Hot Docs reports US$25.5M economic impact for Ontario

The economic impact study from the organization also reported CAD$16.1 million (US$12.3 million) in Canadian business deals stemming from Hot Docs' 2015 industry programs.
October 7, 2015

The 2015 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and associated year-round activities run by the Hot Docs organization contributed a total of $33.3 million (US$25.5 million) to Ontario’s GDP, according to an economic impact report released by Hot Docs Tuesday (October 6).

This is the second time the organization behind the festival and the Toronto Hot Docs cinema have commissioned a study to measure the economic impact of its activities on Ontario. The first report, released in 2013, found Hot Docs contributed $29.9 million to Ontario’s GDP for that year.

Of the $33.3 million Hot Docs says it generated in GDP for 2015, $16.1 million was attributed to Canadian business deals stemming from Hot Docs’ slate of industry and market programs, such as Hot Docs Forum and Hot Docs Dealmaker. The 2013 edition of the economic impact study reported $16 million in Canadian business deals were done at that year’s festival.¬†While Hot Docs CEO Brett Hendrie¬†said this amount varies from year to year, 2015′s industry events did attract a number of high-caliber projects, and buyers were looking to sign deals.

“I think it is fair to say that the team was farther ahead of the game than we have been in other years in terms of tracking projects in development that we thought would be a good fit for buyers that come to Hot Docs. I think we were on the ball when it comes to our tracking and research,” Hendrie told Playback Daily.

The study also reported $6.4 million in attendee expenditure at the festival, as well as $6.6 million in industry delegate expenditure. The aforementioned spending, along with Hot Docs’ operating budget, brought the total estimated GDP contribution to Ontario up to $33.3 million. On a year-round basis, the study reported Hot Docs’ activities created 469 jobs and $14.4 million in tax revenue in 2015, in addition to its GDP contribution. The 2013 edition of the economic impact study found Hot Docs created 413 jobs and contributed $13 million in tax revenue.

In addition to GDP generation, the study looked at the festival’s impact on Toronto tourism. A total of 65% of the industry delegates were visitors to Toronto, with 41% of those delegates hailing from an international location. The study also found that 12.3% of the public attendees to the festival were visitors to Toronto, down from 17% in 2013.

Overall, the total estimated audience of the 2015 edition of the Hot Docs Festival was a record-breaking 200,500. A total of 2,400 people registered as delegates at the event, including 300 documentary buyers.

(From Playback Daily.)

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.