Policies & Standards

Digital video & podcast submission guidelines

Short Form Digital Video and Podcasts

Social Short Video

Outside of documentary digital media projects, TVO also works with independent journalists and producers to create digital social video.

Main priorities of digital social video include:

  • Highly visual and shareable content
  • Preferable durations of 4:45 minutes or under
  • Preference given to digital videos series or content of an ongoing nature
  • Follows best practices for the platform intended, such as YouTube, Instagram or TikTok
  • Explains complex topics in a succinct manner
  • Strong personalized point of view that is fact-based
  • Content elicits emotion, surprise, or practical usefulness
  • Follows journalistic practices of fairness and factual accuracy

Examples include:

To pitch a short digital video idea briefly outline your idea focusing on why your story idea will engage an audience. Include a budget and timeline.

Submissions for Short Form Video and Podcasts can be emailed to:

Laurie Few, lfew@tvo.org



TVO is growing our podcast content and will consider select proposals. We are looking for inspired concepts and engaging content that is smart, emotional and inclusive.

What is your podcast idea and how does it leverage the strengths of audio storytelling?

If your podcast already exists, what would you like to gain from a partnership with TVO?

To send a proposal, write a one-page outline that considers the following:

  • What is your idea? Give us a short, strong statement on what it’s all about
  • What is the format?
  • Is there a host? If yes, who?
  • Who is your audience?
  • How would your work experience or personal background support your podcast vision?
  • What is your timeline and budget? This doesn’t need to be very detailed but there should be some consideration of this in your proposal.

Examples include:

If you have further questions, contact: 

Laurie Few, lfew@tvo.org

Acquisitions & Pre-Buys

Program Acquisition Policy

Besides producing and commissioning content, TVO acquires content in the areas of current affairs, drama, history, science, arts, biography and other genres. Acquired programs will generally contribute to TVO’s educational mandate. For example, a doc or series may reflect issues of justice, politics, diversity, leadership, education, social mores, community development and history. From time to time, TVO may acquire programs that do not fulfill those mandates, but are of exceptional quality, not easily available, and likely to engage TVO’s audience. If there is sensitive content in any TVO program, TVO will provide viewer advisory messages.

International Documentaries

TVO acquires and pre-buys one-hour and feature-length international documentaries that are thought provoking and inspiring explorations of social issues from around the world, created by the world's finest filmmakers. License fees, license period, number of plays, exclusivity, digital streaming and other terms vary. Works-in-progress and finished films are considered.

  • White Right: Meeting the Enemy
  • Stonewall: Paving the Way to Gay Pride
  • The Art of Un-War
  • Honeyland
  • I am Not Your Negro
  • Muslim in America: Legacy of Fear
  • Becoming Black
  • Hillbilly
  • President
  • Murdered by a Mob: The Killing of Bijan Ebrahimi

Submission inquiries for International Documentaries can be sent to: 

Naomi Boxer, nboxer@tvo.org

Please include a short description of the film in the body of the email. No large email attachments please.

Please allow up to eight weeks for a response. 


TVO's prime-time science programming features hour-long Canadian and international documentaries that focus on cutting-edge scientific and technological discoveries which explore all facets of the natural and scientific world that have impact on Canadian lives.

In wide-ranging titles include:

  • Wonders of the Moon
  • Peter: The Human Cyborg
  • Stutter School
  • Colour: The Spectrum of Science
  • Great Blue Wild

Though science is primarily acquisitions-based, a limited number of Canadian and international pre-buys may be funded each year.

Submissions for Science Documentaries can be emailed to: 

Christine Lee, clee@tvo.org or Naomi Boxer, nboxer@tvo.org

Allow up to eight weeks for a response.


TVO's History programming presents hour-long documentaries that examine events of national and international historical significance for both prime-time and family audiences.

From acclaimed series such as The Dictator’s Playbook and Canadian documentaries such as The Fruit Machine, to international co-productions such as Lady Sapiens, to the multi award-winning series Once Upon a Time in Iraq, TVO seeks out the best in probing and provocative history programming from around the globe.

While acquisitions dominate the strand, a limited number of Canadian and international pre-buys may be funded each year.

Submissions for History Documentaries may be emailed to: 
Christine Lee, clee@tvo.org

Allow up to eight weeks for a response.


TVO acquires arts documentaries that explore the life, work, and creative process of influential painters, photographers, architects, writers, musicians and filmmakers considered eminent in their in their respective fields. This programming is both Canadian and international in scope. License fees, license period, number of plays, exclusivity, digital media streaming and other terms vary. Hour-long and feature-length works-in-progress and finished films considered.

Past and current titles include:

  • Kusama: Infinity
  • Toni Morrison: Pieces I Am
  • The Capote Tapes
  • Magical Imperfection: The Life and Architecture of Raymond Moriyama
  • Denise Ho: Becoming the Song
  • Latin Noir
  • What She Said - The Art of Pauline Kael
  • Art Detectives
  • Looking for Rembrandt
  • Paula Rego - Secrets and Stories
  • 1001 Nights Apart
  • Capturing Lee Miller
  • A Stitch in Time

Submission inquiries for arts documentaries may be emailed to: 

Naomi Boxer, nboxer@tvo.org 

Please include a short description of the film in the body of the email.  No large email attachments please.

Please allow up to eight weeks for a response.