A week or two ago we posted a link to a federal government questionnaire regarding digital content development in Canada. That kind of initiative is great, and shows that someone’s listening and interested in helping to grow our creative industry.
Now there’s this.
CAVCO (Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office) has been taking what I like to think are very positive steps to help out the web-series producers out there. They’re looking to include web series projects as eligible for Federal Tax Credits, which is huge. HUGE. Tax credits, whether you like em or not, are the spine that supports the bulk of our production industry in Canada. If we could get them extended beyond traditional broadcast, that would open up the door for financing models for web series. So, CAVCO needs your support and feedback for its proposal for federal tax credit eligibility for web series.
The deadline is tomorrow though (Wednesday, May 18), so I’m sending this out very last minute. Sorry.
How do you do this? Great question.
You send a letter of support to PCH.bcpac-cavco.PCH@canada.ca to the attention of the Director, CAVCO.
What that letter says can be very simple. Just say you support the initiative, and that it will be of great benefit to the financing and production of web series here in Canada. You can elaborate if you’d like, and provide additional feedback, the more detail you can provide them about what makes online series unique, the better. This is your chance – they want to know how this should work best for us as a production community.
For more information and context, the Public Notice is 2016-03 and can be found at: http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1455913866222
Lewis Belgum from Captain Anxiety here. Full support of webseries would help push Canada as a leading entertainment creator in the world. The future is online content. Get to where the world is going. College Humor and rooster teeth are examples of this.
Kind regards- Lewis Belgum
If you want something to work with:
I support CAVCO and its proposal for federal tax credit eligibility for web series.
Barriers to building an audience are coming down as more people are able to discover new content across the web and Canadians can make an impact in this arena, too. Our entertainment community certainly has the raw creativity to make great web series and federal tax credit eligibility would give us an opportunity to create work that will last long enough to establish a following.
Web series are also a great testing ground for concepts that aspire to make the transition to more established media as well. A project that a network or feature studio might consider too risky (because it’s so innovative that there is nothing on the market to compare it to yet) becomes a much better investment when it can show that there is already interest in it.
Tax credit eligibility would also allow for projects that go beyond solo endeavours that take longer to produce and have a limit to their complexity in order to release frequently enough to qualify as a “series”. Eligibility would allow for more collaboration, which is not only a boon to creative projects, but would also engage more of the entertainment community.
Rooster Teeth and College Humor don’t have the rely on the tax payers for their productions though. Online content is cheaper to produce, and I’d like to think it’s one piece of media that can exist without government aide. The future might be online content, but it’s online content that can organically attract a paying audience, not need subsidies from taxpayers who don’t watch it.
Late to this, but thought it worth leaving a clarifying comment. The CAVCO proposal includes (among other things) a proposal to expand eligibility to include digital/online audio-visual content. That’s great. HOWEVER, the credits would still require a Canadian broadcast or distribution partner, which (in my view) would severely limit the utility of the credits for online video producers (many of who distribute directly on online platforms). So while it’s definitely a step in the right direction, it isn’t exactly a game changer in my view.