digital scavenger hunts etc.

Are different companies required to produce the television and digital media projects?

Both components may be produced by the same production company, by two different production companies, or as co-productions. If ownership/rights are shared, it is considered a co-production and both companies are the producers.

Is my project eligible if I have already started principal photography on the television series?

The digital media component is eligible for funding.  However, the television component will not be eligible for any licence fee “top-up” if principal photography has commenced by the time of application. Bear in mind that the expectation of the Bell Fund is that the Digital Media project will launch at the same time or prior to the first broadcast of the first episode of the TV project.

Can I apply for development and production at the same time?

No.  A project must be fully developed in order to make a proper production application to the Bell Fund.  The purpose of the development fund is to help prepare a project for a production application.  Therefore, the applications must be made at separate deadlines.

What does the average digital media project cost?

There really is no “average” digital media project. In the Production program, the Bell Fund will fund up to 75% of the costs of production, plus a bonus to a maximum of $100,000 to match any broadcaster(s) cash contribution to the digital media project.  The projects funded recently have been budgeted between $100,000 and $1,000,000, with an “average” budget at $300,000-$400,000.

How do I fund the other 25% of the digital media budget?

Typical funding scenarios to date include the Bell Fund and other funding sources such as CMF, broadcasters, Le Fonds Videotron, some provincial agencies, private funds, provincial tax credits, producer investments, producer deferrals, distribution advances, corporate sponsors and advertising. In the production program, there is a minimum of 10% third party cash contribution required.

What qualifies as the minimum 10% third party cash contribution?

A third party is a company or individual that does not have any ownership of the project. This can include the broadcaster licence fee (not in-kind as this must be cash), other funds (such as CMF, Shaw Rocket Fund etc.), sponsors, interactive tax credits or other sources. This must be confirmed prior to any execution of Bell Fund financing agreements.

How are projects evaluated?

The Bell Fund contracts digital media industry experts to evaluate each of the applications based on a list of criteria. The evaluators then discuss the projects together, prioritize them, and make recommendations to the Board of Directors. The Board makes all final decisions.

The evaluation grid is available for review on our website under “Application Toolkit” in the “Useful Tools” section.

When will I know if I am to receive funding?

All funding decisions are announced 6-8 weeks following the deadline.

What happens after my project is accepted?

You will receive a commitment letter that details the offer of funding, any conditions and any required documentation and budget clarifications. You will have 90 days to provide this information. Once the fund receives this documentation, a draft agreement will be issued for review. Once approved, Bell Fund will issue execution copies to be circulated for signature.

What are the drawdowns?

Digital Media Project
Television Project


75% on Execution of the Agreement
15% on approval of the Beta (and other required deliverables as per Agreement)
10% on delivery and acceptance of required final deliverables

50% on Execution of the Agreement
30% upon completion of principal photography and delivery and acceptance of required deliverables
20% on delivery and acceptance of required final deliverables


What do I do if my project is rejected? Can I apply again if my project has been rejected?

For projects that are rejected, the Bell Fund provides feedback. You may re-apply provided that the feedback is adequately addressed. In some case this may require significant changes to the project. It is preferred that a cover letter detailing the changes to the project/application is included with any re-submission. Applications that are not successful may only reapply one (1) additional time per project.

This television series has been supported before by the Bell Fund. Can I apply for subsequent seasons? Do I have to do anything different with the application?

Yes, television projects are eligible for funding in subsequent seasons of production.  The application, evaluation process, and financial participation are the same as a first season application.  It is expected that the digital media project for the new season will build on what has been successful for the property in the past.

Can you recommend good digital media production companies?

Have a look at the projects we have funded (“Funded Projects”) and at our annual reports to see which companies have received funding and which sites you like.