How to Finance a Digital Media Project?

  • By Pauline Pacosi
    • 10-11-2022
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Interactive Digital Media Grant Canada

Thinking of developing a digital media project but don’t know how to finance it? Here’s what you can do:

Ontario’s digital actors may choose between various programs for financial assistance to support their development and business project launching. Ontario Creates offers five different programs to stimulate digital media projects and cultural companies’ growth:

  • Concept Definition and Production
  • Global Market Development
  • Discoverability and Commercialization (formerly Marketing Support)
  • Industry Development.

In this article we help you navigate through the different programs available to enable you to finance a digital media project and provide you the best chances of success to your project.

Every stream’s goal is to support digital media content creation and development that promotes Ontario’s economy and expansion through funding. From these shared objectives, each program has specific requirements and purposes that address different stages in a project development and in the companies’ life.

Concept Definition and Production

This program is structured around two categories, themselves divided into two sub-categories. Thus, there are four different ways to apply to this grant.

  • The concept definition funding covers early-stage activities. Basically, what is required to be ready for production (prototype, pre-production costs, material renting or buying, business plan…).
  • The production definition covers costs for a product to be released to the market on whatever platform (labor, equipment, IP, administrative costs, distribution, and production costs).

Both categories are divided between Interactive Content and Video Content.

  • The video content address digital-first content to be accessed in a linear way such as web series, video content for online magazines or XR experiences.
  • Interactive content requires an active participation of input from the user, as in video games, mobile content apps or e-learning.

Two types of companies can apply to these programs:

  • Established companies with more than a year of operation or a product already released
  • New companies not incorporated yet or just recently.

An established company must meet one of the three affirmations and all additional points:

  • Either 25% of the revenue or 50% of expenditures from the creation of screen-based content
  • 50% of company revenue comes from publishing activities
  • In-house IDM expertise (minimum of 3 years of full-time IDM content creation professional experience)
  • Canadian-owned and Ontario based
  • Incorporated with sound financials
  • New companies should as well have in-house IDM expertise (minimum of 3 years.
  • The new company must have a recent track record working in Ontario for its team. Agents want to see a commitment to the province.
  • Consultation with Ontario Creates is required.

The funding consists of a non-refundable contribution of up to 50% of eligible expenses, with a maximum of $50,000 for Concept definition and $300,000 for Production stream.

The next deadline for this program is August 29, 2022.

Global Market Development

This program was created to strengthen and support the international activities of Ontario creative businesses. The funding is available for sales trips and international market events that support company growth and produce measurable business and market development results.

The eligibility criteria are identical to those of the concept definition and production program with some more requirements concerning the representatives that will be sent abroad for sales trip and/or market events. Funding can accommodate up to three representatives per company and per activity. They must be full time employee or owner, Ontario residents, and at least one of them must have engaging power for the company decisions.

The funding consists of a non-refundable contribution of up to 50% of eligible expenses, with a maximum of $15,000. Applicants can receive up to $15,000.

The deadline has already passed for 2022 (April 25) but could reopen shortly, the program being scheduled until August 31, 2023.

Discoverability and Commercialization (formerly Marketing Support)

The Discoverability and Commercialization program, previously the Marketing Support program, will help companies increase their visibility. You can apply to this program as a complement to the IDM Fund Production. The application should be submitted 6 months before and up to 16 months after the product public launch. This particular grant will support the financial viability of your project once you start selling to an audience.

Consequently, the criteria are the same as the IDM Fund production, plus you should demonstrate that the Discoverability and Commercialization program will support the public engagement and therefore result in measurable gain for the company.

The funding consists of a non-refundable contribution of up to 50% of the eligible expenses, between $15,000 and $50,000.

The funding is evaluated and granted on a continuous basis, and will close in December 15, 2022.

Industry Development

The Industry Development program is for trade and event organizations who wants to initiate events and activities that support the cultural media industry in Ontario. Your project should support the book, magazine, film, television, or interactive digital media sector and it should demonstrate clear outcomes on sales and innovation. Ontario Creates can assist the organization in all stages of the event set up from the preparation, planning and delivery of the activity.

The Industry Development program is divided into two streams:

  • The Business Development stream, address B2B and B2C projects that create business leads, sales and relationships
  • Capacity Building stream address strategic projects for challenging opportunities and environmental changes.

Your project should take place in Ontario and/or have significant benefits for Ontario companies. Moreover, Ontario Creates expects positive outcomes from the project such as a large number of Ontario participants, new business leads and opportunities generated, and an increase in the generation of sales value, pre-sales and licensing agreements.

The funding consists of a non-refundable contribution of up to 75% of the event budget. Eligible activities must expand skills, business capacity, market share, sales and innovation

The next deadline for this program is August 11, 2022.

Ready to get started on your digital media project? Contact us to discover the best funding opportunities for your business!

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