CMPA pivots a B2B campaign to target policymakers

The organization representing Canada's indie film and TV producers is making sure MPs don't forget about Bill C-10.

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“This is Indie” is a campaign reminder to show policy makers that shows and movies everyone loves aren’t always coming from big studios, but independent film and TV producers – and that they need support.

According to Andrew Addison, VP of communications, marketing and membership for the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), while big organizations like CBC and CTV are valuable production partners, it’s actually independent producers who’ve risked their own funds, time and and effort to get popular shows made.

The timing of “This is Indie” coincides with the return of MPs to parliament, against the background of changes to the Broadcasting Act, a piece of legislation CMPA wants updated.

The Liberal government had introduced Bill C-10 in November 2020 to modernize the act in response to digital consumption habits and the competition of online streaming companies like Netflix and YouTube, which would have their Canadian operations regulated under the Broadcasting Act. The bill died when the federal election was called and parliament was dissolved, and a goal of the campaign to ensure those proposed changes are re-introduced.

According to Addison, the legislative approach will ensure indie producers are well positioned to reach audiences globally, as the act has not been updated to included recent streaming services but also big tech companies operating in Canada.

Addison says the campaign is ever-evolving, and was aimed initially at print and local trade publications aimed at the film and TV industry (including Brunico publication Playback), and then international ones.

But “This is Indie” is also being included in more politically focused outlets, such as Ottawa’s The Hill Times, to reach lawmakers. CMPA is also reviving its biannual publication, Indie Screen, which – in addition to industry content – includes listings of all the productions shot in Canada over the last year, and which had been on hiatus.

The typically industry-focused publication will be sent out to parliamentarians in Ottawa, highlighting the great work indies do, as part of a package that also includes CMPA-branded popcorn and a nudge to politicians to check out Canadian films and TV shows for themselves. To help with that, the campaign will soon include a video “sizzle reel” pushed online.

The latest work is a collaboration with agency Scott Thornley and Company, which it began working with since earlier this year, Addison says, as the agency understands the world of industry associations, the media space and creative targeting Ottawa policy makers, rather than the generation population.

Marsh Thornley, VP client service for STC, says that we live in a time of flux with streaming giants and movies on telephones and theatres as event spaces for comic book franchises.

“Our culture, our storytellers, need to be protected,” Thornley says.

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