The Media Fund of Canada, the private corporation that manages the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and its content, announced today that it is planning to spend $2.5 million to fund the launch of a digital platform for the CBC and other public broadcasters.
The Media Bank’s investment comes as the company’s founders, Mark Pimentel and Michael Bienstock, are expanding their media-focused company, the Media Fund, into digital.
The two companies say the digital platform will serve as a platform for content creators to collaborate, connect, and share their work.
The launch of the new media-savvy business comes as Ottawa prepares to unveil a $10-billion budget this week that includes a new digital-first tax.
Ottawa has been looking to modernize the way it manages public funds and provide greater certainty for taxpayers by expanding the definition of public funding to include non-federal sources.
The budget includes a $2-billion investment in funding for creative-media production and distribution, including a new levy on Internet content companies.
The CBC and its affiliates have been increasingly reliant on private sources for their programming, which has driven the agency’s annual operating budget to more than $7 billion for the first time in its history.
The Media fund, which will oversee the CBC’s public programming and digital offerings, is also providing the government with a $3-billion fund to support its operations.CBC spokesperson Paul Beatty said the funds will support the CBC to grow its digital business and ensure it can continue to deliver quality programming.
The $2 million investment is the largest of its kind by any public corporation, the CBC said in a statement.
Pimentel, the founder and CEO of the CBC, and his partner, Bienststock, founded the Media Bank in 2013.
The two men said they want to give Canadians a platform to connect with their peers and provide access to the public’s public assets for free.
Pimentsen and Bienstsons have invested in digital startups like Vimeo, Vox Media, YouTube, and Medium.
Pensions and other benefits will be a major part of the plan.
The Digital Fund is also investing in a digital-only version of the broadcaster’s website, which is scheduled to launch in early 2019.
The plan is to build out a suite of services and tools to allow the public to access CBC content through mobile devices, the company said in the statement.
“The Digital Media Fund’s strategy will be to deliver high-quality content for Canadian audiences on mobile devices through its own platform,” Pimentels said.
“By the time this platform launches, Canadians will have access to CBC content from the comfort of their own homes.”
Pimentels and Bieksons have been seeking ways to expand their media business and raise money for their fledgling company.
They have said they believe that Canada has the opportunity to become the digital superpower of the world, as the U.S. has become the most-watched global news and information provider, with more than 100 million monthly viewers.