Canadian film and TV production rebounded in 2021/22 from early pandemic woes: report

·2 min read

Canadian producers say spending on film and TV productions leapt by a record 28 per cent during the second year of the pandemic.

A report from the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) found a “robust rebound” between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

It says spending jumped more than $2.5 billion to an all-time high of $11.7 billion. That's also nearly 22 per cent higher than the previous record of $9.6 billion in 2019/20, before the pandemic.

The biggest growth was in foreign productions shot in Canada, which rose 27 per cent to $6.7 billion, and Canadian television production, which jumped 39 per cent to $3.5 billion.

But producers say it's uncertain whether such growth can be sustained, pegging the bump to short-term government funds that helped the industry withstand COVID-19 restrictions and Canadian broadcasters who increased commissions and spending that had dropped earlier in the pandemic.

The report says challenges ahead include lingering inflation and a possible recession.

It adds that this was the first time Canadian television production increased year-over-year since the 2018/19 period. The pandemic’s early days stalled two years of steady growth and further widened the gap between the number of domestic and foreign productions shot in Canada, says the report.

The CMPA's president and CEO said in a release that overall growth shows the resilience of Canada's independent producers, but he flagged concerns.

“The gap between domestic and service production continues to widen. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure a healthy and balanced production ecosystem for decades to come,” Reynolds Mastin said Wednesday.

The report found Canadian theatrical feature film production also rebounded from the pandemic downturn.

That sector jumped 44 per cent to a 10-year high of $387 million, with bigger gains in the French-language market which leapt 65 per cent to an all-time record of $141 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2023.

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press