Sponsored by Export Quebec, Ville de Montréal and Canada Media Fund.

The opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Export Quebec, the City of Montreal or the Canada Media Fund. Export Québec, the City of Montréal and the Canada Media Fund are under no obligation to follow the recommendations contained in this document.

This document was prepared by Yuani Fragata and Francis Gosselin from Groupe Sage and Danielle Desjardins from La Fabrique de sens on behalf of Xn Québec (

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The aim of this study is to define the profile of a young and dynamic industrial sector, whose emergence over the past thirty years has been marked by accelerated growth in the last ten years.

The digital creativity sector is organized around the production – for commercial
purposes – of content and experiences using new technologies, the scope of which
has been amplified by the advent of the internet and the web.

In short, it is the first
portrait of a complex sector operating within a complex ecosystem whose main parameters are largely determined by major foreign transnational platforms.

Why “digital creativity”?

Creativity is the raw material of the sector profiled here,
while digital – though it it has become a catch-all word that can designate as many tools and means of communication as abstract concepts like revolution and culture – is also essential for talking about everything that is part of the DNA of the companies in our study, from technologies used, to production methods, distribution and dissemination, content and products.

In this sector, technology, creativity, and culture are closely linked, much more so than in any other cultural industry, where most of the processes, formats or business models depicted here did not even exist ten years ago. As a result, the
activities and companies of this new sector and its multiple ramifications are not compiled separately in the national statistics, but rather embedded by default in various sectors and sub-sectors.

The more traditional cultural sectors, such as television and film production, have benefited from strong government support which has historically helped to standardize business models and facilitated the compilation of consolidated data for these sectors. In the digital creativity sector, business models, business practices and financing methods are diversified and often unprecedented.

In this context, this first portrait of Quebec’s digital creativity sector is a basic profile, a snapshot of its current state that allows us to measure its vitality and to define indicators for its future development.


Quebec’s digital creativity industry: sector engaged in commercial activities that involve the production of content and experiences through computer tools and digital technologies.

Xn Québec (the Digital Experiences Producers Association), whose mission is to support the development, consolidation and outreach of digital creativity companies, has partnered with Alliance numérique and Coop La Guilde to carry out this study.
The mandate given: delineate the contours of the digital creativity industry, assess its economic importance in Quebec and identify its main needs and issues.

To achieve this, the authors of the study solicited the participation of the 270 member businesses from these 3 associations. Sixty-seven of them agreed to participate in a semi-structured interview. Respondents also received a link to an anonymous online survey that focused on more sensitive elements, including the financial dimension of their activities.

Based on the interviews conducted and the data collected through the anonymous survey, the following portrait of companies in the sector can be drawn:

Digital creativity is a dynamic sector that contributes C$1.2 Billion to Quebec’s economy and is growing at an annual rate of more than 13%. It consists of young companies with an average age of ten years, 20% of which are less than three years old

As a skilled jobs sector, it contributes to the creation of tens of thousands of direct jobs, and employment growth in the sector is increasing by more than 10% each year in Quebec.

  • It is a sector that depends on a variety of financing mechanisms, including public funds (subsidies and tax credits), but also self-financing through service activities.
  • Half of the companies in the sector are small, with less than 10 employees.

Several companies operate according to a hybrid model between original production and service production: 38% have been self-financing

35% of them are involved in only one activity, primarily in the video gaming and corporate communications (video production, communications and marketing) sectors, while 22% maintain five or more activities

The digital creativity sector has a strong growth:

  • Almost half of the companies had revenues of less than $ 500,000 in 2015, while today more than a third of them generate between $ 1M and $ 5M in annual billings.

The net profit margin reported by 42% of respondents exceeded 10% in 2018 (compared with only 20% of firms reaching this level in 2015)

Beyond production intended for the local Quebec market, the main export markets are North America and Europe to a lesser extent.

39% of the companies surveyed are present in China.

The markets outside Quebec that interest them most are North America and Europe. Among companies that are not present in China, less than 10% have expressed interest in this market.

In terms of the impact of the sector on the Quebec economy, the latest available data with a degree of granularity relatively close to that of our sample are those of the
“Interactive media” sub-category and date from 2016.

According to Statistics Canada, this grouping of activities:

  • contributes $ 5.437 billion to the Canadian economy and $ 1.128 billion to the Quebec economy;
  • experienced a cumulative growth of 62% from 2010 to 2016, a figure that remains consistent with the growth rate of 10% per year reported by the companies that responded to our survey, which is almost double that of the audiovisual sector in which it is attached (+ 35%) and quadruple to the broader sector of culture (+ 17%) over this period.

Unsurprisingly, the main issue identified by respondents is workforce, especially specialized labor. This challenge is expressed in terms of recruitment, retention and training.

Several executives interviewed also mentioned that the search for funding was complicated by the low level of understanding of the realities of the sector within public and private organizations.