New Funding for Original Web Video – FanTrust: "Couldn't Come at a Better Time"

New Funding for Original Web Video – FanTrust: "Couldn't Come at a Better Time"

Creators of original web video now have a new source of funding. Canada’s Independent Production Fund (IPF) is launching a pilot program to fund drama series created for any platform. In recognition of the evolving broadcast environment, the IPF will provide equity financing not only to drama series with a television broadcast license, but also to scripted drama series that are designed and produced initially for online exploitation.

“After the media financing doldrums of 2009, this money and leap of faith towards digital audiences couldn’t come at a better time,” said FanTrust president Catherine Warren. FanTrust provides funding strategy and business development for companies interested in this opportunity and other multiplatform financing. “This is a boost for next-gen producers as well as traditional TV producers looking for ways to finance novel digital video formats. Our entertainment clients need funders willing to take new risks and help them serve new fans.”

The IPF is inviting proposals for online drama series at its application deadline of March 31, 2010. Regulations for applicants will be minimal in order to encourage maximum innovation and experimentation. Projects must be webcast on Canadian-owned websites as a “first window” to ensure more Canadian content for Canadian portals. Some of these projects may serve as pilots for traditional television drama, while others may develop their own dedicated online communities and audiences.

As the sources of financing for web video without a broadcast license are very limited, the IPF support is intended to stimulate the growth of new forms of content. This unique contribution to independent producers will help them to explore the potential for high quality, story driven drama with new and innovative narrative forms. “Our ultimate goal is innovation,” said IPF Executive Director Andra Sheffer. “We want to be there as part of the scene – not replace TV, just add to the mix.”

As a leading supporter of Canadian drama, the IPF will experiment in partnership with web content developers to determine how good story-telling translates to other platforms. “We will help develop best practices to take advantage of the opportunities that the digital platforms provide for new production styles, processes, formats and business models,” said Charles Ohayon, Chair of the Board of the IPF.

The Independent Production Fund was established in 1991 and has invested over $50M in 229 television drama series and over 300 professional development projects.

View the application guidelines

View the IPF news release