Are productions that are only exhibited on online platforms eligible for OCASE?
To receive the OCASE tax credit for computer animation and special effects activities on a production, the production must have been certified under the OFTTC or the OPSTC.
For the OFTTC, where principal photography began before November 1, 2022, a production must be broadcast on television, or shown theatrically. Productions shown exclusively on online platforms are not eligible for the OFTTC if principal photography began before November 1, 2022.
Regulatory amendments were made August 24, 2023 to extend eligibility for the film and television tax credits to productions released exclusively online where principal photography began on or after November 1, 2022. Where principal photography began on or after that date, a production must be made for commercial exploitation by one or more of the following:
- theatrical distribution: productions shown commercially in cinemas;
- Television broadcast: productions made available via traditional television broadcast in a scheduled timeslot; or
- Alternative Means: productions made available online (download or streaming), by video-on-demand, or on physical media (e.g., DVD).
So a production shown exclusively on an online platform will be eligible for the OFTTC if it began principal photography on or after November 1, 2022 and meets the additional requirements for productions exhibited by alternative means.
For the OPSTC, productions that are only exhibited online are eligible. Where principal photography began before November 1, 2022, the production must be exhibited online through a service which provides content to the end user for a purchase, license or subscription fee. Examples of such over-the-top streaming services are Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Under the regulatory amendments of August 24, 2023, productions where principal photography began on or after November 1, 2022, are not subject to these restrictions, so for example, productions exhibited only on advertising-based video-on-demand (AVOD) or fee ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) would also be eligible.