Chris Frank / Vice-Chair

2010 was the year of the hit movie The Social Network, where new media makes it big, ironically, in the old media world of feature films, providing a transmedia model that combines technology, community, content, games, app's, film, books, live events…the multi-platform world that the Bell Fund has been encouraging for the past 13 years. 

2010 was the year that we all held our collective breath, and waited to see the impact on the industry and on the Bell Fund of the Canada Media Fund's new cross-platform mandate, and how producers would navigate the funding process.  Having invested $93M in 614  television and interactive digital media projects, the Bell Fund is a leader and model in the cross-platform world with a lot of experience to share.  We have learned that not all television programs need rich and enhanced interactive content.  Truly relevant and compelling content works for all genres and demographics, but it's a challenge for adult drama.  Interactive content based on documentaries and children's programming attract more traffic for longer periods online.  Bigger and more expensive is not always better.  Mobile app's are growing.  Video is huge. 

2010 had a few challenges too.  The Bell Fund tried a number of options to obtain accurate and comparable online/mobile traffic measurements.  However, the indices of success remain elusive.  We will continue to combine various metric services and add a qualitative interview with producers to determine the factors that indicate a project is a success.  It's a step…  Together with other independent Funds and the provincial funding agencies, the Bell Fund helped develop a set of principles regarding the ownership and value of “rights” to television programs and interactive content.  That battle continues too, but, it's another step… 

A recent CRTC Decision provides more flexibility to the independent Funds, allowing the Funds to use BDU contributions for the development of projects and for original, stand-alone digital content licensed by broadcasters, without companion television programs.  The Bell Fund Board will be examining these new opportunities in early 2011 to determine where the Bell Fund resources can best be allocated to support our industry, as we continue to adapt to the evolving needs of our multi-platform producers and broadcasters.