Scripted Digital Originals


 Who We Are

In recent years, CBC has released an increasing number of Scripted Digital Original series on CBC.ca/watch and the CBC TV streaming service app. These exciting short-form and midform titles play as comfortably on big screens as they do on phones and tablets, and come from a wide range of talent, emerging and established alike. No matter the genre, these programs embrace daring, unexpected and niche content for young and diverse audiences.
 
Strengthening our commitment to this type of digital-first programming is a core pillar of CBC's offering as the public broadcaster, and our aim is to deliver exceptional content for digital native viewers. Here's how to work with us!
 

What Are We Looking For?

Original Series: For the CBC streaming service, we are primarily focusing on Comedy and Drama series composed of 10-15 minute episodes at around 6-12 episodes per season. We are prioritizing midform Digital Original series that complement the lean-back experience of watching TV at home, while still giving viewers mobile-friendly content that they can easily enjoy on their phones and mobile devices.
 
Given our preference for midform episodes lengths, the traditional linear structure of television storytelling is upended with these series -- but never to the detriment of quality and nuance. We encourage narratives that boldly break tradition and we try and remain open minded to all forms. For example, do you have a concept with a strong 'A' story that would shine as a shorter format series? Do you have a series idea with a strong hook that subverts the typical 22- or 44-minute narrative structure? With CBC Digital Originals, content dictates form.
 
Recent examples include:
 

Creative Considerations

There is no one type of program that we are looking for. Popular titles have included dramatic anthologies, mockumentaries, episodic comedies, serialized narratives, and everything in between. One thing that all of our most successful series have in common is an obsessive attention to the specific details of an underexplored world. We gravitate towards niche content that takes risks and appeals to an engaged audience -- one that is diverse, extremely discerning and that has discriminating tastes and attitudes.

To that end, we are interested in content that is, at times, irreverent to the typical expectations of the public broadcaster.

With these attributes in mind, these fundamental questions remain:

  • Why is this a fit for the public broadcaster on this platform?
  • Does this story need to be told and why does it need to be told in this way?
  • Will this series benefit from being released through CBC?
  • Who is your audience and why will they engage with this story?

Production Considerations

We are looking for projects that can deliver high production value without requiring the traditional budget levels associated with linear television production. We frequently work with productions in pursuing other forms of financing (Bell Fund, IPF, OMDC, Telus, et al).

Audience

Our goal is to build a library that can attract 25-40 year-old audiences - think older millennials and younger Gen X-ers.


What to Submit

What kind of material do you want to see in my submission?

Submissions may take the form of a pitch document, bible, outline, treatment or script, video sizzle reel or demo if available.
 

What should be included in my submission?

While there is no formal set of requirements on what should be included in a proposal, it is important to ensure that as much information as necessary is provided to portray a complete
picture of your vision, while keeping the volume of material to a minimum. We review over 1,000 proposals, scripts and pitches every year,
so shorter materials (one to three pages) are preferred. A short document allows us to evaluate as quickly as possible whether the concept is a priority under the current programming strategy, and whether it is a candidate for further discussion and consideration.
 

Submissions can include, but are not limited to:

  • A synopsis of the project, including setup, scenario, story engine and theme;
  • Character descriptions;
  • An idea of the audience it is targeting;
  • Sense of tone, style, look, and any setting considerations;
  • Possible episode ideas;
  • Trailer, sizzle, pilot, sample video content if available;
  • Opportunities for multi-platform content or companion pieces;
  • Bios and CVs of the Key Creative(s) presently attached, if any, including affiliated Canadian or foreign partners and the nature of their involvement.
Please be sure to include a fully executed Submission Release Form. We cannot review materials prior to the receipt of this completed form.
 
We will respond to all submissions within 6 - 8 weeks of receiving a signed CBC Submission Release Form. Please note that we cannot return materials submitted.
 

Diversity

At the CBC, inclusion and diversity are a priority. This means reflecting all of our regions and our country's multicultural and multiracial nature.
 
Please be advised that as part of our commitment to this priority, we have been and will continue to reach out to our business partners in programming production to ensure that a concerted and documented effort is made to represent Canada's diverse population wherever and whenever possible/feasible both on and off-camera.
 
As the national public broadcaster, we want to reflect all of Canada to our many diverse audiences.
 

Contact Information

Send your submission to scripted.digital@cbc.ca. To ensure your submission is received and properly reviewed, you must include the subject line 'Scripted Digital Original Series'.
 

 

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