CBC's digital channel documentary is Canada's premiere television service dedicated to documentaries - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our schedule presents important, compelling documentaries from Canada and around the globe.
documentary focuses on a wide scope of topics and presents a dramatic blend of styles and formats. While films that focus on social issues and the human condition play a key role in our primetime schedule, the channel presents many specific programming strands: history, technology, and the natural world and more. CRTC regulations require documentary to air 75% Canadian content throughout the day and in primetime.
Our programming line-up includes character driven docs that provide relevant, compelling insight on important issues that relate to our lives; the places we live and the people we know: politics and crime, adventure and injustice, recreation and religion, performance, poverty and poetry. Stories of individual triumph and social unrest told through a strong narrative voice - sweeping epic tales and personal human journeys.
The primetime schedule presents a varied and eclectic mix of documentary subjects and is represented in several strands and anthologies across the grid.
Our Focus anthology presents a strong and vibrant line-up of independently produced Canadian one-hour documentaries.
Doc Nation includes award-winning one-hour foreign docs from independent filmmakers and production companies around the globe. Several feature-length slots focus on Canadian and World docs - important, critically acclaimed festival titles and incisive POV docs from some of the best documentary makers anywhere.
Through our partnership with the NFB, documentary also acquires more than 50 National Film Board titles a year. The NFB slot airs 3 nights a week on documentary and provides a comprehensive view of the world through Canadian eyes.
Acquisitions and Commissions
Our programming inventory is built primarily on acquisitions, but we do commission projects from time to time. Our current annual commissioning budgets are tied directly to our success in the market place: the more success we have in selling the channel, the more programming we are able to produce. At present we commission about 5 to 7 documentary projects a year.
One hour and feature-length documentaries are considered for production. Subject matter should be of interest to Canadian audiences. The stories should follow a resolved and well thought out treatment and be executed with solid production values.
What We Are Looking For
While our schedule includes documentaries on various topics and strands, our commissioned projects are more focused. We are less likely to support documentaries about wildlife, technology, sports and history. Social issues and the human condition are targets for us. Our commissions must be universal in scope and be relevant to our audiences over the duration of the licence. Execution should be clean, arguments and resolutions clear. Stories should be well researched and supported.
Our 6-year license provisions are compatible with the requirements of the Canadian Media Fund. The role of the CMF is important to us and we expect producers to apply to the Fund as well as available federal and provincial tax credits. We welcome funding from other organizations such as provincial agencies & educational networks, the National Film Board of Canada, and other specialty channels as well as CBC's French-language networks (SRC & RDI).
Infrequently, we are open to second window deals with other broadcasters, but will insist on a substantial exclusive first window for documentary. We'll also consider taking second windows on some films where appropriate. License fees for acquisitions will be in line with other Canadian cable & specialty channel licenses.
Each documentary must be based on thorough and documented research and a realistic budget, financing and production plan. To enhance the strength of the films we commission we may provide funding for development. The first step to a development commitment is the presentation of a concise summary of the project, a schedule, budget and financing scenario for the development phase, and identification of the key creative participants.
When the development process is complete, we expect to receive a full treatment, production budget, production schedule, financing scenario, confirmation of key creative participants, a diversity plan and in most cases, a short trailer or promo. The full proposal will then be assessed as a potential commission.