Success stories — Creative Export Canada

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Since the creation of the Creative Export Canada (CEC) program in 2018, the funding provided has enabled many Canadian creative industries to distinguish themselves internationally.

Here are a few examples...

Guru Animation Studio Ltd.

The company

Guru Studio is a creative-driven entertainment company renowned for creating, developing and producing internationally acclaimed and highly successful shows including its Emmy nominated Netflix Original series, True and the Rainbow Kingdom; PAW Patrol and Abby Hatcher, produced in collaboration with Spin Master and Nick Jr; Mattel’s Ever After High; and its own two-time Emmy Award nominated preschool series Justin Time in association with Disney Junior. Led by President and Executive Creative Director Frank Falcone, Guru Studio is an industry leader in animated storytelling for children of all ages.

The project

Exporting its children and family content to global broadcasters, distributors, retailers, licensing partners, gaming platforms, and audiences around the world.

The story

The company’s four-phase export initiative included using the CEC funds to market and sell their award-winning content to international broadcasters, to form new creative partnerships and co-productions with studios around the world, and to expand into new product categories such as video games and feature films.

As part of its global export initiatives, the company successfully brought its award-winning property True and the Rainbow Kingdom to China and other international markets and added new licensing partners for its newest property, Pikwik Pack, which is set to launch on Disney Junior US.

Leveraging its international success in the animated television space, the company also expanded into new product categories such as video games. Guru Studio successfully launched and distributed their first-ever original video game FRACTER, which was nominated for the prestigious Gamer’s Voice Award for Best Mobile Game. A portion of the CEC funding was allocated to their games division to attend major international markets, such as South by Southwest (SXSW), in order to promote the game, and solidify a publishing deal to bring the game to the Nintendo Switch, which is scheduled to be released in Q4 of 2020.

Les Productions Folle Avoine

The company

Owner of the publisher The Secret Mountain, which publishes stories and songs intended to introduce children to the amazing power of literature and music through imaginative worlds filled with poetry and humour.

The project

Continue to develop their international strategy to ensure wider distribution of their children’s music books, a growing sector. In addition to generating export revenues between 2018 and 2020, the project will have contributed to the development of Canadian children’s literature and music in France, the United States and China.

The story

The Secret Mountain adopted a flexible, light and modular organizational model. This model will allow them to get through the pandemic and bounce back in 2021 with several new products that will be added to a catalog recognized in Canada and abroad for its quality.

By focusing on communications technologies, due in large part to the contribution of the CEC program, the organization has succeeded in developing tools that will be used to regain ground lost in 2020. During this period of uncertainty, they have put in place a plan to ensure the continuity of their operations, while focusing on the creation and broadcasting of new content in multiple digital formats that will stimulate the discoverability and monetization of their musical directory.

This project has given them the tools to position themselves as one of the leading independent Canadian children’s publishers that has made a real headway in France and the United States. This recognition, due to the discoverability obtained, will pave the way for future export projects and they are confident that they will be able to increase their activities internationally. The experience gained in China will have given them the knowledge to develop a solid strategy that will take into account the many challenges to be met in this faraway market, which is very different from others.

Moment Factory

The company

Moment Factory brings people together. The company’s shows and destinations reinvent entertainment by offering new experiences. From concerts to flagship stores and urban spaces, Moment Factory’s goal is to create a sense of collective amazement and connection.

The project

Worldwide promotion and distribution of multimedia formats stimulating the discoverability of Canadian creativity through their permanent projects.

The story

Exports are at the core of Moment Factory’s business model. It is therefore essential for them to continue their international development in various markets. Moment Factory’s growth strategy is based on the development of intellectual property and the deployment of those intellectual properties. Their Aura, Lumina and Wonderbox formats are at the forefront of this strategy. The CEC program has accelerated the commercialization of these formats and thus helped to maintain a competitive advantage.

The formats, once in operation, act internationally as true showcases of Canadian expertise, creativity, and innovation in the field of entertainment and multimedia. Millions of spectators have admired these formats throughout the world.

In addition to their undeniable artistic and innovative qualities, these formats are solid business models that generate significant revenues for Moment Factory, the creator of the intellectual property (through a fee upon delivery and royalties subsequently), as well as for their clients (through box office revenues) and the host city or region (through economic consequences).

Combined with Moment Factory’s unprecedented level of human and financial resources, the funds received from the CEC program have greatly contributed to the recent success and progress, with a positive impact that will continue to flourish for years to come. The financial support has allowed them to expand the international scope of their formats and to generate concrete results.

Inner City Releasing

The company

Inner City Releasing (ICR) was incorporated with the purpose of distributing films developed by Inner City Films (ICF), an independent television and film production company headquartered in Toronto and specializing in culturally-diverse international co-productions.

The project

Develop a new business model for distributing ICF films, enabling them to execute and maintain control of their own distribution stream, creating financial efficiencies and opportunities, and attracting major broadcasters and distributors internationally.

The story

One of the major challenges ICR faced in designing their new business model was to promote and distribute one of their feature films entitled Love Jacked. A production company primarily targeting the African-American market, and the diverse populations in the world market, ICF equipped themselves with the right tools to maximize their chances of finding potential partners and ensuring the distribution and promotion of their product.

To this end, part of the assistance provided by the CEC program was useful in digital marketing and promotional aspects. Indeed, the development of an online strategy was a key element of their marketing plan. Through the establishment of profiles and banners on various websites, a complete update of their new website, as well as a networking campaign on various social networks, Inner City Releasing not only succeeded in maximizing its opportunities, but the company also managed to attract the attention of major industry players. As a result, Love Jacked was released theatrically in the US and is currently streaming worldwide on Netflix.

Éditions Chouette

The company

Éditions Chouette specializes in children’s picture books in English and in French and is the birthplace of Caillou. The beloved character’s books are published in more than 50 countries in 20 languages around the world. Éditions Chouette’s catalog also includes two new imprints: City Monsters, a search-and-find travel series, and CrackBoom! Books, featuring creative novelty formats.

The project

Launch a high-quality e-commerce destination for North American consumers wishing to purchase Caillou products such as books, toys, DVDs and apps, including some products that would be unique to this platform with project partners DHX and Imports Dragon.

The story

Through the financing granted by the CEC program, Éditions Chouette has been able to launch its trade platform and thus facilitate the discovery and sales of its products on its website

Following the launch of its platform in 2019, the expected results provided an overview of what Éditions Chouette’s sales figures will represent during the important holiday buying period. To increase visibility and sales engagement, Éditions Chouette implemented a marketing strategy to attract viewers of the Caillou YouTube channel to its online platform.

In the future, when setting up a commerce platform for other brands such as CrackBoom!, and City Monsters, Éditions chouette will make sure to be ready to launch its platform during the busiest period for the sale of its merchandizing products.

Why Not Theatre

The company

Good isn’t good enough. At Why Not Theatre, they’re out for better.

Why Not Theatre is an international theatre company based in Toronto that prioritizes the values of imagination, integrity, collaboration, empowerment, and joy in the work they do. The work of Why Not Theatre is inventive, cross-cultural, and explores diversity amongst people. By sharing their work and touring the world, Why Not Theatre intends to provoke change as they believe art should be accessible to everyone.

The project

The main goal was to represent Canada on the world stage. This project was aimed at increasing the company’s capacity to support large-scale international touring of culturally-diverse Canadian theatre productions in untapped new markets throughout the world.

The story

One of the challenges in the performing arts industry is to increase the visibility of the participants in order to attract the largest possible audience. Hence, the development of a strategy that focuses on promotion and increased visibility by adopting a digital approach is more and more common.

In the case of Why Not Theatre, an important point of their export strategy was the implementation of a complete update of their website. Part of the assistance obtained by the CEC program therefore allowed the complete redesign of the website, allowing the company to give a particular focus on showcasing international tour productions by promoting these creations on their website. Why Not Theatre has thus increased its discoverability and reach through this digital strategy as search engines are also able to effectively crawl this new site. The website also allowed the company to reinforce its brand imagery, messaging, and values clearly targeting prospective new audiences - a vital step at the beginning of building sustainable and long-term audience journeys.

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