Industry News

Seeking GameON: Finance volunteers

We are seeking a few great volunteers to assist us at GameON: Finance on November 20 & 21 with things such as mic running, directing delegates, registration and more. This is a fantastic opportunity for students or recent grads looking to break into the game industry. Interested potential volunteers should fill in our application form.  

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Introducing IO member This Space Works

If you lease an office you're paying for that space even when the boardroom door is locked and it sits unused. But a new Toronto company is trying to change that. Launched by two Canadian women, This Space Works is to meeting rooms what Airbnb is to apartments and Uber is to cars. It is a service that connects people who have extra work spaces - even if it's just for one afternoon

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IO ED discusses the business of games on the PROFIT BusinessCast

IO Executive Director Christa Dickenson appeared on the PROFIT BusinessCast last week to discuss the business of games and our GameON: Finance conference. Listen to the podcast here

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IO article on Ontario IDM career opportunities

Interactive Ontario Executive Director Christa Dickenson contributed to a just-released digital feature on Ontario careers. The article focuses on the diversity of careers available to those looking to work in interactive digital media in Ontario. Read the full article here

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The Digi Awards is Bringing Back the Purple Carpet Preshow & Wants YOU to Host!

The Digi Awards is an annual showcase of remarkable companies, products and creatives in Canada who are making waves in the digital media industry in fields like video, marketing, advertising, mobile and gaming. Their new contest will give one winner a chance to host the Purple Carpet and interview the best-of-the-best in digital content and distribution. Find out how to enter here

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GameON: Finance 2014 schedule now available!



The schedule and session descriptions for GameON: Finance 2014 are now available! We've extended the deadline for Early Bird tickets to October 7th so you can peruse our fantastic lineup and then take advantage of our best rate.

Sessions include:

Opening Keynote
A Conversation with Mikko Setala, Executive Vice President at Rovio Animation

The Financial Players
Venture capital players from around the world discuss what kinds of deals they see, and what kinds of deals they close.

To Interactivity and Beyond: The Gamification of Documentaries
A Conversation Between Navid Khonsari and Gerry Flahive

Building new markets BRIC by BRIC
A case study on how North American companies are working with companies in Asia - and not losing their shirt over copyright infringement.

Case Study: New Tools, New Directions
How gamers are working with new technologies and how Oculus Rift is changing the direction of gaming. Speakers from Secret Location will break down their Oculus Rift "Sleepy Hollow" project with Fox.

and many others - see the full list here!

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Interactive Ontario releases International Digital Media Co-Production: A Guide for Canadian Companies



Today Interactive Ontario launched a new report designed to guide Canadian interactive digital media (IDM) producers in taking advantage of the opportunities to create collaborative productions with producers in other jurisdictions. International Digital Media Co-Production: A Guide for Canadian Companies [PDF] was created in association with DEEP Inc and Amythos Media, with funding from the Ontario Media Development Corporation, Canada Media Fund and Bell Fund.

The report serves as a comprehensive guide for Canadian companies wishing to collaborate with content creators in other markets. It outlines the reasons a Canadian company may choose a co-production - such as addressing financing gaps, being able to take on projects of a larger scope and having access to new audiences - as well as some of the challenges they may face.

Additionally the report provides actionable information on funding sources to explore in Australia, France, Germany, United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Read the report in English here [PDF] and French here

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Announcing the first wave of GameON: Finance 2014 speakers, with keynotes from Rovio and SuperData Research

The GameON: Finance conference will welcome international games industry leaders and Ontario success stories to the stage on November 20 & 21, 2014. Now in its seventh year, GameON: Finance takes place this year at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library. 

The first wave of speakers has just been announced and represents a selection of creators, producers, executives and entrepreneurs who will offer insights into the ever-changing business of video games. 

Keynotes
Mikko Setala - Rovio
Mikko Setala of Angry Birds creator Rovio will offer insights gleaned from an extensive background in gaming entrepreneurship. In addition to his role as President of Rovio's North American subsidiaries, he is also an angel investor and has worked as an executive in major software companies and also as the CEO of a listed company.

Joost van Dreunen - SuperData Research
Joost van Dreunen was one of the first academics to study video games and has over fifteen years of commercial research experience in interactive entertainment and technology industries. Anticipating the shift to digital games early on, he founded SuperData in 2009. 

Panelists and Presenters

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Interactive Ontario launches Mapping Ontario's Digital Economy (MODE) project



Interactive Ontario, with the financial support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, is pleased to launch Mapping Ontario's Digital Economy (MODE), a project designed to offer a comprehensive picture of Ontario's interactive digital media (IDM) industry. 

The MODE project has mapped the almost 1000 companies creating IDM content in Ontario, allowing for a visual representation of where the province's main IDM clusters occur. The top 3 cities for IDM content production are Toronto, Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo, with significant activity in London, Hamilton, St. Catharines/Niagara Falls. 

Companies are encouraged to take part in the project by completing enhanced data, such as company size, lines of business, job categories and more. By participating, companies will help complete a picture of the industry that will allow for more effective policy and funding solutions for this sector. IDM contributes 17,000 full-time equivalent jobs and $1.3b in revenues annually to Ontario's economy. Ontario's IDM industry encompasses a wide variety of companies in subsectors such as video games, eLearning, kids' interactive media, mobile, online content production and more. 

View the map and directory at idm.interactiveontario.com. On October 8th, Interactive Ontario will present MODE at the Interact networking mixer from 6-8pm at Bar Italia (582 College Street, Toronto). 

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Game Pill pens case study of Tanked

IO member Game Pill has done a case study for Casual Connect magazine on their highly successful companion app for Animal Planet's Tanked series, which follows a family-owned aquarium manufacturing company. 


The case study outlines Game Pill's development process for the game, which hit the top 10 paid games on the App Store. Learn about the opportunities and challenges that came with the project here

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Announcing GameON: Finance 2014

Now entering its seventh year, GameON: Finance returns on November 20 & 21, 2014 in Toronto. Early bird tickets are on sale now.

The conference offers panels, presentations, keynotes, 1x1 meetings and receptions that give games industry entrepreneurs and investors the chance to network and share knowledge. 

GameON: Finance provides a crash course in the ways that gaming content is currently being monetized as well as insights into trends and opportunities as business models continue to evolve.

Programming is guided by an Advisory Committee of experts from leading companies, ensuring it addresses the issues of interest to the industry.

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Independent Producer Program open for November intake

The fully-funded Independent Producer Program is looking for candidates interested in starting for its popular and successful annual program. This 10 month program supported by the government gives up to the minute industry information and mentorship to EI eligible individuals who wish to start a business in content production for TV, web, gaming or any screen-based content. The first mandatory info sessions are full, but spots are available for Sept 3, 2014. The program starts in November and application process has commenced.


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Communication Arts Interactive Competition Call for Entries

Communication Arts magazine, a professional journal for those involved in visual communications, announces its 21st annual Interactive Competition Call for Entries. The deadline for submissions is October 3, 2014.

This juried competition celebrates the best work being done for the Web, DVD, interactive kiosk and handheld devices. Student work is now being accepted for 2015.

Chosen by a jury of distinguished programmers, interface designers and creative directors, the selected entries will be distributed worldwide in the Communication Arts Interactive Annual, both in print and on the iPad, and on commarts.com.

Submission Guidelines and FAQs can be found at: commarts.com/competitions/interactive Past winners can be viewed online at: commarts.com/annuals/interactive

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Submit by August 22 for Canadian Screen Awards digital categories

Submissions are now open for digital media categories at the Canadian Screen Awards. If you have a project that is cross-platform or produced specifically for digital distribution, apply by the new deadline of August 22, 2014 for the chance to be nominated in one of seven digital categories. Learn more and apply at submissions.academy.ca


In addition, Louis Calabro from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the organization behind the awards, will be on hand at our Interact on August 13th to answer any last minute questions you may have. 

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Premier Kathleen Wynne visits Ubisoft Toronto

On July 17, Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Brad Duguid and MPP Cristina Martins visited IO member Ubisoft Toronto. With support from the province, Ubisoft opened a Toronto production studio in 2009, followed by a state-of-the-art performance capture facility. The Premiere touted Ubisoft's valued role in Ontario's economy saying, "By partnering with businesses like Ubisoft, we are creating the right climate to attract investment, create jobs and show the global economy what Ontario can do."

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Canadian Videogame Awards 2014 nominations open

The Canadian Videogame Awards will be coming to Toronto for the first time this year and honouring games from both 2013 and 2014. Award submissions for 2014 games are now open. Submit your games by August 31 for the chance to be recognized at this high-profile event.

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The Digis are back - Awarding Canada's digital leaders

Canada's annual showcase of incredible people and projects making waves in the digital media industry returns this fall. From video content, to marketing and advertising, to digital technologies, the Digi Awards will honour the country's top digital leaders.



Eligible entries include projects made by Canadian companies and individuals that are released between June 1, 2013 and September 1, 2014.  Entries based on media properties beyond Canada are eligible provided the project itself is produced by a Canadian entity.  



All entries are reviewed by a panel of well-known community leaders, influencers, technology experts, and content programmers from across the country, who will determine Canada's next digital leaders. Previous nominees include major media properties such as Murdoch Mysteries, Rookie Blue, The Amazing Race, Wild Kratts, and Continuum along with projects featuring major brands such as Volkswagon, Samsung, Skittles, and Kokanee.



In addition to the awards show, nominees will receive an all-access pass to nextMEDIA 3.0, featuring a roster of programming that reflects the trends of digital technologies, marketing and measurements, digital entertainment, and more. 



This year's Digi Awards will take place on November 11, 2014 at the MaRS Discovery District where we will celebrate the very best in the digital media landscape.

 Deadline to apply is September 12, 2014.  Apply today at nextmedia3-0.com

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Dr. Sara Diamond renewed as OCAD U President and Vice-Chancellor

On June 19, OCADU announced that Dr. Sara Diamond - a valued member of the Interactive Ontario Board of Directors - will be renewed for a third five-year term as President and Vice-Chancellor. The new term will begin on July 1, 2015. 

Dr. Diamond has facilitated the university's transition to a leader in the digital world through programs such as the Digital Futures Initiative, which integrates traditional and digital technology and teaching, as well as the Digital Media Research + Innovation Institute. 

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IWCC releases report on Ontario webseries industry

The Independent Webseries Creators of Canada has issued a new report on webseries creation in Ontario. The report highlights the high volume of webseries in Ontario - many critically acclaimed and award-winning - as well as the challenges to address around the financing of webseries. Read the report here

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Phantom Compass signs with ATLUS for Rollers of the Realm


IO member Phantom Compass has signed with award-winning publisher ATLUS for the release of their pinball-meets-RPG Rollers of the Realm. This exciting news means that the game will not only be released on PC, as originally planned, but will also come to the PS Vita and PS4. 

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marblemedia partners with Cirque du Soleil Media

IO member and cross-platform producer marblemedia has announced a partnership with Cirque du Soleil Media, a joint venture between the world-renowned Quebec-based Cirque du Soleil and Bell Media. The development deal will see the two companies develop three projects including a mini-series, a one hour drama and a live-television musical event. We look forward to seeing the result of the collaboration between these unique and innovative companies. 

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Google Community Grants for registered Canadian charities

Google Canada offers community grants for local organizations in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and Montreal that are making a difference. These community grants supports organizations and initiatives that focus on supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for underrepresented communities, increasing internet adoption, promoting online safety and digital literacy or greening our communities. 

The application for Google Community Grants is currently open with an application deadline of June 30th.  If you are or know of an organization that has a project underway in one of the areas listed, please go to one of our three Community Grant Program application sites: 


In order to be eligible for the Google Canada Community Grant Program, an organization must be a registered Canadian charity. If you know of an organization fits these guidelines, please encourage them to submit a proposal today! 

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Interactive Ontario looks forward to continued collaboration with Government of Ontario

With Ontario's election of a majority Liberal government, we look forward to continuing to work with Premier Kathleen Wynne; Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Chan; and others through the Digital Media Working Group they initiated. We are eager to see the enactment of further IDM-supportive policies as outlined in the party's responses to our election questionnaire. 

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Every1Games named Changemaker; launches summer program

IO member Every1Games has been named one of 45 worldwide Changemakers by American Express and Ashoka for their programs that provide youth on the autism spectrum with life and social skills through video game development. 

Their summer program in Toronto begins on July 21st. IO members wishing to register someone for the program can save $100 - email us for the discount code.

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XMG releases Dragonwood Academy: A Game of Stones

On May 21, IO member XMG released their latest game Dragonwood Academy: A Game of Stones on Google Play, Apple's App Store and Amazon's App Store. The game boasts elegant simplicity, captivating art, accessible depth and some fierce fun as players navigate puzzles as a young wizard. See XMG's trailer for the game here

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Interactive Ontario questions for Ontario party leaders

Recent studies suggest that the fast growing interactive digital media (IDM) sector in Ontario comprises more than 1,000 companies, generates in excess of $2B in revenues, and is responsible for 17,000 direct jobs. IDM is a new medium, a growth path for traditional cultural industries and a key component in the digital transformation of other sectors, such as health care and education. As a result, IDM creates "future proof" new economy jobs for youth that instill skills and expertise relevant to a myriad of future employment opportunities.


Continued financial and policy support is required from the provincial government in order to ensure our sector continues to grow and thrive. We have requested responses to the questions below from Ontario's party leaders in order to learn more about their commitments to IDM in Ontario. We will post their responses as we receive them - click "Read more" below for our first responses from the Ontario NDP and Ontario Liberal Party. 

Questions

1. What is your party's vision for the future of digital media in Ontario?

2. How does your party plan to grow and retain talent in Ontario?

3. Does your party endorse the tool kit of digital media support mechanisms currently in place, from tax credits to grants?
a. If not, what would your party change?

4. Does your party support the role of the OMDC as an expert third party administrator of these mechanisms?
a. If not, what would your party change?


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IO member launches video management and measurement platform BackSpin

Toronto-based IO member BackSpin has launched a robust video asset management and measurement platform enabling content producers to access, distribute, and track their video libraries from a single platform. 

BackSpin has established a partnership with Vimeo LLC enabling the platform to synchronize previously existing Vimeo accounts with BackSpin adding a layer of team collaboration functionality to Vimeo

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Bell Fund Annual Report 2013

The Bell Fund - a financial supporter of many IO events - has launched its annual report in a fantastic interactive format. Learn more about the productions and professional development events they funded in 2013 at annualreport2013.bellfund.ca.

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BattleGoat Studios release Supreme Ruler 1936

IO member BattleGoat Studios' Real-Time Geo-Political Strategy game, Supreme Ruler 1936, is now available in the Steam Store. The first Supreme Ruler game was released in 1982, making Supreme Ruler one of the longest-running computer gaming franchises still in development. Congratulations to BattleGoat on the launch!

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Christa Dickenson to lead Interactive Ontario as Executive Director

Interactive Ontario is pleased to announce that Christa Dickenson has been selected to lead the organization as its new Executive Director. She will join Interactive Ontario on June 2nd.

As a Marketing Executive, Ms. Dickenson brings to Interactive Ontario close to two decades of experience leveraging partnerships and optimizing sponsorship opportunities. Having had a successful career spanning broadcast television, technology & telecommunications, Ms. Dickenson will apply lessons learned in the corporate world at CTV, Rogers and CPAC to the not-for-profit sector.

“There is tremendous growth in the interactive digital media sector and I look forward to using my talent for brand advocacy and innovation to position Ontario as the global leader for IDM,” said Dickenson.

“Ms. Dickenson’s strong business acumen will serve Interactive Ontario well at this important time for both the organization and the industry as a whole,”  said Interactive Ontario Chair Peter Miller. “We are thrilled to have her bring her wealth of experience and leadership skills to the IO team.”

In addition to a professional background spanning both the creative and business sides of the broadcast, technology and telecommunications industries, Ms. Dickenson has volunteered extensively with a variety of local and international non-profit organizations.

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MaRS Digital Transition report

MaRS has released a new report entitled Digital Transition: Canadian Media Experiments in 2014. The research was undertaken with goal of understanding the magnitude of the digitization challenge and some of the solutions being implemented. The report's author Claudio Munoz will present the findings as a panelist at tomorrow's iLunch 13.1 - Taking IDM Mobile. Read the report here.

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Interactive Ontario CEO council holds inaugural meeting



On April 24th, twenty Ontario IDM CEOs and C-Suite executives joined IO and Deloitte's Duncan Stewart for an exclusive interactive presentation and discussion on marketing technology and consumer trends affecting the digital media industry. Our thanks to Deloitte for sponsoring this event. If you are a company head and would like to learn more about our CEO council and attend future such events, please let us know at communications@interactiveontario.com.

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Revival 629 begins transformation into convergent media centre

In 2012, the film studio facility at 629 Eastern Ave in Toronto re-opened as REVIVAL with the intent of revitalizing film production in the neighbourhood. The beginning of the next phase of an ambitious plan to transform Revival into a new convergent media centre is now underway.

First up is the modern restoration of 40,000 SF of brick-and-beam office space perfectly suited to medium and small animation, vfx and game development companies. Occupancy is scheduled for this Fall. New buildings for larger tenants will come next, including signature office sites fronting on Lake Shore Boulevard. If this is of interest to your company, visit revival629.ca to learn more.

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DHX buys Epitome

IO member DHX Media, a leading independent creator, producer, distributor and licensor of children and youth entertainment content, has acquired the Epitome group of companies (“Epitome”), producer of Degrassi, the international hit teen-drama series, and other youth-oriented properties.

The transaction includes a library of 469 half-hours across five series in the Degrassi franchise; 216 half hours of other Epitome series; and Epitome Studios Inc., which owns a 98,400 square foot studio on a 4.3 acre site in Toronto.

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IO members nominated for Youth Media Alliance French-Language Awards of Excellence

The Youth Media Alliance has just announced the nominees for their French-language Awards of Excellence and three IO member companies have been nominated. Both Radio-Canada and TFO have multiple nominations, while DHX Media is up for the Best Interactive Content - Preschool award for Je Lis Avec: Caillou.

The awards will be handed out on May 27th - best of luck!

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Cross-media producers, pitch your innovative projects in Paris in June

Take the chance to present your multiplatform projects in development to key International Commissioners at Cross Video Days Content Market on June 19 & 20 in Paris. Categories included in the call for projects: Cinema & Transmedia, Interactive Factual Projects, Web-series & Web-fictions, Cross-media TV shows and Education, Animation & Youth.

The 2014 call is launched with Cannes Film Market and Sunny Side of the Doc, leading to enhancing opportunities for the 50 selected projects to be seen, financed, co-produced and distributed on the international stage.

Submission is free of charge - apply before April 15, 2014 at http://www.crossvideodays.com/en/2014/Call-for-projects/14.html

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IO member Marblemedia partners on new waterpark plan

Interactive Ontario member Marblemedia is a partner in a recently announced plan for an all-season waterpark and event complex to be located in the GTA. Known as MarbleLIVE, it will feature a retractable roof, watersides, restaurants and a beach, as well as integrated digital media storytelling. Visit the website for more details and a video rendering of the proposed facility.

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Ubisoft Toronto seeks playtesters

Ubisoft Toronto is looking for gamers interested in playtesting games before they are released.
 
Playtesters are asked to play games that are currently in development, and complete surveys based on their experiences. Tests can last anywhere between three hours and eight days, and playtesters are compensated for their time.
 
For more information and to register, visit http://playtest.ubisoft.com


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IO calls on provincial government to invest in the growth of Ontario’s IDM industry and secure its place as the global leader in digital media

Yesterday, Interactive Ontario submitted recommendations to Minister of Finance Charles Sousa, as part of the provincial pre-budget consultation process. The comments were created based on feedback from members and other stakeholders, including the recent discussion at our highly successful Digital Media Town Hall.

Interactive digital media accounts for $2 billion in annual revenue and 17,000 full time jobs in Ontario across a multitude of formats, including video games, transmedia, e-Learning, web series and mobile content.

We have asked the government to ensure that the growth of the IDM sector in Ontario - largely comprised of small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) - is supported in the upcoming budget through policy and funding commitments. Our recommendation is an incremental investment of $500 million over 5 years, with initiatives to include:

  • Creating a paid internship program to address training and HR needs
  • Increasing efficiency of the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit, ensuring that payments are expedited and predictable, among other changes
  • Renewing and increasing available funds for the Interactive Digital Media Fund
  • Expanding the IDM Export fund, given the importance of export sales for Ontario IDM companies
  • Allowing web series to be eligible for Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and Ontario Production Services Tax Credit
  • Providing new venture capital funding
  • Establishing a securities-based crowdfunding regime
  • Creating a Collaboration Fund to stimulate partnerships between IDM firms and companies from other industries and/or academic institutions
  • Developing and promoting a vibrant global marketplace for Ontario IDM companies via a series of initiatives (the IDM Marketplace)
We believe these initiatives will allow Ontario to secure its position as a global leader in this high growth industry and hope to have the support of the Ontario government as we work towards this goal.

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Rollers of the Realm wins GDC Best in Play award

Rollers of the Realm, a pinball-meets-RPG by IO member Phantom Compass, was one of only 8 games bestowed with a GDC Best in Play award this year. Winners for Best in Play will receive special designations for their kiosks at GDC 2014, where their games will be playable by all Game Developers Conference attendees.

Congratulations!

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CBC and TVO win Canadian Screen Awards

IO members CBC and TVO won Canadian Screen Awards this past week, with CBC taking home the top prize for Best Original Program or Series produced for Digital Media - Non-Fiction for The Beetle Roadtrip Series, among others. TVO was awarded multiple honours for The Defector: Escape from North Korea, including Best Documentary Program.

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Survey on Innovation Process in the Entertainment and Creative Clusters

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has undertaken a survey entitled  "The Innovation Process in Ontario's Entertainment and Creative Clusters." The ministry will use the data to develop a provincial policy to better support the cluster. This will in turn help businesses to grow and compete in global markets and contribute to Ontario’s economic growth.

The survey will taken approximately 20 minutes and can be completed here.

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NEXT pre-accelerator program

NEXT is the #1 pre-accelerator program that helps committed early stage startup teams to get into accelerators. NEXT consists of 3 hour weekly sessions for five weeks.

During NEXT teams will:

  • Test their startup idea and team
  • Get weekly mentorship
  • Grow their network of startup experts and other founders
The best NEXT teams will get invited to the NEXT First Look Forum - a global demo day style event with accelerators, investors, and media.

Learn more and apply by March 16th.

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Digital Media Town Hall recap

On February 26, we hosted our first ever Digital Media Town Hall. Digital Media creators came together at Google Toronto to discuss challenges and opportunities in the digital media industry and meet their peers.

After opening remarks from IO board member Andrew Lane, Google Toronto's Jason Kee and RBC's Andrew Giosa, IO President & CEO Donald Henderson discussed the state of the industry. He emphasized the growth potential for digital media in Ontario, as well as steps that should be taken to assist in that growth - including keeping policymakers informed, a process IO has been undertaking through advocacy to provincial ministries, the Premier and the Minister of Fianance.

Audience members then shared their stories, questions and ideas. Discussion ranged from innovative models for raising capital to issues with finding the right talent for available jobs to how to best promote Ontario's IDM industry in other jurisdictions.

Thanks to everyone who came to the event. It was a sell out crowd, so if you weren't able to get a ticket, check back for info about future Town Halls.

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Interactive Ontario announces upcoming departure of President & CEO Donald Henderson

Interactive Ontario announced today that President & CEO Donald Henderson will depart the organization in late April, after two successful years leading IO.
 
During Mr. Henderson’s tenure, Interactive Ontario has increased its research and advocacy activities, resulting in greater engagement and understanding of interactive digital media with government policymakers and other key stakeholders. IO has provided comments on equity crowdfunding to the Ontario Securities Commission, presented IDM priorities to provincial Ministers and opposition leaders and participated in a digital media roundtable with Premier Kathleen Wynne and leading Ontario companies.
 
IO has also undertaken a thorough reexamination of its programming and in association with key partners including OMDC, CMF, Telefilm and Bell Fund, has moved to offer more frequent and more affordable events. As well, events hosted in partnership with organizations such as FACTOR, nextMEDIA and the Writers Guild of Canada have allowed for cross-sector collaborations and greater opportunities for IDM creators in Ontario.
 
“Don has steered IO at a critical juncture in its evolution as the voice of of Interactive Digital Media in Ontario. He has enhanced our expertise and our credibility and will be sorely missed,” said Peter Miller, Chair of Interactive Ontario’s Board of Directors. “On behalf of our Board and members, I thank Don for his leadership and dedication to IO, and wish him the very best in the future.”
 
"I am pleased to have had the opportunity to lead Interactive Ontario over the past two years and look forward to assisting in the transition to IO's next leader," said Mr. Henderson. "I want to express my gratitude to the members of IO's board of directors as well as the staff I've had the pleasure of working with. Together, our efforts have solidified Interactive Ontario as the voice of the interactive digital media industry in the province. I am proud of work that we have done in establishing the foundations for IO's future success, and I am excited about the future of Interactive Ontario and its crucial role in helping grow this important industry."
 
Interactive Ontario has engaged the services of mediaINTELLIGENCE to assist with the search for a replacement head of IO. Mr. Henderson will assist in the selection and transition process.

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Kidobi partners on content to get kids moving

Personalized video platform Kidobi has announced a new content partnership with Master Karate Todd, an interactive exergaming video series that promotes fitness and health. The content will be available on the Kidobi website and mobile apps beginning next month. Children are encouraged to perform the exercises and get moving while learning the basics of karate, nutrition, and physical fitness.

Kidobi CEO Leo Henning will speak at the iKids Conference in New York City this Thursday.

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TFO releases first Edululu report

With the vast number of apps available for smartphones and tablets users, discovery and assessment of the educational value of content available for children is a challenge. To help, IO member TFO has released its first Edululu report, rating a number of children's apps. View the PDF report here.

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Ontario government announces new venture capital fund

The Ontario government announced the launch of a new venture capital fund, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund. The fund had its first closing with a total value of over $217 million in commitments, which could rise to $300 million as additional private sector partners invest in the fund. Learn more here.

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IO members receive multiple Canadian Screen Award nominations

The nominees for the Canadian Screen Awards were announced earlier this month, and IO members scored multiple nominations.

Both Nerd Corps Entertainment and TVO were nominated in the Best Cross-Platform Project - Children's and Youth category. CBC and Smokebomb Entertainment were nominated jointly for Murdoch Mysteries (Best Cross-Platform Project - Fiction), as well as both securing solo nominations in numerous other categories.

Good luck to all when the awards are handed out on March 9th!

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XMG to host open data hackathon

Hosted by IO member XMG Studio Inc., and supported by the Government of Canada, the Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE) aims to inspire an entire generation of developers and designers to develop apps based on open data. From February 28th to March 2nd creative do-ers, movers and shakers are invited to participate in this race against the clock and liberate the data available on http://data.gc.ca. All teams that successfully submit an application compete for Gold Sponsor OpenText’s $25,000 Grand Prize, as well as a $5,000 second place prize and a $1,000 third place prize.

Visit this link to find out how you can take part.

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DOC Toronto Breakthrough Program applications now open

Applications for DOC Toronto's Breakthrough Program (formerly the OMDC-DOC Toronto Mentorship Program at Hot Docs) are now open. Emerging documentarians should apply before January 30, 2014 at midnight.  

Eight participants chosen for the program will work hands-on with a group of industry professionals with the goal of optimizing their experience at the Festival. Once per week, participants will practice their pitches and receive real-world advice in an intimate setting from industry professionals, including senior producers, broadcasters, funders, as well as peers. 

Participants will be able to attend all DOC Institute events taking place during the Program free of charge and will receive a Hot Docs All-Access Pass, which includes entry to the Hot Docs Forum as an observer. 

Learn more and apply at http://docinstitute.com/breakthrough-program/

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TransGaming strikes deals with Samsung and Toshiba

TransGaming recently signed a deal to bring their GameTree TV technology to Samsung and Toshiba Smart TVs. This will allow streaming of casual games to Smart TVs, without the need for any additional console hardware. Shares of TransGaming rose nearly 100% after the announcement of the Samsung deal, according to Post Arcade.

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TFO launches EduLulu

TFO recently announced EduLulu, a new public service that will evaluate educational applications for tablets. Geared towards parents and educators, EduLulu will offer independent evaluations of iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play) content available in the Canadian market.

TFO has set up a panel of educational experts to develop, consider and update evaluation criteria for applications with educational value. To help guide informed choices regarding applications for young learners, TFO’s EduLulu will publish its results regularly to allow parents and educators to choose among a wide selection of educational content. The first set of results will be available early this year.

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Canadian Videogame Award nominations are now open

Nominations are now open for the 2014 Canadian Videogame Awards, to be hosted in Toronto for the first time. Nominations will be accepted for work developed in Canada and released in 2013 and are welcome from all parts of Canada’s diverse video game industry. The Call for Nominations will close on January 24, 2014.

Visit the CVA website to find out how to submit your work.

[ read more » ]


BattleGoat's Supreme Ruler 1936 on Steam Early Access

BattleGoat Studios has announced the launch of Steam Early Access for their upcoming Real Time Geopolitical Strategy game, Supreme Ruler 1936. Lead Designer and Co-Founder David Thompson says, "Involving our players in the final stage of development through Steam's Early Access will help provide the testing resources and the feedback necessary to make Supreme Ruler 1936 as polished and complete a game as possible."

Supreme Ruler 1936 is expected to be released late Q1 2014, and will be available for PC and Mac through Steam and other vendors. Join the beta here.

[ read more » ]


Weber Shandwick publishes Wordpress plugin for Google Glass

IO member Weber Shandwick has created a plugin for Google Glass, allowing users with self-hosted WordPress sites to publish straight from Google Glass. wpForGlass is open-source, giving it the benefit of crowdsourced improvements. Learn more - with an FAQ and installation instructions - on Weber Shandwick's post about the plugin

[ read more » ]


TiEQuest competition offers significant funding opportunities

TiEQuest is an annual business venture competition for aspiring entrepreneurs. It's an opportunity to present to, network with and be judged by fund managers, angel investors and venture capitalists. It offers over $150,000 in prizes plus an opportunity to win a $1 million investment from sponsoring funds.

To learn more and apply, visit www.tiequest.org. Applications close January 31, 2014.

[ read more » ]


Canadian Interactive Industry Profile highlights economic impact of interactive digital media

The Canadian Interactive Industry Profile 2012 (CIIP) [PDF], which provides an in-depth look at the interactive digital media (IDM) industry in Canada, was released today during Interactive Ontario’s X-Summit programming at nextMEDIA.

This report follows two previous editions of the Canadian Interactive Industry Profiles released in 2006 and 2008 but proposes a revised methodology that includes a more narrowed definition of the digital media industry to provide more of a focus on companies creating true “rich interactive experiences” (in terms of content creation) and those that supply services that directly enable other firms to create those experiences.

Covering all Canadian regions and comprising data collected from big, medium and small companies through a national survey, this report provides an extensive view of Canada`s IDM industry. In addition to the key economic indicators found in the first chapter, this study also includes a chapter on human resources, training and skill gaps that can currently be observed in the IDM sector. Finally, the report provides a future outlook for Canada’s IDM industry.

[ read more » ]


Launch of Alan Sawyer Memorial Graduate Award

On June 8, 2013, the Canadian media industry lost Alan Sawyer, an industry professional with an extraordinary grasp of the interconnected worlds of technology and creativity, where he helped many of us in the Canadian media environment make sense of the changing landscape. 
  
To keep moving Alan’s work forward, friends and family have joined with Ryerson University to create the Alan Sawyer Memorial Graduate Award. The annual award will encourage a graduate student in Ryerson University's Media Production Program to pursue a major research paper or media project exploring storytelling across multiple screen platforms.

Celebrate the launch of the Award:
WHERE: Brazen Head Irish Pub, 
165 East Liberty St. 
Toronto
WHEN: December 5th, 2013, 6pm

RSVP: http://www.celebrations.com/rsvp/dzq4hzdq8j7zprykj
 

Can't make it? You are welcome to make a donation online: http://www.ryerson.ca/supporting/alansawyer 
  


For more information, contact the foundation at: ASFoundation2014@gmail.com or via https://www.facebook.com/AlanSawyerMemorialAward

[ read more » ]


IT'S A START Pitch Competition at Digifest 2014

The IT'S A START pitch competition at Digifest 2014 is open to creative professionals, budding entrepreneurs, start-ups, students and recent graduates looking to pitch their ideas in a competitive format. Finalists will have 60 seconds on stage during the festival to show the jury why their project deserves to win one of the prizes, which includes $10,000 and incubation space in the George Brown College Digital Media & Gaming Incubator and OCAD University’s Imagination Catalyst Incubator. Digifest 2014 will be taking place at the Corus Quay from May 8-10 2014. For more information, please visit torontodigifest.ca.

[ read more » ]


WorkInCulture's Labour Market Insights survey

Interactive Ontario is pleased to be working with WorkInCulture to collect and track labour market information in Ontario’s creative sector. The vision is for the results to provide creative industry executives and HR decision-makers with timely and relevant insights regarding:

  • Recruitment strategies,
  • Salaries and non-salary benefits,
  • Hiring trends, and
  • Succession planning

As a professional immersed in these issues, we request your participation in a short survey developed in response to gaps in labour market information that is specific to the creative industries.

Please click here to take the survey: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/WiCLMI-Pilot/

[ read more » ]


WIFT's Business Management for Media Professionals Program - register before December 20

The WIFT-T Business Management for Media Professionals Program (BMMP) is a certificate program, consisting of five individual modules, essential for emerging media professionals who want to understand the business of film, television and interactive production. The BMMP is recommended for working professionals with up to three years' industry experience or related academic training, and for those transitioning to a new area of the business. The first module on Industry Fundamentals will begin on January 11, 2014. Don't miss your chance to save on the full program with the Early Bird discount! Register online before December 20.

[ read more » ]


ESA Canada's Essential Facts 2013

ESA Canada has released their Essential Facts 2013 report on the Canadian video game industry. The report details impressive stats about the industry and its impact on our economy, as well as information about game industry workers and those who play their games. See the video trailer and then read the full report here. [PDF]

[ read more » ]


Rollers of the Realm gets Greenlit on Steam

Last week, Steam announced their latest batch of Greenlight titles and among them was Rollers of the Realm by IO member Phantom Compass. This means that the RPG-meets-pinball game will be distributed on Steam - the largest digital distribution platform for PC games - when it's released. Congratulations!

[ read more » ]


Kidobi partners with Simon & Schuster on new reading web app

Online video platform Kidobi (an IO member) and publisher Simon & Schuster have introduced the new Ready-to-Read Recommendation App, which provides reading recommendations for early readers ages three to eight. The web app analyzes the child’s age, interests, and reading level, helping parents find books that suit their child’s reading level. Kidobi sees the launch of the new Ready-to-Read web app as an extension of its mission to provide powerful tools that support parents in today’s digital age.

The app is available at http://www.kidobi.com/Ready-to-Read

[ read more » ]


Interactive Ontario presents X-Summit at nextMEDIA



Interactive Ontario is pleased to announce that X-Summit programming will return this year as part of nextMEDIA. Replacing our traditional two-day X-Summit conference, Interactive Ontario and X-Summit will present 4 sessions at nextMEDIA on December 3rd in Toronto. X-Summit programming focuses on cross-media convergence, enabling content producers to better tell their stories seamlessly across multiple platforms. Sessions include:

  • The Facebook Era May Now Have its "Citizen Kane"
  • You Can't Go Viral
  • You Asked For It! Public Funding Speed Round

Learn more about nextMEDIA's full programming schedule, including X-Summit content, here. Interactive Ontario members receive a discount on nextMEDIA - watch your email for the info or contact us.

[ read more » ]


Registration now open for WIFT's Media Leadership Program

The Media Leadership Program (MLP) is a biennial program that returns in 2014. Designed for screen-based executives and entrepreneurs with 8+ years of experience, it offers a unique, intense exposure to exceptional thinking and research on media industry management with practical applications from high level executives. MBA professors will provide the latest knowledge on leadership, strategic planning, change management, financial literacy, marketing and entrepreneurship as well as personal management skills. Successful course participants will receive a Schulich School of Business Certificate. To find out more about this transformative program and registration details please see our website.

[ read more » ]


CMF offers new funding for accelerator participation

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced a new pilot program designed to offer existing Experimental Stream funded projects increased access to mentorship, markets, and capital. The Accelerator Partnership Pilot Program (A3P) will support digital media projects that have previously received Experimental Stream funding for development or production by enabling their producers to enroll in acceleration programs. The A3P guidelines can be reviewed by clicking here [PDF].

[ read more » ]


TAAFI early bird submissions now open

Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) is now open for early bird submissions for the 2014 edition. Submissions are free before December 15, 2013. TAAFI encourages creators of all types of animated content to apply, including game trailers/cinematics. To access the online submission application and for full submission details please visit taafi.com/submit.

[ read more » ]


Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge offers $50k in prizes

Ontario's Ministry of Energy and MaRS Discovery District have teamed up to launch  the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge. Developers can enter apps that help Ontarians conserve energy, using Green Button smart meter data, for a shot at $50,000 in prizes. Learn more on their website.

[ read more » ]


ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab for wearable technology

Introducing the ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab: a 3 month bootcamp for developers and companies that want to navigate the incredible potential of games on the next consumer mega trend of wearable technology.

A select group of innovative developers will be selected to learn, collaborate and co-create a multiplatform game or other consumer experience with this unique team of technologists and visionaries. Developers will work with experienced Mind Pirate developers and will have early access to Mind Pirate’s Callisto platform – the only wearable technology platform on the market – to create 3-D games and apps across both current (iOS, Android) and future (Google glass & other wearables) mobile platforms. Please visit www.ideaBOOST.com/mindpirate for more information and to apply. Applications close on October 21st. This program is a partnership between the Toronto-based CFC Media Lab and Silicon Valley-based Mind Pirate.

[ read more » ]


marblemedia and Jordan Nahmias featured in Playback's Hall of Fame issue

Two IO member companies were featured prominently in the latest issue of Playback. marblemedia was inducted into the 2013 Playback Hall of Fame, earning the Outstanding Achievement Award. "The company they launched 12 years ago is now enjoying an international reputation for innovation and high quality work," said Playback's Danielle Ng See Quan.

The 2013 10 to Watch list included entertainment lawyer and Open Roof festival director Jordan Nahmias. Nahmias has also recently branched out into production, as associate producer of the upcoming documentary The Four Corners of the Earth.

Congrats to all!

[ read more » ]


Big Blue Bubble hits #1 with My Singing Monsters

IO member Big Blue Bubble's award-winning game My Singing Monsters hit the #1 spot on both the Amazon Appstore for Android and Big Fish Games for PC.
 
My Singing Monsters has enjoyed critical acclaim and commercial success since launching roughly one year ago, and has been made available on multiple platforms, including the Apple App Store, Google Play, Barnes & Noble Nook store, WildTangent Games, and Samsung Appstore.

[ read more » ]


Capybara Games and Phantom Compass nominated at IndieCade

IO members Phantom Compass and Capybara Games have been nominated as finalists for IndieCade at the International Festival of Independent Games. Both Capy's Super Time Force and Phantom Compass' Rollers of the Realm will be showcased at IndieCade from October 3 - 6 in Los Angeles.

[ read more » ]


CMF announces new incentive for digital media co-productions

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) has announced the launch of the Digital Media Co-Production Incentive, a $350K pilot program designed to stimulate digital media co-productions between Canadian producers and their international counterparts.

The Digital Media Co-Production Incentive guidelines can be found on the CMF website by clicking here (PDF 63 KB). Production companies will be able to apply to the incentive as of October 1, 2013 until November 26, 2013 or until the funds are depleted.

Eligible projects could be a digital media component of a convergent project as set out in the Convergent Stream programs or an eligible project under the Experimental Stream. Learn more on the CMF website.

[ read more » ]


Corus Entertainment urges animators to contact policymakers

In a speech to the Ottawa International Animation Festival on Wednesday, IO member Corus Entertainment's Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Corporate Secretary Gary Maavara urged those in attendance to voice their support for Ontario's tax credits for digital media and computer animation. He asked animators to contact their local MPP and other policymakers to emphasize the importance of the tax credits and other public funding to their businesses - and to our economy. 


We at Interactive Ontario have asked our members to do the same and we thank those of you who have done so. This important outreach will help us continue to grow the interactive industry in Ontario. 

[ read more » ]


Register to attend CMF consultation

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) reminds stakeholders that they are invited to attend one of the focus groups that are part of the CMF’s cross-country consultation. Stakeholders can quickly and easily register by clicking here.  By registering, stakeholders can help the CMF plan the meetings according to expected attendance. This month, focus groups are being held in Toronto and in the Western provinces and territories. In October, the consultation will continue in other cities. Overall, the consultation includes focus groups in 18 cities, in all provinces and territories. For more information about the consultation tour, click here.

[ read more » ]


ideaBOOST launches third cohort

ideaBOOST is a business accelerator with a difference - a bootcamp for companies that want to navigate an entertainment ecosystem that has been radically disrupted by new technologies and demanding audience expectations.

Who should apply?
Technology platforms and interactive applications for the entertainment industry.

Why should you apply?
Receive the tools, training, and mentorship that make your company smarter and faster, plus $15,000 towards development costs and $15,000 of in-kind services. Please visit www.ideaboost.ca for more information and to apply. Applications close on October 11.

[ read more » ]


iLunch 12 will help you Make Your Mark

Our popular iLunch series returns on September 25th for an expanded 12th edition. Due to popular demand, we'll be presenting 7 sessions during iLunch 12, up from 5 in past years.

iLunch is a monthly series exploring topics in interactive digital media. iLunch 12 centres on the theme Make Your Mark. Whether you're looking to get a foothold in the industry or move an established career to the next level, iLunch 12 will provide insights and strategies to help you make your mark in interactive digital media.

Sessions will feature case studies and panels with speakers who are breaking new ground, setting new standards or otherwise helping push interactive forward from various corners of the industry. If you're a producer, content creator, developer or marketer, iLunch is for you! Your ticket includes lunch, panel discussion, Q&A session and networking time.

iLunch is hosted by Interactive Ontario and will take place at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre in Toronto. Learn more about each session and register here.

[ read more » ]


Ontario Securities Commission moves forward on crowdfunding exemption

The Ontario Securities Commission has announced that it will further consider a prospectus exemption for crowdfunding in Ontario. Should it be enacted, the exemption will provide small and medium-sized enterprises with the ability to raise capital through crowdfunded investments.

This latest update on a potential exemption comes after the OSC's stakeholder consultations, during which Interactive Ontario filed comments strongly supporting the crowdfunding exemption. We are pleased to see the OSC moving ahead on this issue, as the ability to raise capital through crowdfunding will connect Ontario's companies to a new field of investors. A lack of options for accessing capital is a problem reported by many small and medium-sized interactive digital media companies in the province, and the proposed exemption will assist in remedying this.

Read more in the OSC's press release.

[ read more » ]


Exciting changes coming to IO programming for 2013/2014



With fall upon us, we have many exciting updates to share about the upcoming season of IO programming.
 
We've listened to your feedback and looked at industry trends to make a number of changes that we think will make our events stronger and more accessible. This year, we'll be reducing the number of two-day conferences in favour of hosting an increased number of shorter events that require less time away from the office and are easier on your wallet. For 2013/2014 you can look forward to:

  • An expanded iLunch series - due to popular demand, we'll have 7 iLunches instead of 5
  • A revamped GameON: Finance
  • Practical workshops
  • Improved networking events
  • Evening panels and lecture series
  • and more

Watch this space for details on our coming events!

[ read more » ]


Ubisoft Toronto launches Splinter Cell: Blacklist to acclaim

IO member Ubisoft Toronto has released its anticipated first title, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Learn more about the production process and the studio's plans for the future in interviews with Jade Raymond in Toronto Standard and Post Arcade, and this Yonge Street Media feature.

[ read more » ]


In need of research expertise?

Ontario digital content companies in need of the latest research expertise look no further than MitacsAccelerate. This national program connects companies with graduate students and university faculty members through short or long-term research projects aimed at addressing a company’s need.  

During a Mitacs-Accelerate internship, a highly-skilled graduate student or post-doctoral fellow spends approximately half of his or her time onsite with the company - collecting data, interacting with staff and gaining a thorough understanding of the research challenge; the balance of the intern’s time is spent at the university, developing innovative approaches to solve the challenge.

Interested companies should visit www.mitacs.ca/accelerate or email Accelerate@mitacs.ca for more information.

[ read more » ]


Game Pill partners with Fisher Price

IO member Game Pill has partnered with Fisher Price on two apps for the Apptivity Creation Center that allow children to learn about shapes, colors and matching.

Color, Paint, Create! introduces a world of creativity through dynamic characters, engaging music, sung songs and playful animations. A second app entitled Stamp & Learn Shapes! encourages young children to learn about shapes, colors and more through engaging animations, sounds effects and sing-along songs!

The apps are free on their own, but are enhanced by the Apptivity Creation Center, which protects your iPad and lets children use 4 smart shape stampers to interact with the app.

[ read more » ]


Canada Media Fund on the road to meet with you

Join the Canada Media Fund (CMF) on its cross-country consultation tour. Between September 12 and October 31, the CMF will meet stakeholders in 18 cities across Canada to discuss items such as the current policy architecture; the activities the CMF now supports; the genres and essential requirements that define eligibility for Canadian content; Current funding triggers and the relevance of introducing additional triggers; and, the level of support provided by CMF to support a diversity of creative voices and the mechanisms currently employed to this effect. To find out when the CMF will be in your city, click here.

[ read more » ]


WIFT-T Deluxe Producer Internship - applications due August 23

The Deluxe Producer Internship provides one entry-level Canadian female producer (0-5 years' experience) with invaluable hands-on postproduction training. The goal of this internship is to familiarize the producer to the post process, to better plan for the early stages of production rather than attempting to ‘fix it in post’. The successful applicant joins Deluxe Postproduction—at their world-class facility in downtown Toronto—for a three-week on-site mentorship to learn about production equipment planning and requirements, and postproduction video, film and sound. The internship generally takes place in November each year. Applicants must be WIFT-T members in good standing, and can join at the time of application.
 
The deadline for applications is Friday, August 23 at 5pm and all your materials (including any membership renewals) will need to be received in office by then. There will be no exceptions.
 
Why should you apply?

  • Three-week internship at Deluxe Postproduction
  • $1,000 honorarium
  • Presentation at the 2013 Crystal Awards (December 3, 2013)
  • WIFT-T Programming pass to attend the Industry Fundamentals and Funding and Financing modules of the WIFT-T Humber Business Management for Media Professionals Program
 
For full details on the eligibility and the application process, please see the WIFT-T website.

[ read more » ]


Press release: Helping Ontario's digital media companies grow

Premier Kathleen Wynne is working with leaders in the digital media industry to expand Ontario's vibrant knowledge-based industries and create more jobs.

Joined by Michael Chan, the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, the Premier participated in a roundtable discussion in Toronto with industry leaders including Interactive Ontario, Ubisoft Toronto, Google Canada, Communitech, Polar Mobile and TransGaming.

The government is focused on fostering innovation and helping digital media companies stay competitive in a rapidly changing global market. The province is committed to supporting the industry as it expands its global reach and connecting businesses to the talent they need to grow and excel.

Strengthening the province's knowledge-based industries is part of the Ontario government's plan to build a prosperous economy and create more jobs.

[ read more » ]


Capybara Games break down the numbers behind Sword & Sworcery



IO members Capybara Games have released an infographic breaking down the numbers behind their hit game Sword & Sworcery. Take a look at the infographic to see some enlightening stats, such as total sales (over 1.5 million!), sales per platform, revenue percentages per region and more.

[ read more » ]


Sago Sago featured in The Grid

Sago Sago - an IO member company formerly known as zinc Roe - has been featured in The Grid's parenting column. The article details how the company became "a world leader in the booming children's-app industry."

Read on to learn more about their acquisition by Swedish studio Toca Boca and the influences behind their acclaimed kids' apps.

[ read more » ]


Three weeks until GROW Conference

We're just three weeks away from GROW Conference, Canada's leading technology conference. GROW brings Silicon Valley to Vancouver! As a sponsor of GROW, we've secured a special discount for I/O members.
IO members, check your email or contact us for a $100 discount!

WHY GO?
// Pitch at the Smackdown: Companies have 1 minute to WOW the panel of VCs and Press.
Sign up HERE.

// Private Roundtable Discussions: Join in on the private, closed door meetings with top investors, founders and influencers coming to town. Limited seating. Must apply to be considered.

// Get insider tips on how to build, design and grow your company from the guys in charge of growth for Linkedin, Twitter and more. See tracks.

// House Party @ GROW 2013
Meet founders and influencers from other regions like Ontario, Atlantic and BC who are hosting "House Parties" in the bars of Gastown. Which party will be the most memorable?

So, are you ready for GROW? Register at www.growconf.com.

[ read more » ]


Survey: Assessing the Impact of Mobile Apps on Ontario’s Creative Media Industries

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), with funding from the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), is conducting a study to help understand the impact of the emergence of mobile apps on Ontario’s creative media industries.

Book publishing, film and television, magazine publishing, music, and interactive digital media companies (including content and platforms such as software, video games, game consoles, and websites) are included among Ontario’s creative media industries.

They are seeking responses from Ontario’s creative media industries and Ontario’s mobile apps developers in separate surveys.

If you are a mobile app developer, click here to take the survey. If you are a creative media industry professional, click here to take the survey.

[ read more » ]


Collaboration Voucher program assists companies with research costs

Ontario is launching a new Collaboration Voucher program to give companies a competitive edge by connecting businesses with research institutions.  Through the program, eligible companies can apply for vouchers which can be redeemed for access to the expertise and knowledge at Ontario universities, colleges and research hospitals to help make their businesses more innovative and productive.

Click here to learn more or to apply; read about the program in the Globe & Mail for additional information.

[ read more » ]


The Canadian Videogame Awards come to Toronto for 2014

Producers of the Canadian Videogame Awards (CVAs) announced yesterday that the fifth edition will take place in April 2014 in Toronto, Ontario. This national award show celebrates excellence in Canadian-made video games and has been held in Vancouver for the past four years. At a launch reception held at the Drake Hotel, organizers announced that the show would move east for the first time in 2014.
 
"This is a truly Canadian show, celebrating the exceptional talent in our country, and from the beginning we have said we would like to hold the CVAs in cities across Canada.   We are excited to be in Toronto for the 2014 show," said Gregory Spievak, CEO of Reboot Communications and co-founder of the Canadian Videogame Awards. "We have developed wonderful relationships with studios across the country and are delighted with the warm welcome Toronto has given us so far," he added.
 
"So many incredible video games are made in this country every year, and we'd like Canadians to recognize that," said Victor Lucas, co-host and executive producer of The Electric Playground and Reviews on the Run, and CVA co-founder. "As the third largest developer of video games in the world, this show celebrates Canada's place as a world leader in this industry."
 
Industry leaders, government officials, sponsors and media gathered at the Drake to celebrate the announcement.

[ read more » ]


GROW Conference - A direct line to Silicon Valley



"Events like the GROW Conference in Vancouver have made the Silicon Valley ecosystem mobile and if only for a few days, you can have the Valley brought to you.  Between the speakers, mentors, investors, companies, and accelerators, GROW Week is like a high speed rail to Silicon Valley with exclusive access to the right players." says Mark Silva, Founder & CEO and Ryse Co.

The GROW Conference (August 14-16) is one of North America's leading technology conferences and is the place to meet your future business partners, investors, and mentors. This year's speakers include Google Ventures, Marketo, Shopify, Greylock Partners and more speaking about the Intersection of design and entrepreneurial thinking; why a million customers is not enough and how to attract and develop top talent to really scale an organization.

IO members, watch your email for a $100 discount on the conference.

Register here: www.growconf.com

[ read more » ]


TAAFI and the Japan Foundation present free anime screenings and lectures

The Japan Foundation, Toronto, in cooperation with the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI), will present a free series of classic anime film screenings & lectures on Japanese animation & pop culture during the month of July.

Lectures will be held at the Japan Foundation, TO by leading scholars in the field of anime and Japanese pop culture studies.

View the schedule of screenings and lectures here.

[ read more » ]


CareerConnect wage subsidy program for ICT jobs

If you're looking to hire for an ICT (information and communications technology) position, the CareerConnect - Connecting Canadian Youth with High-Demand ICT Jobs in High-Demand Fields program may be of interest. This wage subsidy program is offered to Canadian companies looking to hire an employee who is between 15 and 30 years of age, currently unemployed/underemployed and seeking ICT work experience.  Only new hires are eligible for this project – so make sure to get approved first.

The number of subsidies is limited - for more information or to apply for this program please click here. Questions? e-mail careerconnect@ictc-ctic.ca or call 613-237-8551 ext. 136.

[ read more » ]


Eye On Canada - a collaborative approach to promoting Canadian content



During the Banff World Media Festival, the CMF, Telefilm and the CMPA released the new Eye On Canada brand to promote Canadian audiovisual content. Interactive Ontario has joined a number of other organizations as contributors to the project.

Numerous initiatives will be undertaken, such as a content library, set visits and event promotions here and abroad.

Hashtag your social media posts about Canadian interactive content with #eyeoncanada to join the discussion!

[ read more » ]


Green Heroes season 2 premieres with interactive extension

This summer CineFocus Canada's Green Heroes premieres Season 2 on TVO. With a new website and Green Heroes Academy App, Green Heroes aims to turn inspired viewers of the TV shows into passionate do-ers with fun missions and challenges and short shareable videos on the web. Users of the app receive points for environmentally friendly actions. Learn more at greenheroes.tv.

[ read more » ]


CMF launches new Canada-specific resource on crowdfunding

With interest in crowdfuding continuing to grow, the Canada Media Fund has created a new online resource with information on crowdfuding that is specifically tailored to Canada. The site features a directory of crowdfunding platforms accessible to Canadians, legal and regulatory information, statistics, and best practices to help your campaign succeed. Head over to crowdfunding.cmf-fmc.ca to learn more.

[ read more » ]


In memoriam: Alan Sawyer

We are sad to report the passing of longtime Interactive Ontario member Alan Sawyer. Alan was a great supporter of Interactive Ontario, offering his time and expertise to numerous advisory committees, in addition to producing our ICE 2007 conference.

Alan was a familiar face at many of our events and he will be greatly missed. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, June 12th, 2-4 p.m. and Thursday, June 13th, 6-8 p.m. at Giffen-Mack Funeral Home, 2570 Danforth Ave. (near Main St.).  There will also be a Celebration of Life (followed by a reception) on Saturday, June 15th at 10:30 a.m., also at the Giffen-Mack Funeral Home.

Additional information is available here.

[ read more » ]


ESAC unveils new findings about the Canadian video game industry

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada has released new findings from their comprehensive research into the Canadian video game industry.  According to the research, conducted by Nordicity for ESAC, Canada’s 329 video game studios are a critical component of this country’s new digital economy generating over $2.3 billion in GDP for the Canadian economy in 2012. 16,500 men and women are working full time in Canada’s video game industry – up 5% from 2011.

Watch for the full report later this summer.

[ read more » ]


IO member marblemedia acquires Distribution360

IO member marblemedia has reached a deal to acquire Distribution360, a distribution company that works with both traditional and emerging platforms.

Distribution 360 was co-founded by marblemedia and SEVEN24 Films in 2010. This new deal, expected to close later this year, brings the distributor fully under the marblemedia umbrella.

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes multiplatform content that includes This Is Daniel Cook, Skatoony and Dating Guy.

[ read more » ]


Montreal International Game Summit call for speakers

The MIGS Advisory Board is seeking submissions from top level professionals interested in speaking at the tenth edition of the event.

Please complete the online form before June 18th.

For the tenth annual edition, world-class professionals will take part in MIGS as part of a series of lectures on the six main disciplines of the game industry: arts, visual effects, audio, design, production and technology.

[ read more » ]


Enter UKTI's Global Adventure Competition

UK Trade & Investment has just launched their second annual Global Adventure Competition, with the aim of introducing innovative Canadian companies to the UK tech community.

4 winners will receive a bespoke business trip from Canada to the UK, including two days in the UK, mentoring, meetings with investors and tours of technology hubs.

The contest closes June 14th - visit www.ukti.gov.uk/competition to enter.

[ read more » ]


DHX Media partners with YouTube on launch of paid subscription channels

DHX Media has been selected to be part of an elite group of content partners to launch the first paid YouTube channels. DHX will offer three kids' channels as part of the subscription service, which features free two-week trials and a monthly subscription fee of $2.99 US.

DHX's channels will include beloved programming such as Inspector Gadget, Super Mario, The Doodlebops and The Busy World of Richard Scarry.

[ read more » ]


Sago Sago launches new video and app

Sago Sago (formerly zinc Roe) has launched their first content since being acquired by Toca Boca. In addition to a new (and adorable!) promotional video, Sago Sago has released the Sago Mini Sound Box, a music making app for kids.

[ read more » ]


IO member Big Blue Bubble acquires The Ant Firm

IO member and mobile game development studio Big Blue Bubble has acquired The Ant Firm, winners of the 2011 Venture London Business Competition. The Ant Firm is Ontario’s leading independent Quality Assurance services facility for the videogame and interactive entertainment industries.  
 
Damir Slogar, CEO of Big Blue Bubble, says “The addition of The Ant Firm’s Quality Assurance services and experience is a strategic growth area for Big Blue Bubble to not only expand in development capacity, but meet our rising needs for our latest title, My Singing Monsters, and all future titles.”
 
Last month, Big Blue Bubble's award-winning My Singing Monsters was included on USA Today's list for "The [10] best free games every smartphone user should have."

[ read more » ]


IO featured in Toronto Star tax credits article

Interactive Ontario President & CEO Donald Henderson was interviewed for an article in the Toronto Star about the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit. Read the article to learn more about how you can take advantage of the credit and cut your expenses.

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Shape Buster featured as Amazon's Free App of The Day



IO member Game Pill's Shape Buster, initially created as a gift for President Mike Sorrenti's wife, was featured as Amazon's Free App of the Day on April 6th. Check out the game on Kindle Fire, Google Play and the Apple App Store.

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FITC 2013 discount for IO members



FITC Toronto 2013 kicks off this weekend! With more than 70 renowned digital creators from around the globe, FITC Toronto attendees will be given the opportunity to learn from some of the most influential names in the digital space. Covering everything from user experience to the awe-inspiring world of Film Holographic VFX, this three day festival will leave attendees stimulated and eager to create in new and innovative ways. There will also be ample opportunity to network at FITC’s one-of-a-kind parties and through chance encounters as the events unfold – meet your next boss, business partner or employee.

Interactive Ontario members receive a 20% discount on tickets - check your email for the details or email communications@interactiveontario.com.

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Interactive Ontario urges budget support for Interactive Digital Media sector

With interactive digital media generating $1 billion in revenue and comprising one thousand companies in Ontario, it is vital that the next provincial budget includes financial support for initiatives designed to grow the industry. As part of the pre-budget consultation process Interactive Ontario (IO) has submitted comments to the Minister of Finance outlining recommendations.

“Interactive Ontario is eager to see the Government of Ontario maintain and enhance their record of success in the field of interactive media,” said Interactive Ontario President & CEO Donald Henderson. “Ontario is already a leader in this sector and with the right financial and policy supports, there is tremendous potential for increased growth.”

The strength of Ontario’s industry - which boasts products garnering worldwide acclaim and blockbuster sales - is thanks in part to carefully considered programs, tax credits and funding mechanisms. To allow Ontario’s interactive digital media sector to continue to thrive, the Government of Ontario must continue to support and enhance these initiatives.

Priorities identified by Interactive Ontario include:

Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

  • Provision of resources to allow for timely payouts (currently, it can take 18-24 months for companies to receive refunds)
  • Removal of the requirement that 90% of a project must be developed by the qualifying company, to encourage collaboration
  • The ability for companies to file annually, rather than at project completion, in order to increase predictability of finances for companies and ease the burden on projects with long development times, as are common in the industry

Ontario Media Development Corporation’s IDM Fund
  • This fund is a critical catalyst for growth in the sector, one of the most oversubscribed funds managed by the OMDC and to date has not yet been renewed
  • IO recommends that the Government of Ontario maintain the IDM Fund, and increase the available funds in the IDM Fund to at least $5 million by 2014

Access to capital
  • Introduction of regulations to allow for securities-based crowdfunding, as per Interactive Ontario’s past comments to the Ontario Securities Commission
  • Allocation of one third of the Ontario Venture Capital Fund to VC funds targeting the digital media sector

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Deadlines

IO Events

Interact: IDM Business Essentials
Nov 12, 2014
Toronto
GameON: Finance
Nov 20 - 21 2014
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iLunch 13.7 - Grants Not for TV
Nov 24, 2014
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Ontario Events

Buffer Festival
Oct 16, 2014
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SMARTWEEK 2014
Oct 24 - 26 2014
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AndroidTO
Oct 30, 2014
Toronto
FITC Wearables
Nov 13, 2014
Toronto
Gaming: First Contact
Nov 13, 2014
Unionville
Get Your Bot On Robotics Hackathon
Nov 14 - 16 2014
Toronto
Canadian Videogame Awards
Nov 21, 2014
Toronto
Ontario Simulation Exposition
Dec 04 - 05 2014
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Canadian Events

Montreal International Game Summit (MIGS)
Nov 10 - 11 2014
Montreal, QC

International Events

Game Connection Europe 2014
Oct 29 - 31 2014
Paris, FR