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Paul Hoffert
Chair
In 2014, Bell Fund continued our strong support of Canada’s television and digital media producers and broadcasters. We’re proud to foster an environment for high quality and engaging Canadian content so that audiences here and around the world can connect with the best Canadians have to offer.

Since 1997, Bell Fund has contributed more than $150 million to more than 1,500 projects. In 2014 alone we contributed $17.6 million to 186 projects. That’s more money in more projects than ever before. But numbers only tell part of the story. Every day we continue to be inspired by the talented producers with whom we have the privilege of working. They continue to push the envelope of excellence by exploring new ways to tell stories on digital platforms and by innovating business models for the new ecosystem that includes broadcast television, Internet distribution, and mobile apps. Bell Fund continues to listen to producers and broadcasters, to monitor their evolving technical, creative, and business environments and to remain at the forefront of new opportunities.

While we have much to celebrate, our industry continues to operate in a state of flux as we evolve and respond to new realities. It’s clear that there are no simple solutions and that change has become the new norm. While it’s impossible to speculate where the current road will lead us, we firmly believe that audiences will continue to require content produced by good storytellers and that production business models will evolve to monetize that content.

We acknowledge the contributions of Andra Sheffer, Bell Fund's former Executive Director, made over her many years at our helm. Andra’s vision, hard work and dedication contributed strongly to what Bell Fund is today. She is a tremendous leader and trail blazer who helped put Canadian digital media production on the map.

Bell Fund's new Executive Director, Nancy Chapelle, comes to Bell Fund after many successful years as President of Catalyst Entertainment and Managing Director of Content and Programming at TVO. She has a stellar track-record at the intersection of broadcast and digital media and, among her many awards, in 2011 she was voted into the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Arts and Communication.

We continue to search for operational efficiencies while strengthening our producer services. By the time you read this we will have launched the Bell Fund's online application portal. This will improve our operational efficiency and make our application processes more streamlined for our clients.

Bell Fund activities are made possible by annual contributions from Bell TV (including Bell Aliant and Câblevision du Nord de Québec) and from the BCE/CTV Benefits.

I am inspired by the projects we funded this past year. I hope as you read through this report and see the breath and diversity of what we’ve accomplished that you will be as well.

Paul Hoffert
Chair

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Lori Rosenberg
Vice-Chair
The pace of change in our industry over the past year has been tremendous. Shifting patterns in media consumption, technological advances and new regulatory frameworks are transforming our industry in every possible way. Disruption surrounds our business at every juncture. Our challenge as an industry is to adapt and lead the way through change.

This year we watched with interest as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) “Let’s Talk TV” consultation and subsequent policy announcements unfolded. While it’s too early to tell what the total impact will be, it’s clear that equilibrium won’t be established in the short-term.

As we manage through change, it’s time to ask big questions. The Bell Fund is very interested in how we get more Canadians to know what content is available and via that discovery, in supporting the industry through which the content is produced, aggregated and delivered. Gone are the days of making great content and expecting an audience to find it. We must be active and relentless participants in the marketing of our content and the means by which to get it. It encourages greater participation by broadcasters and producers in the evolving content consumption eco-system, not to mention making good business sense. We all have an important stake in this discussion. This is an industry-wide challenge and an area of focus if we are to thrive in what has been described as the “age of abundance”.

Bell Fund strives to help facilitate excellence in content and while awards are not our primary motivator, they are one measure of success. In 2014, Bell Fund supported projects receiving 26 Canada Screen nominations in TV categories with four wins. Of the 14 nominees for the three Best Cross-Platform awards, ten were Bell Fund supported projects. All three winners from this category were projects that we supported. In Quebec our Cross-Platform projects received 10 nominations  with four wins. This series of categories shows the breadth of excellence that we support across genres with wins in children’s, reality and drama programming. The success of Bell Fund supported projects continued beyond our borders with two nominations for the International Digital Emmy® Awards in 2014.

As I reflect on the projects that received funding this year I’m struck by how independent producers are innovating and experimenting like never before. While this Annual Report highlights many projects I would like to point to two in particular that illustrate my point. The Polar Sea 360, produced by DEEP Inc. uses innovative technology to explore new ways of storytelling. The project takes advantage of 360-degree video to immerse users in Canada’s Arctic in a way that they’ve never seen before. The Bell Fund took a chance on a new technology which allowed the Producer to create a really unique and thrilling user experience.

Le rêve de Champlain is an excellent example of a program that reaches across all audiences with content that is engaging, educational and entertaining  and available on multiple platforms – tv, mobile, games, quizzes and social media.

I would like to take the opportunity to welcome the newest member to our board, Suzanne Gouin.  Madam Gouin has held senior and executive producer positions in the media sector for more than 30 years, currently as CEO of TV5 Quebec Canada, and formerly with Transcontinental Media, Radio-Canada, Pixcom and CFCF12.

In the year ahead, I am confident in the resolve of the industry to see past the change that’s around us and to continue the great strides we’ve made in the evolution of storytelling. Our industry will become even more sophisticated with more and more producers starting the storytelling process by picking the platform that works best for the narrative. The most successful players will push the boundaries even further seizing opportunity by taking bold and smart risks. This is the ground where the seeds of creativity are planted and where truly transformational projects come to life.

Lori Rosenberg
Vice-Chair

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