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.
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.
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.
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
Last month, Big Blue Bubble's award-winning My
Singing Monsters was included on USA Today's list for "The  best
free games every smartphone user should have."
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.
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.
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
he 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
IO President & CEO Donald Henderson appeared on the most recent
PROFIT BusinessCast podcast, discussing the ins and outs of
crowdfunding. Joining him was Ryan North, who
successfully raised $580,000 through a Kickstarter campaign. Listen here.
After a successful expansion in 2012, TIFF Industry presents a robust week of TIFF Kids programming from April 16th to April 19th geared towards inspiring and engaging creators of children's content. TIFF Kids Industry 2013 has attracted a diverse group of content creators, filmmakers, producers, distributors, curators, educators and investors to speak as part of TIFF Industry's continuing professional development stream. Conference events include a Master Class on Inspiring the Global Child with Sesame Street, a Case Study on their opening night Canadian film The Legend of Sarila, and an Industry Dialogue on New Technologies & Creative Opportunities with speakers from Firefox Mozilla, Aesthetic, and DruMeBa. To learn more about their other exciting conference events and to register for an industry pass please visit http://tiff.net/industry.
video games and TV to toys and eBooks, there is an ever-increasing
focus on interactivity and the interconnections between platforms in the
kids’ media space. Interactive Ontario’s INplay conference will
highlight new insights and opportunities in kids’ creative industries
when it returns on May 15 & 16, 2013 at the Metro Toronto Convention
Centre. Now in its fourth year, the 2013 edition will take place in
partnership with Canada 3.0, the national digital media conference
presented by the Canadian Digital Media Network.
“Canada 3.0 and
INplay are both centred on innovation and on the importance of the
digital economy in Canada, so it seemed like a natural fit to bring the
conferences together for a day. We’re pleased to be partnering with
CDMN in order to bring greater programming and networking opportunities
to delegates of both conferences,” said Interactive Ontario President
& CEO Donald Henderson.
INplay delegates will have access to
CDMN Canada 3.0 programming on May 15th, with the option to attend
Canada 3.0 on May 14th at a reduced price. Canada 3.0 attendees will
also have access to INplay speakers on May 15th, with the option to
attend the second day of INplay at a reduced rate. Of particular
interest to delegates from both conferences is the May 15th appearance
of Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin. He will deliver a
keynote presentation on the creation and growth of Club Penguin, the
opportunity that Disney saw in opening a studio in Kelowna, thanks to
digital production enabling the brand to utilize Canadian animation and
programming expertise while also capitalizing on the business benefits
of a studio outside L.A. or New York. Sharing a true Canadian success
story, Merrifield will speak to the confluence of benefits to Canadian
digital media production and how to realize them in other fields.
children will be the innovators of tomorrow, so it’s critical that we
target the imaginations of young minds for digital media engagement,”
said Kevin Tuer, CDMN Managing Director. “The convergence of INplay and
CDMN Canada 3.0 provides a great opportunity to broaden the experience
and collaboration at both these important conferences and advance
objectives for Canada’s digital economy.”
conferences have featured speakers from academia, government and
industry, including Mozilla, Schell Games, CBC, Monster Factory,
Children’s Technology Review, TVO, BBC, Toca Boca, Fuel Youth
Engagement, Sesame Workshop, Pancake Mountain and many more.
On April 3, 2013, the 3rd annual Level Up Showcase will kick off at the Design Exchange, featuring studentdeveloped games and over 600 attendees from Ontario's diverse video games community. The event is cohosted and organized by faculty from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), University of Toronto and OCAD University.
Level Up turns the spotlight on the most talented students in design, animation and computer science programs from colleges and universities across Ontario. This event has become synonymous with up-and-coming creative talent, offering an exclusive opportunity for industry professionals and the public to get their hands on playable games from graduating students.
This year’s free event will see a recordbreaking 50 team projects across 12 different institutions: the University of Toronto, OCAD U, UOIT, Centennial College, Humber College, Seneca College, Sheridan College, George Brown College, TriOS College, Ryerson University, York University and Brock University. Level Up attendees can expect games that use the most current technology and gaming platforms, from PCs to mobile devices, and more.
"We're proud to highlight the dynamic graduates entering our evolving games industry," said Steve Engels, Level Up coorganizer. “It’s the only time and place where prospective employers can see our budding talent firsthand under one roof.”
There will also be a competition and a judging panel of industry sponsors including NBC Universal, Microsoft, Big Viking Games, XMG Studio, Zynga and Sennheiser with awards from 3D printing company Anubis presented to the winning teams.
In comments filed with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC),
Interactive Ontario (IO) has urged the OSC to quickly approve proposed
prospectus exemptions for crowdfunding capital.
IO supports these
exemptions as a means to increasing the available pool of capital for Ontario digital media companies. Moving quickly would put the OSC’s
exemption in effect before the US JOBS Act, triggering a competitive
boost to Ontario companies. By contrast, coming in much later than the
US could be a material competitive disadvantage.
digital media industry in Ontario employs approximately 16,000 people;
two-thirds of those are working at companies with ten or fewer
employees. Though Ontario has a supportive environment for interactive
digital media that includes incentives such as the Ontario Interactive
Digital Media Tax Credit, access to capital is an ongoing challenge for
Ontario’s small-and-medium enterprises in this field. Crowdfunding and
capital were two of the most-discussed topics at IO’s recent conference
dedicated to the business of games, GameON: Finance.
digital entertainment products are highly export-oriented and many
Canadian properties have seen immense success outside of Canada in
recent years,” said Interactive Ontario President & CEO Donald
Henderson. “Giving companies the opportunity to access funding from
investors across the globe will expand the capital pool and allow them
to flourish even further.”
IO considers the proposed terms and
conditions in OSC’s crowdfunding exemption Concept Idea to be sound. In
particular, Interactive Ontario is supportive of OSC proposals to:
limit the exemption to Canadian Issuers
not impose any requirement to spend proceeds in Canada
have a limit of $1.5 Million on offerings within any 12 month period
allow the use of social media to direct investors to the funding portal or the issuer’s website
limit an investor’s single investment to $2,500 and no more than $10,000 per year total
impose no restrictions on the nationality of the purchaser
impose minimal mandated information disclosure requirements
Ontario agrees with these proposals, which represent a positive step
forward for Canadian companies and investors, as they strike a
reasonable balance between permitting SME IDM companies to raise
material capital amounts while ensuring investors are not exposed to
Interactive Ontario recently partnered with a trade delegation from Edinburgh to host an Interact Networking Mixer. While they were here, Creative Edinburgh and Caledonian Mercury sat down with Interactive Ontario President & CEO Donald Henderson for a discussion.
IO member company zinc Roe has been acquired by Toca Boca, the world’s leading digital toy app developer. The deal includes the award-winning Tickle Tap apps series and the company’s 10-person development team. zinc Roe Founder Jason Krogh will serve as the CEO of the newly named studio, Sago Sago. Congratulations!