April 15, 2013 — The Canada Media Fund (CMF) announced its 2013-2104 Broadcaster Performance Envelope allocations on April 12 and APTN’s French and English envelopes saw a total of $4.7 million in cuts from 2012-13 levels. CMF’s allocation to APTN’s English envelope was reduced by 46% from the previous year, dropping from $8,827,528 to $4,049,632. The French envelope was cut 40%, from $874,620 to $516,496.
According to the CMF website, “In December 2012, the CMF announced the factor weights used to calculate the 2013-2014 Performance Envelope allocations. A Performance Envelope is calculated by measuring a broadcaster’s performance against that of other broadcasters in each genre and language, based on five weighted factors: audience success – total hours tuned, audience success – original first run, historic performance, regional production licenses, and digital media investment.”
Using this new measurement formula, broadcasters like APTN, Knowledge and Zoomer (formerly Vision) must now compete against broadcasting giants like CBC and major broadcasting groups such as Bell Media, Shaw, Rogers and Corus. Knowledge received a $460,570 cut in their CMF allocation and Zoomer saw a $547,986 reduction, despite the fact that together with APTN, they broadcast more Canadian programming than nearly every other broadcaster in the country. APTN, Zoomer and Knowledge are also known for licensing the majority of their programming from small and medium sized production companies.
AAMP anticipates that APTN’s loss of $4.7 million in BPE funding will result in significant reductions in programming licenses to Aboriginal production companies during the next fiscal year. In 2011-2012, for example, APTN allocated approximately $4.7 million of its English BPE to six children and youth series ($1,863,247), nine documentary series ($1,499,544), two variety series ($355,000), and one drama series ($1,029,000). These 18 productions productions represented hundreds of technical and creative positions throughout Canada.
The Alliance of Aboriginal Media Professionals has submitted a letter to executives at the Canada Media Fund outlining its concerns about the deep cuts to APTN’s BPE, and we will follow up with meetings in the coming weeks.