Front Row acquires cultureONE
May 20, 2015
Canada's largest film insurance brokerage, Front Row, has acquired cultureONE to create a complete arts and entertainment insurance provider. Both companies are IO members.  

This means the same engaged service, but new offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and LA. It means seamless access from all locations to Front Row's technical expertise and market leverage along with cultureONE's carefully crafted One-2-3D program for animation, vfx, DM and post companies. 

cultureONE is known for being the leader in the Canadian performing arts scene with Massey Hall, Roy Thomson Hall and the Four Season's Centre as clients as well as studios in the animation and post world like GURU Studio, Keyframe Digital Productions, Playfight, Rocket Science, Toonbox and more.


Documentary on Rogers TV and IO Hackathon debuts tonight
May 5, 2015

In January 2015, Rogers TV and Interactive Ontario teamed up to host a weekend Hackathon in Toronto. Individuals and teams competed to explore what the future of community television should look like. From a mathematician to media professionals, a cyberinfrastructure developer to a software engineer, participants spent the weekend brainstorming and concept building, ultimately presenting 5 minute pitches to a panel of judges from Rogers and IO. 

Rogers TV created a documentary about the event which debuts tonight on cable 10/63 in Toronto/Scarborough at 10pm. Click here to learn more and find additional air dates! 


SHG Studios receives Outstanding Business Achievement Award
May 5, 2015
IO member SHG Studios (formerly Snakehead Games), has been recognized by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce with an Outstanding Business Achievement Award in the small business category.

Snakehead Games Studios was launched in 2008 as a browser-based independent game production company. Its first games became multi-million dollar revenue success stories. The company then moved onto mobile platforms, creating its first major mobile offering in 2013. Snakehead Games Studios has well over 250,000 unique users to date from its catalogue of Social RPGs and causal games, which are played globally on a daily basis.

SHG Studios Managing Director Colin Ferguson is also a member of the Interactive Ontario Board of Directors. Congratulations Colin and SHG Studios!


Ontario's Interactive Digital Media industry applauds the Ontario government for continuing to recognize the importance of the IDM sector
April 23, 2015
Today's Ontario Budget introduced a variety of changes to the tax credit policies for Ontario's creative industries, including Ontario's IDM sector, which is made up of leading developers that create video games, mobile apps, eLearning, transmedia, among other products. The actions taken by the Province will renew and double the Interactive Digital Media Fund and will make changes to eligibility for the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC).

"Ontario's interactive digital media (IDM) sector has grown from a handful of companies, to an industry that now employs over 17000 FTEs, generates over $1 billion for the economy, and has made the province a world leader in IDM creation," said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director of Interactive Ontario which represents Ontario's IDM sector. "The changes to the OIDMTC in today's budget will ensure core Ontario IDM companies can continue to invest, hire more young people, and make Ontario a centre for innovation that can compete on the world stage." 

Interactive Ontario supports the government's decision to narrow the tax credit to bona fide IDM creators. We will need to better understand the implications for informational and educational products but understand the challenge faced by the government in drawing a clear line.

"The rapidly evolving global economy demands that we strive to be world-class IDM creators. The support from the Ontario government in the form of tax credits is a key differentiator to make this a reality and has already helped establish and grow companies within the province that today generate $1.25 billion in IDM exports for Ontario." commented Vikas Gupta, CEO of Big Blue Bubble "We applaud the decision made by Premier Wynne's government to continue to support bona fide IDM creation."

The changes to the 90% rule in the OIDMTC will create better certainty and speed up processing of the credit, but unfortunately still maintain the barriers that prevent Ontario IDM companies from working together. 

"We are delighted to see the significant increase in the IDM Fund from $3 Million to $6 Million in this fiscal year, with a future increase in 2016-17 to $10 Million annually," said Peter Miller, Chair of Interactive Ontario.   

Interactive Ontario notes with appreciation the fact that it was invited to participate in discussions on support mechanisms for the IDM industry over the past several months with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport, Ministry of Finance and Treasury Board.


Advocacy update - Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit
April 20, 2015
With the provincial budget scheduled for April 23, we are pleased to provide an update on Interactive Ontario's robust advocacy campaign surrounding the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit.

IO staff, board members and members have taken over a dozen meetings with staff and elected representatives in the Premier's Office, the Treasury Board, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Through these meetings, we have been able to educate and inform key players about our industry and its unique workings. We have ensured that the concerns that were voiced at our four public townhall meetings (Toronto, Waterloo, St. Catharines and Ottawa) have been relayed to the government and have provided tools to help IDM industry stakeholders contact elected officials directly.

In our meetings, we have emphasized the importance of the OIDMTC to the success of our industry - and its necessity in helping Ontario's share of the Canadian IDM GDP reach that of Quebec and British Columbia. We have highlighted the innovation happening in Ontario and the ways that the OIDMTC supports the creation of knowledge-based jobs at the core of building a leading digital economy in Ontario, as well as the volume of export sales generated by IDM in our province. 

The decision now rests with the Ontario government and we hope that they will heed our advice to reduce the 'outliers' accessing the credit while leaving access intact for all bona fide IDM creators and making improvements to increase the OIDMTC's efficiency and impact. IO will be attending the budget lockup and will provide news on the outcome of the review as soon as it is available.


Emergence Lab 2015: Call for Applications
April 13, 2015
Emergence Lab is the first Franco-Canadian residency dedicated to emerging and innovative forms of storytelling for new platforms, it takes place in Banff, Canada, from June 1 to 5, 2015. This five-day residency brings together experienced traditional authors with multimedia artists and technicians to explore the world of multi platform stories. The Emergence Lab gathers 8 participants (4 French - Canadian 4) and 8 mentors around 2 multiplatform interactive projects specially selected for the program. 

The participants are chosen in two phases: the two participants presenting a story were chosen first, and now the expert participants are chosen through this call. 

We are looking for 6 expert participants with skills and experience in the areas of designer (graphic designer, animation, illustrator, cartoonist), sound designer, music composer, programmer & coder, user experience designer & interactive game designer, videography. Enrollment in this program is limited to Canadian citizens and citizens of France. 

Emergence Lab is a partnership between The Banff Centre, the Institut francais, and the French Embassy in Canada with the support of the Canadian Media Fund and On Screen Manitoba.

Find out more about the Emergence Lab and apply: http://www.banffcentre.ca//programs/program.aspx?id=1586 


Andra Sheffer to be honoured with Youth Media Alliance Award
April 7, 2015
At the Youth Media Alliance English-Language Awards of Excellence Gala on May 27, IO board member Andra Sheffer will receive the Outstanding Achievement Award. Andra is the CEO of the Independent Production Fund and the COGECO Program Development Fund and has also worked at the Bell Fund, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and the Toronto International Film Festival. Congratulations Andra!

IO board member wins Digital Media Trailblazing Award
March 2, 2015
At the Canadian Screen Awards gala on February 24, IO board member Jeffrey Elliott was the deserving recipient of the Digital Media Trailblazing Award for having created the world's first interactive, multiplatform digital channel (BITE) and founding one of Canada's leading multiplatform companies (GlassBOX TV). Congratulations Jeffrey!


RESCHEDULED: OIDMTC Townhall
February 2, 2015
Due to the inclement weather conditions, we will be rescheduling the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit Townhall that was scheduled for tonight.

The OIDMTC Townhall will now take place on Monday, February 9th from 6-8pm at Corus Quay (25 Dockside Drive). Your registration for the event will automatically be transferred to the rescheduled date. 

We apologize for the inconvenience, but hope that this will allow a greater number of attendees to safely travel to the event and participate in this important dialogue.


Looking to expand your team? Harness the benefits of a diverse workforce
January 27, 2015
Ready, Willing & Able (RWA) is a national initiative that connects employers with a talented but often overlooked labour pool. In the face of a rapidly growing digital economy, the RWA team can offer employers the resources, supports and connections needed to leverage the unique strengths and skills of someone with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder.
 
If you are an employer who is looking to tap into the benefits of an inclusive workforce, contact Radha MacCulloch, Regional Autism Coordinator with Ready, Willing & Able at 416-322-7877 ext 225 or rmacculloch@autism.net.
 



OMDC announces the Collaboration and Innovation Fund
January 27, 2015
The Collaboration and Innovation Fund (CIF) is a pilot program developed in response to ongoing changes in the marketplace, the continued blending of content across sectors and platforms, and evolving business models. The CIF will help transform innovative and entrepreneurial ideas into goods and services, and drive growth and productivity.

The CIF provides support for projects that fit within OMDC's mandate but currently fall outside of existing program parameters.

Deadline:
Phase One - Development Deadline: Monday, March 30, 2015 by 5:00 pm
Phase Two - Production/Implementation Deadline: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 by 5:00 pm

Learn more about the program here



Discount on Banff World Media Festival for IO members
January 16, 2015

Thinking of heading to the Banff World Media Festival? As an Interactive Ontario member you'll receive exclusive discounted pricing!  Don't miss the world's largest and most important gathering of entertainment industry and digital media executives dedicated to media content production, broadcast and distribution within TV and digital media. The 36th annual Banff World Media Festival will take place June 7-10, 2015 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Canada.  For more information and to purchase discounted passes contact communications@interactiveontario.com



Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit Townhall - February 2
January 16, 2015

Calling all Interactive Ontario members, partners and the Ontario IDM industry at large to an important Townhall exclusively focused on the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC) on February 2, 2015 at Corus Quay (25 Dockside Drive, 8th Floor Theatre).

In November 2014, the Ministry of Finance announced a review of the scope and parameters of the OIDMTC.

In the absence of specifics, the impacts could be dramatic.  
 
Interactive Ontario is seeking to influence and guide this review for positive change; as this tax credit is critical to the continued growth of Ontario's IDM industry. To do so we are working with members, the IDM industry and various levels of Ontario government.
 
Interactive Ontario invites you to participate in an open and frank dialogue.

Let your voice be heard.  Speak out about the unique challenges and opportunities your business is facing and help us create a strong and unified voice for our industry and our province. 
 
Our common goal - for the government to better understand the value of the credit and how essential it is to our industry's future success.
We hope to see you all on February 2nd at this important Digital Media Townhall.

6:00 to 6:30pm - Arrive / Networking
6:30 to 6:45pm - Opening Remarks
6:45 to 7:15pm - The Current Situation
7:15 to 8:00pm - Interactive Discussion


AToMiC Awards call for entries
January 12, 2015
AToMiC Awards celebrates the partnerships, programs and new developments that elevate the Canadian media industry. The awards bring together producers and networks with the agency and brand worlds, to showcase the projects that went above and beyond.
 
AToMiC recognizes the work of producers, platforms, digital media companies and agencies, as long as they blow up conventional thinking when it comes to content & tech creativity - resulting in entertainment, media & marketing innovation. 
 
The call for entries is now open, spanning categories such as Best Transmedia*, Best Digital Engagement, Best Broadcast Engagement, Best Tech Breakthrough, AToMiC Collaboration and many more. 
 
The winners will be celebrated at a Toronto awards show in May, and beyond the networking opportunity across sectors, the winning work will be profiled in strategy's June issue, which will be seen by Canada's media, marketing and business community - via bonus distribution with The Globe and Mail - and globally via distribution at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
 
Think you have what it takes? Time to submit those cases.
 
Deadline is January 23, 2015.
 
*Best Transmedia - Viewers are not sitting complacently in front of the TV waiting for your content to arrive. To reach them (wherever they are) you need a presence on whatever device they're toting. This category celebrates the producers, networks and brands developing true transmedia content - entertainment whose complementary iterations intrigue viewers across many platforms, and messaging that uses each channel to its utmost potential.


Interact - Music and IDM
December 18, 2014

Collaborations between musicians and interactive digital media creators make for highly rewarding results, from triple A games like Rock Band to immersive projects like Bjork's interactive album Biophilia. At the January edition of Interact, we'll explore some of the possibilities and make connections between musicians and IDM creators. 

Mike Tanner will speak about his work creating and promoting opportunities for musicians in his role as Music Sector Development Officer with the City of Toronto. 

Alex Jansen of Pop Sandbox will speak about Loud on Planet X, an upcoming rhythm shooter for mobile devices featuring the work of established and emerging indie musicians. 

The brief presentations will be followed by food, drinks and the chance to converse with fellow IDM producers and music professionals. Your ticket includes a drink ticket, hors d'oeuvres, presentations and plenty of networking. As always, it's free for IO members and $15 standard. 
 
Interact: Music and IDM
January 14, 2014
6-8pm
Bar Italia - 582 College Street, Toronto 
Hosted by Interactive Ontario
Sponsored by the City of Toronto
Learn more or register at interactjan2015.eventbrite.ca 
 



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