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Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC)

Programming Profile

Quebec content surfs the wave of international demand


Louise Lantagne, president and CEO of SODEC, celebrates a good year for Québec content exports and looks ahead to a fruitful trip to Content London for a large delegation of companies from the Canadian province.


The return of Québec cultural export agency SODEC to Content London this month comes after a banner year for series from the French-speaking Canadian province.


Québec series have garnered an impressive number of nominations and awards at prestigious festivals and international markets this year. Dramedy The Last Summer of the Raspberries won the award for best miniseries at the Seoul International Drama Awards, while series Audrey’s Back and Complètement Lycée also won awards at Canneseries in April and Pour toi Flora was a recent winner at the Diversity TV Awards at Mipcom and is nominated for the International Drama Awards at Content London.


Louise Lantagne, SODEC

On top of all that, Québec was the guest of honour at this year’s Festival de la Fiction de La Rochelle and Pixcom series Les Affluents (Tributaries) is set to feature as part of the Hot Properties session at Content London later this month.


Sales have also blossomed this year. Several Québec series were recently acquired by streamers Netflix (Les Filles de Caleb, Pour Sarah, Trauma) and Amazon (Marguerite Volant, Summers of our Lives), while drama La Faille (The Wall) continues to conquer new territories, including France, Spain, the US and Australia. Bell Media also sold three of its original fictional series to more than seven countries while the series Dark Soul, produced by Encore Television, was sold into more than 100 countries.


It also seems that a Québec series is now must-have for any distributor’s catalogue, with the likes of Red Arrow Studios International, Beta Film, Mediawan Rights, Bavaria Media, Oble and Wild Bunch TV all recently picking up Québec content for distribution.


“Opportunities are multiplying for Québec content, as platforms are opening their doors to more international content and are now offering content with subtitles. We are noticing a growing interest from international buyers and distributors. In short, with the high level of interest from international markets and festivals, it seems that Québec has the wind in its sails,” says Louise Lantagne, president and CEO of SODEC.


Western Europe seems to be the most active market for Québec series, with France and Germany showing the greatest interest. The UK, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and Spain are also promising markets for content from the province, as well as the US. “Asia remains a market with strong potential, one worth exploring,” adds Lantagne.


The backdrop to this growth is the boom in streaming services, which allow a wider variety of programming to be discovered compared to the schedules of traditional linear broadcasters or pay TV services.


“Streaming must now be part of the business development strategies of Québec companies,” advises Lantagne. “The big players are hard to reach, a challenge also faced by companies in many other countries. But beyond these players, a multitude of other platforms are looking for interesting and original content to display that can be subtitled. Québec content meets this demand perfectly.”


Surfing the wave of demand for international content in foreign languages, Québec producers are managing to successfully go global due to their creative writers and other talent, says Lantagne. “Québec creators know how to tell a good story, they surround themselves with talented directors and producers, and they can count on a solid technical expertise.”


Not to mention support from SODEC. The Montréal-based agency offers Québec producers financial assistance that allows them to propel themselves forward and contributes to their development on international markets. Over to Lantagne to explain how this works:


“SODEC’s role is to promote and support the Québec audiovisual industry internationally, assist it in exporting its products, contribute to its international reputation, and create bridges with distributors, producers, buyers, broadcasters and partners in other countries to facilitate meetings,” she says.


“We fulfill this role by organising delegations and sponsoring Québec’s collective presence at all major international markets, funding attendance at festivals, mounting showcases for television series and supporting companies through our various export assistance programmes. We are beginning to see the benefits of these efforts, which started prior to the pandemic. There is real momentum currently happening internationally for Québec series.”


At Content London 2022, for example, SODEC is accompanying the Québec delegation to the event, which includes – among others – 10 companies that will be showcased in collaboration with C21: Attraction, Duo Productions, Encore Television Distribution, Incendo Media, KOTV, Muse, Pixcom, Productions Avenida, Sphere Media and Zone3.


If 2022 was a banner year for Québec content exports, what will 2023 bring? With the growth of new OTT platforms and free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels, not to mention a new regulatory landscape in Canada, Lantagne sees even more upside.


“Among the big trends in the industry, we see the ever-growing presence of streaming platforms moving like tectonic plates; all the new deals for FAST channels; recognition of the importance of preserving IP rights for creators; and, in the Canadian context, the new Bill C-11 which includes royalties from the streaming platforms.”


All in all, it’s a good time for Québec producers to re-connect with the international market.

More programming profiles

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