Community TV Broadcast License

Northwestel Community TV Submission Requirements for projects requesting a Broadcast License

A “Broadcast License” is a commitment by a broadcaster to purchase your program under the terms and conditions to which you both agree. A broadcast license is often the trigger for other funding agencies like the Canadian Media Fund (CMF), the NWT Film Commission or Yukon Media Development to come on-board with financial support of your project.

NOTE – It is not necessary for you to acquire CMF funding for your project to be successful, but for larger scale projects it remains one of the few viable funding sources in Canada. Northwestel will consider any viable project with or without CMF funding.

For the 2016-17 funding year, the Canadian Media Fund (CMF) re-newed its support for community television in the North being recognized as a viable broadcast entity and also increased the funding percentage for the Northern Production Incentive. The CMF stated in 2015:

“For this incentive only, as a pilot initiative, the CMF now considers “Canadian broadcaster” to include community channels operating in Nunavut, Yukon or the Northwest Territories. No minimum License Fee Threshold amount is required for projects with Eligible Licence Fees from community channels operating in Nunavut, the Yukon Territory or the Northwest Territories.”

In order to take advantage of this supportive situation for Northern TV producers, the following is an outline of:

  1. a)  How to proceed with your submission to Northwestel Community TV for a broadcast license, and
    b)  How to apply for the CMF funding through its Northern Production Incentive.

Northwestel Community TV will have intake deadlines for programming proposals in the coming year for projects that may or may not take advantage of additional CMF or Territorial funding:

February 15, 2017 / August 1, 2017

All program proposals requesting funding from Northwestel and/or a broadcast license must be submitted during these intake periods.

NOTE – It is not necessary for you to acquire CMF funding for your project to be successful, but for larger scale projects it remains one of the few viable funding sources in Canada. Northwestel will consider any viable project with or without CMF funding.

YUKON PRODUCERS – Additional funding may be available due to joint funding with the Yukon Government for CMF-funded projects. Click here for more details.

STEP 1 – Familiarize yourself with the CMF guidelines

If you would like a Northwestel Community TV broadcast license in order to trigger CMF funding, it is necessary for the project to meet ALL the CMF requirements so start by familiarizing yourself with those guidelines.

The CMF application and reporting process is detailed and can be time-consuming, so be prepared to take part in that activity through to completion. As well, the CMF has strict guidelines of the types of programs it will support, so make sure your project is within that scope.

You can contact CMF directly for more information and discuss your project with them. Pre-approval by CMF before any application for a broadcast license will be helpful in your overall process.

Some notes about the Northern Production Incentive and CMF funding in general based on their 2016-17 guidelines for projects funded through northern Community Television:

  • Through the Northern Production Incentive, CMF will put in 30% of the total project budget to a maximum of $200,000 leaving an additional 70% of financing required. The Television Component must be 100% financed at application (including the Northern Production Incentive and any other CMF financing).
  • All projects must conform to CMF guidelines and definitions (such as the CMF definition of a documentary and other genres) to be eligible.
  • Projects must meet the CRTC definition of a Canadian production.
  • Projects must include a Television Component and one or more Digital Media Components:
    •  VOD presentation of the Television Component
    • Digital distribution of the Television Component
    • or any combination of these three.
    • All Applicants must abide by the Accounting and Reporting Requirements (ARR) of the CMF and follow applicable business policies as created and amended from time to time.
      •  Business policies, including the ARR, may be found in Appendix B of these Guidelines and are also available from the CMF website at Information included in Appendices A and B is an integral part of these Guidelines.  New reporting and accounting guidelines are being released in late April so stay tuned to that critical information.
      • Only incorporated companies are eligible to apply to CMF.


STEP 2 – Submit a proposal to Northwestel Community TV for a broadcast license

These guidelines cover a broadcast license application for the production or post-production phase of a project. See below for guidelines for applying for CMF development funding through Northwestel Community TV.

If you would like to receive a broadcast license from Northwestel Community TV, please begin by familiarizing yourself with our channels and our policies. Only projects within the scope of our channel policies will be considered.

To submit a proposal for consideration, please use the following as a guideline of required materials:

  1. Project Proposal.
  • A two-to-three page outline of the project itself. Please describe the story, characters, locations, themes, format in as much detail as possible.
  • Project team details. If possible, please include Bios/CVs of key contributors (including but not limited to the Producer, Director, Writers) to the project. Demo-reels and samples of participants work will aid the application. Complete contact info for the main applicant is also required.
  • Proposed final delivery and any special terms you are requesting for licensing on Northwestel Community TV (i.e. non-exclusive license, limited time-frame, first and second window terms).
  • Your proposed detailed production and delivery schedule.
  1. Rough budget (CMF format preferred) including the amount you are asking from Northwestel for the license.  Budget to include:
  • Proposed financing structure, noting which other funding sources are confirmed (if known) or the date you expect a decision to be made on funding.
  1. Chain of title, showing the applicant has the appropriate rights to the story prior to production.


Applying to Northwestel Community TV for Development Funding

Northwestel Community TV has the ability to trigger CMF development funding for projects under similar terms and conditions as the production funding with no minimum threshold for support required. Again, only projects within the scope of our channel policies will be considered and only experienced producers will be considered for funding.

Please contact us directly to discuss any application for development funding.


For questions, clarification or more information, please contact:

Chris McNutt
Manager, Northwestel Community TV
Ph: 867 393 7669


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