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TV & Film News – Canadian OTT access revenue forecast to grow 18% this year

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Convergence Research Group’s latest Battle for the Canadian Couch Potato Report indicates Canada is increasingly being impacted by the global OTT battle for viewers. Based on analysis of over 50 OTT services (and more than 35 providers), led by Netflix, Convergence estimates 2022 Canadian OTT access revenue grew 23% to $3.3 billion, with 18% growth forecast for 2023, mostly benefitting non-Canadian players. The report estimates 2022 Canadian Cable, Satellite, Telco TV access revenue declined 4% to $7.5 billion and forecasts 3% annual declines through 2025. Convergence also estimates 2022 resulted in a decline of 2% of Canadian TV subscribers, with on average 3% per year declines anticipated from 2023-25. It’s estimated that as of 2022, 6.3 million or 40% of Canadian households did not have a TV subscription with a Cable, Satellite, or Telco TV access provider, forecast to rise to 48% by 2025. 

Screen Nova Scotia hosted its 9th annual Awards Gala on Saturday, May 13. Best Feature Film went to Queens of the Qing Dynasty, the sophomore film from Cape Breton filmmaker Ashley McKenzie. The second season of Bell Fibe TV1 comedy Vollies, starring Jonathan Torrens, won Best Television Series – Scripted Award. Two new awards were handed out including Best Television Series – Unscripted, captured by VICE Canada docuseries Living in Flow, produced by Gorgeous Mistake Productions and directed by Meaghan Wright, which follows six Atlantic Canadian youth with mental health challenges. Outstanding Achievement in Editing went to Kimberlee McTaggart for her work on Moonshine. 

The 2023 Alberta Film & Television Awards, aka The Rosies, are now accepting submissions. This year’s awards will be held in Edmonton on Sept. 30. The deadline for entries is May 31, with finalists to be announced in August. Eligible productions must have been completed between Jan. 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023. 

Entertainment One (eOne) has expanded its long-running partnership with The CW Network to make it the U.S. home for Lea Thompson-led CTV original mystery series The Spencer Sisters, and CBC one-hour dramedy Moonshine. The premiere dates for each series will be announced at a later date. The announcement follows The CW’s pickup of CBC comedies Run the Burbs and Son of a Critch, Corus Studios’ Great Chocolate Showdown, and Global TV’s Family Law.

Prime Video has started production on new Canadian Amazon Original docu-reality series, Luxe Listings Toronto. Based on hit Australian Amazon Original, Luxe Listings Sydney, the Toronto-based edition showcases multimillion-dollar listings through the lives of real estate agents, Peter and Paige Torkan, founders of Team Torkan and Brett Starke, founder of The Starke Group. Luxe Listings Toronto is produced by McGillivray Entertainment Media (MEM) with executive producers Angela Jennings, Nanci Maclean and Scott McGillivray. On June 12, Luxe Listings Toronto will be featured in Banff Media Festival’s Home Reno-ssance: What’s Hot in Property panel, focused on trends and the evolution of the home renovation and real estate genre. 

Alexandra Holzer

Frantic Films has announced an agreement to create a new paranormal series with Alexandra Holzer, daughter of famed parapsychologist Hanz Holzer. Frantic says it has also secured two high profile pieces of crime related IP it will develop and take to market as early as Real Screen West. The Winnipeg and Toronto-based prodco is also collaborating with New York-based producer My Entertainment, on recently announced true crime docuseries Nightmare on My Street, featuring Robert Englund, star of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.  

Hollywood Suite has announced the return of original documentary series A Year in Film. Premiering May 25, the fourth season will shine a cinematic spotlight on the years 1973, 1985, 1999 and 2010, featuring archival material, film clips and interviews with industry insiders and critics. Among the films covered will be The Exorcist, Serpico, Enter the Dragon, Paper Moon, American Graffiti, Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, The Goonies, PeeWee’s Big Adventure, The Matrix, Fight Club, American Beauty, The Blair Witch Project, The King’s Speech, Inception, Winter’s Bone, True Grit, and more. Meticulously restored Canadian cult classic The Peanut Butter Solution will also receive its broadcast premiere on Hollywood Suite on May 26, immediately following the premiere of the 1985 episode of A Year in Film. The film is also discussed indepth on A Year in Film Podcast with guest, Jay Baruchel.

CTV original competition series Cross Country Cake Off returns with six new episodes, Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, beginning May 26. Hosts Mary Berg and Andrew Han make another trip across the country to find 40 new cake makers hoping to bake their way to the top prize of $50,000 and the title of champion. The new episodes see Berg and Han stop in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montréal, and Halifax for five regional qualifying rounds, culminating in a national finale face-off, airing June 30.

Gender Equity in Media Society (formerly Women in Film and Television Vancouver) has announced the dates of the second installment of its Emerging TV Producers Program (ETVP) to help support producers from underrepresented communities. ETVP is a six-month initiative aimed at providing training and mentorship for up to 10 women and gender-diverse creators. Funded by the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and BC Arts Council, and sponsored by Warner Brothers Discovery Access Canada, the program is designed in two phases – a series of workshops, to be held in-person in Vancouver, Sept. 22-26 and phase two, Oct. 2 to Dec. 20 – when participants will be matched with a mentor to assist them with packaging their projects for development funding and/or industry markets. The program is free and open to BC-based emerging producers who want to gain producing skills and have a series concept to submit. Program applications are open June 12 to July 9.

The CaribbeanTales Black Incubator and Studio Access Project (CTBISAP) has announced the 2023 cohort of its “Limitless” training program for emerging Black Canadian filmmakers. The program is designed to build capacity in the Black Canadian film industry by providing IP knowledge and skills acquisition, training in marketing and branding, and business skills development. This “Limitless” cohort includes Nauzanin Knight, Noel Cousins, Mahlena- Rae Johnson, Chelsea Nyomi, Murry Peters, Vichy Plancher, Letay Williams, Nelie Diverlus, KhaRa Martin and Aichoucha Haidara. The program will run until the end of September, culminating with participants creating a development and pitch package for their projects.

The National Screen Institute (NSI) has welcomed 10 emerging Indigenous creators as they begin their training through the CBC New Indigenous Voices program, a 14-week program covering the essential elements of working in the film, TV and digital media industries. This year’s cohort includes: Lisa Abel (M’Chigeeng First Nation/ON); Asha Bear (Tobique First Nation/NB); Lucas Boudreau (St. Laurent/MB); Sage Boulanger-McLeod (Berens River First Nation/MB); Renée Courchene (Sagkeeng First Nation/MB); Apollo Dawson (Dzawada’enuxw First Nation/BC); Jacob Dorie (Black River First Nation/MB); Alysha Johnny-Hawkins (Tahltan First Nation/BC); John Luke (Kivalliq Region/MB); and Linsey Murdock (Fisher River Cree Nation/MB). For the first time since 2019, training will be in-person in Winnipeg, with participants working out of Big Sky Studios.

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