Creative Saskatchewan is ready to invest in the province’s interactive digital developers. The crown agency’s new Interactive Digital Media (IDM) Grant opened earlier this year and is now welcoming applications from developers who have entertaining or educational projects on the drawing board.
“The IDM grant is a strategic investment that provides Saskatchewan developers with a much-needed opportunity to create cutting edge, interactive entertainment product that can compete on the global market,” said Greg Magirescu, CEO of Creative Saskatchewan.
The new IDM Grant invests up to $75,000 in projects that align with Creative Saskatchewan’s legislated mandate to support commercial cultural content. Projects that successfully secure an IDM Grant will reflect both of those critical criteria: commercial and cultural.
First, the project must be considered cultural content. Games are the most obvious example of interactive digital cultural content, but other types of project can qualify as well. To help applicants determine if a particular interactive digital media project is considered cultural content, Creative Saskatchewan has created overarching eligibility categories: entertainment, education or information. In other words, when users interact with the final interactive digital product, they must be meaningfully participating in entertaining content that captures their imagination and/or they must be learning something new through active engagement as opposed to linear instruction. Projects that don’t deliver these kinds of experiences will very likely be considered ineligible for the IDM Grant.
Secondly, the project must be commercial. To establish the commercial viability of a project, applicants will provide a marketing plan, an analysis of market demand, and other supporting data. The IDM Grant also provides an alternative to proving commercial viability in that way. If the project has already secured a significant financial investment from an eligible funder, like a venture capitalist or the Canada Media Fund Experimental Stream, Creative Saskatchewan considers the commercial viability requirement fulfilled without any additional reporting required.
Put simply, applications to the IDM Grant programs go through a two-or-three-step process. Step one determines cultural content eligibility. If cultural content eligibility requirements are met, step two determines commercial viability by determining if funding is in place to trigger automatic approval. If that funding is in place, the grant application is approved.
For applications that pass step one, but don’t have the funding to trigger approval in step two, the application moves on to an exciting third step. It is added to the roster for a pitch event. If, by late 2017, grant funds are not exhausted by applications approved at step two, Creative Saskatchewan will welcome applicants on the pitch event roster to pitch a panel of interactive digital development experts who will assess commercial viability and other criteria. That panel will then determine IDM Grant recipients.
The IDM Grant was developed in close collaboration with SaskInteractive, the industry association that represents members who are involved in the development of content-based interactive digital media. “This grant will spark interactive digital media innovation while contributing to economic growth through job creation and export activity,” said Thomas Archer, Executive Director of SaskInteractive. “SaskInteractive is proud to have worked closely with Creative Saskatchewan to develop this grant program on behalf of digital developers across the province.”
Creative Saskatchewan’s CEO says that investing in digital development strengthens the economic impact of the province’s creative sector. “This is Creative Saskatchewan’s first investment in the creation of interactive digital media,” said Magirescu. “We’re looking forward to seeing some remarkable projects and are excited for the opportunity to invest in them.”
Complete details of Creative Saskatchewan’s Interactive Digital Media Grant can be found online at: creativesask.ca/digital