Federal government invests $11.2 million into 29 companies in television, publishing, video game industries

Big Viking Games
The financing comes amid debates over Bill C-11, which aims to regulate online content such as streaming platforms, social media videos.

The Government of Canada announced on Wednesday that it is investing a collective $11.2 million into 29 organizations across the country for the fifth intake of the Creative Export Canada program.

Formed in 2018, Creative Export Canada offers funding for projects that generate export revenues and help Canadian creative industries expand their global reach.

The recipients in this cohort operate in a variety of spaces within Canada’s creative sector, traditional ones like television, music, and publishing, as well as tech startups in thevideo and online game space.

Among the companies to receive funding in this announcement are video game developers Uken Games, Game Hive, and Big Viking Games, as well as television and streaming service providers Milo Productions and Blue Ant Media.

According to Canadian Heritage, the Creative Export Program has provided 86 organizations in the creative industry with a cumulative $44.1 million in funding. An additional $1.5 million was granted to the fourth edition of the program, topping up the $3.8 million that was doled out to the nine recipients last year.

This fifth installment of the Creative Export Program will also be getting a $6 million top-up and represents the final round of the program. Canadian Heritage said it is seeking renewal for the program beyond the 2022 to 2023 fiscal year.

The Creative Export program was created under the federal government’s Creative Canada strategy, which launched in 2017. Creative Canada is meant to set the policy direction for the country in the government’s vision to ensure there is space online for a diversity of voices, while highlighting Canadian content in French and English, as well as multicultural and Indigenous expression.

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Working towards that vision, Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez introduced the Online Streaming Act (Bill C-11) earlier this year to push online streaming services to showcase Canadian content, or CanCon, and to support Canadian creators and producers.

Additionally, the bill would also put online content such as TikTok and YouTube videos under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

“It would make programs by talented artists in both official languages more accessible to Canadians,” according to Canadian Heritage, which runs the Creative Export Program. “That includes artists who currently face systemic barriers, such as Indigenous and racialized artists and artists with disabilities.”

However, some industry players in Canada’s creative sector argue that the legislation could negatively affect their audience reach.

In June, TikTok Canada’s director of public policy and government affairs Steve de Eyre published a statement on how the bill could influence TikTok’s content delivery for Canadians.

“If TikTok were required to promote content that is certified as CanCon by the CRTC, it would give an unfair advantage on our platform to well-resourced and established media voices, at the expense of independent and emerging digital creators,” said de Eyre.

TikTok Canada also quietly held a presentation about the bill for digital creators and online influencers, telling them about the risks of having their content deprioritized abroad if TikTok was required to manipulate its algorithm to promote Canadian content to domestic users.

Featured image from Big Viking Games’ website.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and a staff writer for BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter @charlizealcaraz

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