YA Digital Originals


Who We Are

The CBC YA Digital Originals team is looking for programming geared towards Young Adult (13-18) and New Adult (18-24) audiences.

YA Digital Originals are progressive programs for some of the most discerning and challenging viewers consuming media today: Gen Z (born mid-90s to early 2000s). YA Digital Originals will offer teens and new adults an opportunity to see themselves on screen -- as they are or as they aspire to be -- and help them feel represented, included, and like they better understand the world they live in.

These exciting titles may appear on any platform where viewers are likely to engage with them, including CBC Gem, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, and others. No matter the genre, these programs embrace daring and provocative storytelling for young and diverse audiences.

Strengthening our commitment to this type of programming is a core pillar of CBC’s mandate to serve all Canadians, and our aim is to deliver exceptional content for young, digital native viewers across the country. Here’s how to work with us!

 

What Are We Looking For?

We are interested in seeing pitches across all genres, scripted and unscripted alike, that will attract our target audience while still appealing to existing CBC viewers of all ages. Content and platform should inform the series format, but episodes should be no longer than 20 minutes each.

Whatever the runtime, pitches geared towards CBC Gem should complement the lean-back experience of streaming TV at home while still giving viewers addictive mobile-friendly content that they can easily enjoy on their mobile devices. Likewise, series pitches created primarily for streaming on Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube should reflect the unique features and attributes of the intended platform.

In all cases, we are looking for stories that matter to a segment of our target audience, and pitch packages that demonstrate a keen understanding of how and where to reach them.

Recent projects include:
Warigami
Utopia Falls
The 410
True Dating Stories

 

Creative Considerations

We are looking for projects that circle a specific passion point, reflect personal identity in all of its forms, and celebrate unconventional heroes. Strong, easily communicated concepts that enlighten as they entertain are central to this strategy.

As stated above, we are looking for programming of all genres, scripted or unscripted, that reflects the interests and concerns of young adults (13-18) and new adults (18-24), be it through the lens of friendships, family relationships, or specific areas of interest and expertise. Preference will be given to proposals that explore ideas and worlds that we have not seen addressed elsewhere, and that have a progressive bent. Identity, as it relates to ethnicity, abilities, gender, sexuality, and regional representation, will also be a key focus.

One thing that most of our successful series have in common is an undeniable hook, and obsessive attention to the specific details of an underexplored world. We gravitate towards content that clearly appeals to an engaged young 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:

  • Who is your audience, and why will they engage with this story? At its best, Young Adult and New Adult programming is participatory -- i.e., it encourages fandom and organic social media engagement. How do you see that playing out with your series?
  • Why is this series a fit for the public broadcaster?
  • Which platform is this program intended for, and why?
  • Does this story need to be told, and why does it need to be told in this way? Why now?
  • Will this series benefit from being released through CBC as opposed to another broadcaster?

Production Considerations

Many of our short-form and mid-form series deliver high production value without requiring the traditional budget levels associated with linear television production. On those projects, we frequently work with productions in pursuing other forms of financing (IPF, Bell Fund, Ontario Creates, TELUS, Shaw Rocket Fund, et al).

Longer form series are not expected to conform to those lower budget levels, but fewer higher budget productions will be greenlit in a given year. Consider the format and scale that best suits your proposal.

We are also open to looking at completed short-form series for consideration as acquisitions.

Audience

As explained above, our goal is to build a library that will engage Young Adults (13-18) and New Adults (18-24). We are comfortable with some series overlapping those two realms, but are also interested in programs that set out to deliberately attract one or the other.


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
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 ya@cbc.ca. To ensure your submission is received and properly reviewed, you must include the subject line 'YA Digital Original Series'.
 

 

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