Telefilm Canada is launching a pilot program to encourage film distributors to incorporate social media and online tools in their marketing campaigns.

Web-Ciné 360 will initially be limited to French-language titles that have been financed by the agency and are six to eights away from a traditional theatrical launch.  

Distributors can access an interest-free, repayable advance capped at 75 per cent of allowable costs to a maximum of $46.8m (C$50,000). This will cover the cost of an online marketing and advertising, include keywords and banner campaigns and search engine optimisation. The funds can also be used to create content for social network sites and blogs, as well as fees for personnel to maintain activity. To be repaid, 75% of the costs must be incurred in Canada.

In return the agency is expecting to see measurable results. Among its list of expected results are visitor/usage statistics, analysis of effectiveness — if any — on the next phase of the film’s marketing and, more crucially, online access to the analysis tools for Telefilm.

Michel Pradier, Telefilm Canada’s director of project financing, said: “Social media tools and the web have enormous potential when it comes to promoting Canadian films. Encouraging distributors to make better use of online marketing tools should produce convincing box-office results. Throughout the roll-out of this new initiative, we will work closely with industry representatives to help them develop or perfect their knowledge of social media, to help them maximise their projects’ impact.”