Producer Area and Guidelines

Making Programs for VisionTV

VisionTV works with independent producers from Canada and around the world on a broad range of programming including documentary series and one-offs, lifestyle series, and music series and specials. We are committed to cultural diversity and the fair and accurate reflection of people of all faiths, cultures and races. We have very specific requirements. Please read this guide and do some of your own homework on our brand.

We are accepting proposals for the 2016/2017 broadcast year.

All series and one-off documentary, lifestyle and music program commitments have been made for VisionTV’s 2015 – 2016 broadcast year (Sept. 1-Aug. 31).

We receive up to 500 proposals per year and it may take us up to fifteen weeks or more to review your project.

Sections

Required Forms

Technical Specifications

Who We Are

VisionTV (ZoomerMedia, Television Division) serves the interests of Canada’s largest demographic, the 14.5 million Canadians who are 45 plus. We celebrate, enlighten and entertain Canadian Zoomers (Boomer Canadian demographic)

About 50% of the schedule is comprised of dramas, comedies, documentaries, music, information and current affairs programs – presented, produced, co-produced and acquired by VisionTV.

The other half of the schedule is produced and presented by approximately 90 faith groups. This programming ranges from the Daily Mass and Reflections on Islam, to Insight Into Sikhism and Context with Lorna Dueck.

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What We are Looking For

We are looking for programs that include:

  • Factual content that celebrates and informs Canada’s aging population. Including, lifestyle, hobbies, fitness, health, wellness and longevity.
  • Docs about science and aging, such as, stores about the Blue Zone, advances in science and tech to extend life, nature versus nurture in longevity.
  • Music programs featuring well known hymns and gospel music. Sing-a-long style hymn programs similar to the Vision TV Friday primetime music schedule currently.

Proposals can be submitted at any time following our submission guidelines and must include a signed release form. See Submission Guidelines and Release Form below.

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International Co-production and a Note to Non-Canadian Producers

Because of VisionTV’s licence requirement to broadcast Canadian content, all of our commissioned programming must carry Canadian content certification. This means that Canadian producers must be involved in a production for it to qualify as a true co-production meeting CAVCO and/or CRTC co-production guidelines.

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What We are NOT Looking for

  • Short films in any genre (less than 22 minutes)
  • Comedy Series
  • Drama series and dramatic feature films (unless it is an international co-pro)
  • Half hour, one-off programs in any genre

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Canadian Content Requirements

Virtually all of the documentary programming VisionTV broadcasts must qualify as Canadian content. This means that foreign producers must work with Canadian co-producers to achieve a qualifying rating on the CAVCO scale.

If you are a foreign producer with a Canadian partner, have a project you feel is appropriate to VisionTV and which qualifies for CAVCO, please feel free to send it. (Continue to read down for details.)

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Submitting a Proposal to VisionTV

What proposals must include:

  1. Submission date
  2. Program title
  3. Length — e.g. 22 (1/2 hr. slot), 45 (1 hr. slot), feature (specify length)
  4. Number of episodes
  5. Genre — e.g. documentary one off, mini-series or feature; docu-drama; lifestyle; music
  6. Region in which your company is located — e.g. Western (BC to Manitoba); Central (Ontario); Eastern (Quebec and Atlantic Provinces); North (northern territories)
  7. Co-Production (if applicable) — co-producing countries
  8. Strand (if applicable) e.g. I Prophesy
  9. Logline — a one-line description of the program/series
  10. Synopsis — a concise description of the program/series that fully conveys the creative treatment. Maximum 150 words.
  11. Treatment — includes the background, key issues, key characters and the access you have to them, host or investigator’s role (if applicable), the way the story will be told, the style and tone, the devices that will be used (e.g. narration, interviews, verite footage, archival stills or footage, CGI, re-enactments, graphics, etc.). Maximum four pages.
  12. Titles and short paragraph description of each episode for series
  13. Story arc or structure broken into acts (see break structure above)
  14. Low res photographs are welcome. (Feature photos for website should be 600 pixels x 380 pixels or larger.)
  15. CVs of the creative team — we are looking for clear proof that you and your team have the knowledge, qualifications and track record to make the project not only succeed but shine.
  16. Full contact information
  17. Preliminary budget top sheet (summary), finance plan and demo or trailer
  18. Release Form — Proposals MUST be submitted with a release form. Click the link to download and print the Release Form. Sign, scan and send as PDF with your proposal or send by fax to 416-368-9774.

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Meeting with Us

We frequently meet producers, most often after we have discussed an idea by phone or after they have sent an outline or complete written proposal. Given the volume of proposals we receive for consideration from across Canada, it can be difficult for us to find time to meet on spec. We are often at festivals, events and industry gatherings across the country where we participate in panels and pitch sessions.

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Where to Send Your Proposal

Proposals MUST be sent by email to: [email protected]

Hard copies are NOT required but if you wish, they may be mailed to:

Beverley Shenken
Vice President, Content / General Manager, Television Division
ZoomerMedia, Television Division
64 Jefferson Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M6K 1Y4

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What We Pay for Programming

Should your proposal be accepted, VisionTV would enter into a pre-sale license fee agreement for the project. Every project is different and there is no hard and fast rule. Pre-sale agreements, meaning agreements to license a project based on a written proposal submitted by an independent producer, can range anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 per hour, depending on the project. Click here for a complete list of all Funding Sources.

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Windows and Exclusivity

VisionTV requires a five-year period of exclusivity in Canada.

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Requirements Should Your Project be Accepted and Produced

  • Canadian content certification with a CAVCO and CRTC number
  • Errors and omissions insurance
  • Closed Captioning
  • Described video

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Important Notes

VisionTV has been acknowledged as Canada’s most exemplary broadcaster in terms of diversity. All of our programming conforms to the VisionTV Code of Ethics, Standards and Practices, and is consistent with fostering respect and tolerance of all faiths and cultures. We also actively seek to ensure that our programming reflects the full spectrum of cultures in Canada and provides a voice for the aging Canadian population.

VisionTV is a member in good standing of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and all programs must adhere to the standards established by that organization. In addition, VisionTV is required to comply with the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children. VisionTV also expects all programs to comply with CAB’s Sex-Role Portrayal Code for
Television and Radio Programming and CAB’s Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming.

VisionTV is an English language service and only accepts proposals and projects that originate in English.

Normally we respond to proposals in twelve to fifteen weeks or more. Please be patient as the number of proposals to be read and tapes to be screened can be overwhelming for our limited staff. Please do not expect “rush treatment”. Exceptions cannot be made to meet other funding deadlines. If you know of a deadline coming up, you can best ensure that it is met by submitting your proposal a minimum of fifteen weeks in advance.

Unsolicited proposals and tapes are not returned, so do not send us your original copies.

We recognize that all ideas or projects presented in written form have been submitted in confidence by the independent producer and undertake not to pass any information about ideas or proposals to any third party without first obtaining consent. Please also be aware that ideas submitted to us may be similar or identical to those already developed by VisionTV or which others have already submitted. We accept no responsibility for duplication of ideas.

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Legal Waiver

In submitting a proposal or idea to VisionTV (whether via email, phone, mail, courier, hand delivery, tape, CD or a face to face meeting) you understand that VISION will not make any use of the proposal or idea that you are submitting to us except under the terms of an agreement to be negotiated between us.

You acknowledge and agree that our receipt and review of your proposal or idea does not mean that your proposal or idea or the underlying concept therein is unique or original. Similarly, you acknowledge and agree that VISION, or other persons, may have previously created or may in the future independently create something that is substantially similar or identical to your proposal or idea, which we will have the unrestricted right to use with no liability or obligation to you.

You have retained a copy of the Materials submitted to us and release us from liability for loss or damage to such Materials. The Materials submitted by you will not be returned. All of the above applies equally to any proposal or idea you have in the past or may in the future submit to us.

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