6 min read

Interactive Digital Media Fund: 2016 Edition

Looking for funding for your next project? Ontario Media Development Corporation’s Interactive Digital Media Fund's deadline is May 9, 2016!

Ontario Media Development Corporation’s Interactive Digital Media Fund has a deadline coming up on May 9, 2016. Starting in 2016, there are two deadlines per year. The second is October 11, 2016.


The best piece of advice is to read the IDM Fund Guidelines ( and then email Kim Gibson ([email protected]), a Program Consultant for Interactive Digital Media at OMDC.


Discuss with Kim whether or not you and your project are eligible before spending time on the application. If you’re not eligible this time around, plan ahead for the next deadline. If you applied before and have didn’t receive funding, ask her for feedback, and apply again!

In 2015, up to Six Million Dollars was available. Here’s a list of who got funding -


Want to be on the list next time around? Keep reading!


While the Government of Ontario promised to provide Ten Million Dollars per year starting in 2016, not all going to recipients of the Concept Definition and Production program.


However, the money has increased substantially for IDM Fund recipients, which is great news for Ontario game companies… among other potentially eligible applicants, including producers of web series.


A key criteria which has been clarified in the 2016 Guidelines is with respect to the “3 years of experience” rule. This has been a stumbling block for some of my clients in past, and is one of main eligibility considerations.


The Guidelines provide that “established companies” (as defined in the Guidelines) must have at least one owner or full-time employee with a minimum full-time equivalent of three years of experience in the creation of content for interactive platforms, networks or devices. “New companies” (as defined in the Guidelines) must have an executive team with the at least one owner or full-time employee with a minimum full-time equivalent of three years of professional experience in the publishing or interactive digital media content production industries.


The practical bottom line is that at least one key person with the relevant 3 years of experience must also have a vested interest – either an ownership stake or be a full time employee. Ideally, there are multiple people on your team with a vested interest as owners and full time employees, each with a substantial track record. If you’re relying on passing this threshold by putting forward a person with sufficient experience who has 1 non-voting share (which qualifies her as an owner), but who is not going to actually help the business, you met the eligibility requirement, but you won’t be competitive. You want to be competitive!


While the amendments between the 2015 and 2016 Guidelines were clarifications, one adjustment is that for the Concept Definition program, projects cannot earn revenue via beta testing during the concept definition phase. This wasn’t set in stone in the 2015 Guidelines. The take-away is that the IDM Fund won’t support a game that is being distributed on Steam’s Early Access program ( If you’re beta-testing on Steam, you’re passed the Concept Definition stage scope and into the Production program’s scope.


The Guidelines provide that the IDM Fund will not support a project that has commenced prior to application, and that expenses incurred prior to submission of the application are not eligible.


For the Concept Definition program, if you’re working on concept definition activities (such as prototype creation, business planning and market research) the company can still apply for Concept Definition funding. However, the submitted budget must only cover expenses incurred as of the date that the application is being submitted. Also, the activities for which the company is seeking funding must be distinct from what has already been done. However, that distinction might be separate phases of a specific broad concept definition activity. Not certain about this? Talk to Kim to discuss your situation!


Once applicant and project eligibility have been confirmed, applications will be assessed according to the following criteria. The percentages vary between the Concept Definition and Production programs. Check out the Guidelines for specific percentage allocations.


  • Track record of the applicant company and production team
  • Benefit to the Ontario economy - opportunity for enhanced company revenue and growth, Ontario labour spend, leveraging of other contributions, value of Ontario expenditures
  • Feasibility of the project, accuracy of the budget, financing and project schedule
  • Quality, innovation, and creativity of the project
  • Potential for positive impact on the company’s growth (Concept Definition) / Potential for critical and commercial success and revenue generation (Production)


Some key takeaway’s regarding these criteria:

  • You will score points if you’re hiring Ontarians now with the potential to hire more.
  • Regarding the seemingly subjective “Quality, innovation (formerly “original”), and creativity” criteria is that you can control perception by doing a great job at presenting elements such as case studies to competitive analysis. Also, be realistic about what you’re accomplishing in the grand scheme of things.
  • Demonstrating how this funding will affect your company in a positive way is a positive move.


While new companies and first-time applicants are required to contact OMDC in advance to determine their eligibility, all applicants are encouraged to contact Kim and the rest of the IDM Fund team in advance.


Lastly, it’s extremely key to describe your project clearly. Get people, both gamers and non-gamers alike, to read the application. If they don’t understand your vision, it’s more likely that your vision of getting funded won’t happen… at least not through the support of this fund!


Better read those IDM Fund Guidelines, and call Kim and the team if you plan to apply. Do that now. Get funding! When you need entertainment legal services to help ensure your intellectual property is protected and to provide assistance with your lucrative distribution deals, better call me J



Byron Pascoe is a lawyer with Edwards PC, Creative LawThis boutique law firm provides legal services to Digital Media, Game, TV, Film, Animation, Music and Software industry clients. For more info and blogs, please visit


© 2016 Edwards PC


* This post is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Please contact Edwards PC, Creative Law or another lawyer, if you wish to apply these concepts to your specific circumstances.

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