Canada has a long tradition of producing popular and award-winning audio-visual programming for children’s and youth audiences; a tradition that stretches back more than six decades to the National Film Board’s first forays in educational documentary and animation production in the 1940s. Canadians are among the best in the world at generating content across all media platforms from television to Internet and mobile devices. Canadians are well known for bringing entertaining live-action and animation programming to viewers around the world – programming that reflects Canadian values and diversity, enriches the lives of young Canadians, and offers international audiences a view into Canadian culture. Despite this tradition, the genre and the industry built around it in Canada face a number of challenges. The industry has just come through a period of declining levels of output, dropping average budgets, and decreasing share of public and public-private funding.
There are very good social, cultural and economic cases to be made for the increased support for the creation of children’s and youth programming in Canada. And yet, the genre is no longer a priority. Children’s and youth programming is coming second and there is no good reason why it should. The purpose of this study is to report on the social, cultural and economic strengths of children’s and youth programming, and at the same time, bring attention to the many challenges that the genre faces today.