Revival 629 begins transformation into convergent media centre
April 22, 2014
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.


DHX buys Epitome
April 8, 2014
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.

IO members nominated for Youth Media Alliance French-Language Awards of Excellence
April 8, 2014
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!


Cross-media producers, pitch your innovative projects in Paris in June
March 25, 2014
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


IO member Marblemedia partners on new waterpark plan
March 24, 2014
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.


Ubisoft Toronto seeks playtesters
March 18, 2014
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




March 13, 2014
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.


Rollers of the Realm wins GDC Best in Play award
March 10, 2014
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!

CBC and TVO win Canadian Screen Awards
March 10, 2014
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.

Survey on Innovation Process in the Entertainment and Creative Clusters
March 10, 2014
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.


NEXT pre-accelerator program
March 10, 2014
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.


Digital Media Town Hall recap
March 10, 2014
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.


Interactive Ontario announces upcoming departure of President & CEO Donald Henderson
February 20, 2014
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.

Kidobi partners on content to get kids moving
February 10, 2014
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.


TFO releases first Edululu report
February 10, 2014
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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