The volume of all film and television production in Canada hit an “all-time high” in 2011, says a new report commissioned by the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA), the Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec (APFTQ) and the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Despite significant growth in the film and television sector in Canada, production by Canadians declined in 2011, the report said.
The report , called “Profile 2011: An Economic Report on the Screen-Based Production Industry in Canada,” was conducted by Nordicity Group Ltd. andreleased Wednesday by the CMPA. It said the volume of all film and television production in Canada increased by 8.9 per cent in 2010-2011 to reach an “all-time high” of $5.49 billion. The report said that, last year, all film and TV production in Canada contributed $7.46 billion to Canada's GDP and $4.39 billion in spin-off GDP. Overall, the total volume of film and TV production in Canada increased by $448 million compared to 2009-2010, the report said.
It noted that the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec experienced “healthy gains” in foreign location production, which contributed to a $367 million increase in the total volume of foreign production. The report said the increase accounted for more than 80 per cent of the overall increase in the national volume of film and TV production last year. The other major contributor to 2011's increase came from the in-house broadcasting sector, the report said. The report noted that spending increases on news programming at CBC/Radio-Canada and on sports programming at BCE Inc.'s The Sports Network (TSN) led to an overall increase of $115 million in the broadcaster in-house production sector.
In total, the increase in in-house production accounted for one-fifth of the overall growth in Canada's volume of film and TV production, the report said.“The 10.3 per cent rise in broadcaster in-house production, and the rebounding of foreign location and service production by 24.3 per cent boosted overall production activity in Canada by nine per cent,” the CMPA said in a release. All Canadian TV production increased by $3 million in 2011 resulting from a higher volume of English-language fiction TV series. The report said the increase in the fiction market “offset declines in other types of television programming (e.g., television movies and mini-series) and other genres, particularly in the children's and youth, and documentary genres.”
It noted that Canada's film and TV production, which includes television programs and films with certification from the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (CAVCO) and excludes the broadcaster in-house production sector, declined by 1.4 per cent to reach $2.39 billion in 2011. The CMPA said 2011's decline could be attributed to a $38 million dollar decrease in Canadian theatrical production. Canadian theatrical production, which includes feature and short films, decreased by 11.1 per cent in 2011, reaching $306 million, the report said.
According to Nordicity, Canadian producers made 96 theatrical films last year, a decrease of 11 films from the 2009-2010 total of 107. Film budgets were also affected, with the average budget for English-language films going from $4.6 million in 2009-2010 to $4.1 million. The report said that the average budget for French-language films increased from $3.1 million in 2009-2010 to $3.4 million in 2011. “Quebec-based productions accounted for 40 per cent of the total volume of Canadian theatrical productions,” the report said. In contrast, the report noted that the number of English-language films dropped in 2010-2011, from 67 films to 60. French-language films also decreased from 36 to 33 in 2011, the report said.It noted that a total of 76 Canadian films we made in the fiction genre in 2011, which accounted for 92 per cent of the total volume of production.
Television animation production suffered a “10-year low” in 2010-2011, falling by 38 per cent to reach $136 million, a release Wednesday said. The decline was attributed to fewer TV animation projects and lower average budgets. Canada's film and TV production in the fiction genre increased by 2.8 per cent to reach $1.29 billion in 2011, the report said. The fiction genre fared better than children's and youth programming, which “plummeted” by 22.9 per cent to total $322 million in 2010-2011, and “documentary production fell by 11.3 per cent to $336 million,” the report said. All film and TV production in Canada employed 128,000 full-time employees in 2010-2011, of which 50,300 were employed directly in the production sector. In the Canadian production sector, which excludes broadcaster in-house production, the report showed that 55,600 people were employed full-time, with 21,900 directly employed in the production of Canadian films and television programs.
Canadian English-language production remained steady at $1.69 billion in 2011, while French-language content production decreased by 3.0 per cent to $673 million. The data also found that Canadian production in a bilingual format and other languages decreased by $6 million, or 23.1 per cent, to total $20 million in 2011. Nordicity also found that Ontario was again the leading province for film and TV production. “Its total volume of production rose 6.3 per cent to $2 billion for the first-time in its history,” the report said. Ontario's total is up from the 2009-2010 figure of $1.9 billion. Nordicity noted that British Columbia experienced the “greatest” growth in 2011 as its film and TV production increased by $1.71 billion. The report showed that figure was up from $1.41 billion in 2009-2010.
Quebec was the only other province to reach more than $1 billion in production volume in 2011, the report said. It said Quebec's film and TV production increased by 5.5 per cent to reach $1.33 billion, up from $1.26 billion in 2009-2010. On its own, television production increased by 1.9 per cent in 2010-2011 to reach $2.08 billion, the report said. Nordicity said the volume of TV series production also increased by 8.0 per cent to reach $1.75 billion in 2011, “although the number of television series produced by Canadians dropped from 597 to 585.”
The total TV volume was supported by the production of new fictional television series such as the dramas of “Combat Hospital” and “The Listener.” Canadian television production generated 48,500 full-time employment positions in 2011, with 19,100 people directly involved in the production of Canadian TV programs. “The export value of film and television production in Canada increased by 20 per cent to $2.26 billion in 2010-2011,” the report said.