Before I get into today’s digital media news, I want to let you know about this very important resource, because pretty well every Canadian has been touched in some way by cancer, and common themes along the way have the potential to provide insights that can help to improve care and understanding. This is the idea behind the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer’s new online video series, The Truth of It. Developed in collaboration with the Health Design Lab, part of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, The Truth of It features interviews with Canadians diagnosed with cancer who were asked to share their story so others could learn from their experience. By providing candid accounts of the personal impact of cancer, the video series will serve as an educational resource for health care professionals as well as patients, survivors and others with a personal connection to cancer.
Reflecting that there is no one common experience in coping with a cancer diagnosis, the people interviewed for The Truth of It range in age from 20 to 73 and have been diagnosed with different types of cancer including breast, colorectal, lung, testicular, and ovarian. Viewers can choose to watch individual stories or compilations of multiple interview clips that deal with challenges common to the cancer journey such as receiving the diagnosis, telling friends and family, talking to kids, body image, and practical advice. The Truth of It series, with 30 videos currently available, was created in collaboration with accomplished filmmaker Wendy Rowland and Dr. Michael Evans, Director of the Health Design Lab of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
“The Partnership has created this series as part of our work to better understand and improve people’s cancer experience,” said Dr. Margaret Fitch, a psychosocial expert who is Chair of the Partnership’s Cancer Journey Advisory Group and co-lead of the Patient and Family Support Program at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre. “By helping health care professionals to tune into the patient’s perspective, The Truth of It will help to enhance patient care – while also serving as a unique resource for people with a personal connection to cancer who can benefit from insight and information from others who have walked the cancer journey.”
Jennifer Smith is one of the people who shares her story in the videos. In 2003 at the age of 38, she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and has since undergone chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. She is married and has two children.
“If this resource were available when I was diagnosed, it would have helped me navigate the many uncertainties and range of emotions that I experienced,” said Jennifer. “Because hearing from others in similar situations can be such a helpful way of coping, I’m hoping that other people can learn from my story.”
The Truth of It is part of the growing collection of cancer control resources, information and services available at Cancer View Canada, the online portal launched by the Partnership with and for the cancer control community.
“Technology is radically changing the way people seek answers to their health questions, but hearing about someone’s actual experience — their ‘story’ — is still the most powerful tool,” said Dr. Michael Evans, family physician and Director of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. “In marrying technology with stories, The Truth of It enables people to engage with other Canadians whose experiences resonate with their own. These firsthand accounts offer a range of perspectives that make this series useful to both patients and professionals.”
The above article can also serve as a reminder of several upcoming fundraiser events that we hope you will help support. The Canary Derby will run in Vancouver/Burnaby on September 25th. This is a soap box derby for technology companies who want to help fund early cancer detection research, and as an added bonus, the derby is a ton of fun.
October 3rd is CIBC’s Run For The Cure, Canada’s largest single day, volunteer-led fundraising event dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research, and education and awareness programs. Who will you be running for?
For Guild Wars players, you can get involved by supporting the Gamers Give Back resurrection of Pink Day in L.A. (Lion’s Arch), which will take place on October 16th. If you don’t play Guild Wars, you can still support the event via its Canadian Cancer Society donation page.
Dragon Age players – today is the day for the latest DLC chapter. Bioware invites you to delve deep underground in Golems of Amgarrak to save a missing dwarven expedition in search of ancient secrets for creating monstrous constructs. Only you can uncover the gruesome fate that befell them.
Put your Warden back in action and adventure through new environments, meet new characters and defeat never before seen creatures. With an engrossing new storyline and challenging puzzles this is one add-on for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 versions that you don’t want to miss.
* Import your character from Origins or Awakening or create a new, high-level hero!
* Face an all-new terrifying creature
* Earn powerful rewards that transfer into your Awakening and Origins campaign
* An advanced challenge for even the most experienced adventurers
The Canadian Innovation Exchange (December 7th in Toronto) is on the hunt for the company with the most innovative product or services in ICT, Cleantech, and Digital Media. Being recognized as one of Canada’s Hottest Innovative Companies is a tremendous accolade and will enable you to meet with potential partners, customers, investors and your peers in facilitated meeting exchanges.
You will also be able to:
* Achieve broad media recognition as one of Canada’s Hottest Innovative Companies
* Connect with the brightest minds behind the most cutting edge innovations in ICT, Cleantech and Digital Media
* Gain insight into the market as industry experts, visionaries and trailblazers share their knowledge and experience
Submit your profile by Friday August 13th 2010 and receive 50% off your pass to CIX 2010.
(If you are chosen to present you will receive a full refund plus a free additional pass for a colleague to attend CIX 2010). Final submission deadline is October 1st, 2010
Ubisoft announced that it will release a Collectors’ Edition of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood in conjunction with the launch of the game this November 16th. The Collector’s Edition of the game will be bundled with exclusive content and items including (may be subject to change):
– The Harlequin Jack-in-the-Box Collectible (exclusive to GameStop customers only) or The Doctor Jack-in-the-Box Collectible (available at all other participating retailers)
– Two Exclusive In-Game Single Player Maps
– Hard Copy Strategy Map of Rome
– Exclusive Art Book
– Bonus Disc which will contain an exclusive Making-of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Video, a digital Sneak Peak at the Assassin’s Creed Comic, trailers and the Game Soundtrack.
As noted in the features list above, if you pre-order your Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Collector’s Edition from a retailer other than GameStop, you will receive The Doctor instead of The Harlequin.
Once again, though, the European collector’s version far outstrips that which is available to the game’s “home country of development” and in my opinion tells North American gamers that once again those who live across the Atlantic are the favourites, so will be getting loads of cool stuff.
The EU version contains:
Renaissance Collector Chest
Map of Rome
Multiplayer characters cards
Lineage DVD along with Bonus DVD and game soundtrack
2 Exclusive single player maps: Aqua Gear & Trajan Market
2 Multiplayer characters: Harlequin & Officer
Additional bonus content yet to be revealed
For $99.99, The Collector’s Edition will be available for the Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3. Supplies are limited, so pre-order now to guarantee a copy. Note: I tried to pre-order yesterday from our local EB Games outlet, the CE wasn’t even in their system yet, and as of a few minutes ago, it’s still not available at Gamestop.ca’s online store either. Apparently, if you pre-order from Amazon.com you also get Ezio’s Helmschmied Drachen Armour, but I haven’t confirmed if this will be available on Amazon.ca because they don’t have the CE listed at all.
Wicked Interactive Ltd. and Suba Games LLC Inc. are bringing the hit free-to-play MMORPG Fragoria back to the North American market via the Suba Games portal. Fragoria is one of the most advanced web-based massively multiplayer online role playing games—often referred to as a game that expands the boundaries of what a browser-based game can be. To celebrat Fragoria’s North American launch campaign, Suba Games has a month of giveaways, prizes, in-game events, and much more.
The game features beautifully detailed sprite graphics, 18 character classes to choose from, an immersive pet system, multiple PvP (Player vs. Player) modes, character professions, and most importantly, a slew of missions—with full location guiding for every quest. In Fragoria players will indulge themselves in a world full of fantasy and fights. They will compete against others in PvP Modes such as; The Castle, Blade Runner, Fighter Pit, Witch’s Circle, Capture the Flag, Gone Nuts, Last Man Standing, Snow Fortress, Mayhem and King of the Hill.
Together with HMH Interactive, Canadian publisher DreamCatcher Games and JoWooD will release two high-class Adventure Titles in Winter 2010 – Book of Unwritten Tales and Haunted for global distribution for PC DVD.
Book of Unwritten Tales, the award-winning Point & Click Adventure has already been released in the first quarter 2009 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and has received excellent feedback by gaming media and gamers. JoWooD Entertainment will now act as the global distributor and is looking forward to the release of the localized versions of the game. A big emphasis will be put on rendering homage to the great books and movies of the role game and fantasy genre. Therefore JoWooD will hire the best translators and Voice Actors so that the great quality of the animated dialogues is assured. More than 40 characters will wittily interact so that the gamer can solve more than 150 challenging riddles in more than 60 lovingly created settings.
Book of Unwritten Tales will be THE Adventure Release 2010 – release date winter 2010.
Haunted is a new adventure that stands in line with previous games by the genre specialist Deck 13, who is internationally renowned for successful classics such as “ANKH” and “Jack Keane”. The high quality game will inspire gamers with a harmonious storyline and demanding riddles.
Haunted takes the gamer along with the main character Mary, who finds herself all alone on the mysterious streets of London during the 19th Century after her sister’s death. But she soon realizes she is not as lonesome as she thought when she hears her sister’s voice asking her for help. In the course of the game, Mary is also joined by supernatural attendants as ghosts come to support her… – needless to say that the gamer will encounter the typical Deck 13 humor.
“With both of the adventure games Haunted and Book Of Unwritten Tales, we signed two extraordinary Adventure Games that were ‘made in Germany’ and we are proud to distribute these A-Titles globally”, says a joyful Stefan Berger, Head of Business Development JoWooD Entertainment.
“Both the Marketing and the Distribution departments are highly motivated and are looking forward to releasing these real gems. The two games will significantly promote our brands ‘The Adventure Company’ position at the top of the Adventure Game Genre.”
The Canada Media Fund has approved funding for 21 projects (PDF) of the 33 which had applied for funding from the English POV Program. The program budget, at $3.5M, has been fully subscribed, with $2.6M committed to television components and $0.9M committed to digital media components. Twelve of the projects included rich and substantial digital media components, six included VOD/digital distribution (not funded by the CMF), and three included basic digital media components (not funded by the CMF).
Of the approved projects, one was from Atlantic Canada, nine from Quebec, seven from Ontario, and four from Western Canada. Eight of the 21 projects had a broadcaster agreement at the application stage. All projects have until December 6 to complete financing, including broadcaster agreements. It should be noted that these decisions and funding commitments are preliminary, as all requests must undergo a contracting process. Funding is not final until contracts are signed. An updated list will be published once contracting is complete.
The Canada Media Fund is also holding a contest for a chance to win a VIP weekend for two to Montréal, including transportation, two nights’ accommodation, and tickets to the 2010 Prix Gémeaux gala. The objective of the contest to raise awareness amongst the Canadian public about the organization and to draw the connection between the shows they love to watch and the funding agency that supports their creation.
Congratulations to DHX Media Ltd on the sealing of two licensing deals for its pre-school Kid vs Kat series in Latin America with TV Azteca in Mexico and ECTV in Ecuador. The sales come following the second season commission of the series from Disney XD US, Disney XD Europe, and YTV in Canada.
Josh Scherba, SVP Distribution of DHX Media commented: “Our shows have a significant presence in Latin America, and we’re keen to do more business in the region. Kid vs Kat is building a strong fan base, and the commitment from Disney XD and YTV to a second season gives us a solid foundation for further international deals.”
Created by Rob Boutilier, Kid vs Kat won the 2009 Leo Award for Best Animated Programme and airs in over 100 territories DHX Media has sold the show to a number of additional broadcasters including VRAK Canada, ABC Australia, Disney Latin America, Cartoon Network Korea, Disney India, Disney Japan and Nick SE Asia.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) returns to the Toronto International Film Festival (September 9-19, 2010) with three films—the world premiere of Sturla Gunnarsson’s documentary about Canadian scientist and activist David Suzuki (co-production with Entertainment One); the Canadian premiere of animator Claude Cloutier’s latest short; and Theodore Ushev’s animated tribute to filmmaker Arthur Lipsett.
Award-winning director Sturla Gunnarsson presents a biography of ideas featuring iconic Canadian scientist, educator, broadcaster and activist David Suzuki. At 73 years of age, Suzuki delivered what he describes as “a last lecture—a distillation of my life and thoughts, my legacy, what I want to say before I die.” In Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie, Gunnarsson interweaves the lecture with scenes from the places and the major social, scientific, cultural and political events of the past 70 years of Suzuki’s life. Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie is produced by Entertainment One in co-production with the NFB and in association with CBC.
The short animated film The Trenches is an intense cinematic experience, a powerful anti-war film that asks the question, Why? Created through archival images masterfully contemporized by filmmaker Claude Cloutier’s India ink and brush artistry, The Trenches follows the inner reality of the protagonist, a young soldier on the battlefield, through half-real, half-surrealistic scenes that reveal the symbolic importance of the earth. The Trenches is produced by Marc Bertrand at the NFB’s French Animation Studio.
Theodore Ushev’s Lipsett Diaries is a descent into the maelstrom of anguish that tormented Arthur Lipsett, a famed Canadian experimental filmmaker who died at 49. Narrated by Xavier Dolan, the animated short uses a series of imagined diary entries transmuted into a clash of images and sounds to evoke the artist’s frenzied creations and dizzying descent into depression and madness. Lipsett Diaries is produced by Marc Bertrand at the NFB’s French Animation Studio.
Despite a year of decreased revenues for all other major media in Canada, the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB) today announced that Canadian Online Advertising Revenues for 2009 exceeded budgeted expectations of $1.75 billion, and grew by 14% to $1.82 billion for 2009.
According to IABC’s study (PDF), publisher revenue from Online advertising in Canada has increased at double digit rates in all but one of the past 10 years — building from $98 million in 2000 to the $1.82 billion mark reported above — and is rapidly closing in on Newspaper ad revenue.
Online Advertising now represents 13% of the combined $13.8 billion total spent on all channels.
Of the $1.82 billion, approximately $352 million or 19% of Online ad revenue was received by French Canadian Online publishing properties, representing year-over-year growth of 11%. Search advertising continues to lead in terms of share of dollars booked by Online Publishers ($741 million/41%), followed by Display ($578 million/32%) and Classifieds ($467 million/26%). Together, these three advertising vehicles represent 99% of all of the Online advertising booked in Canada.
Online Video advertising nearly doubled in 2009: growing from $12 million in 2008 to $20 million; while Publisher-based Email advertising lost ground, declining from $18 million in 2008 to just $13 million in 2009. Advertising within the VideoGaming environment in Canada was also reported for the first time in 2009, and sits at $3 million dollars.
2009 Canadian Online Ad Revenue by Advertiser Category was also tabulated, and was as follows:
– Automotive – 12%;
– Packaged Goods – 10%;
– Financial – 10%;
– Technology -9%;
– Retail – 7%;
– Telecommunications – 5%;
– Entertainment – 5%;
– Leisure (Travel, Hotel, Hospitality) – 5%;
– Media – 4%;
– Pharma/Health – 2%; and,
– Other – 31%.
Publishers within IAB Canada’s Annual Revenue Survey have projected that their revenues will continue to grow at an enviable pace, with Online Advertising Revenue in Canada estimated to be $2.1 billion in 2010, or 15% more than the 2009 actuals. This forecast includes a 14% increase to $400 million for French Publishers’ Online advertising revenues.
“It seems incredible that after passing the $1 billion revenue mark just two years ago — and after the worst recession in history — Internet advertising in Canada is poised to break through to the $2 billion mark in 2010,” says Paula Gignac, President, IAB Canada.
“What’s even more impressive, is that Internet advertising in Canada has grown at a double-digit rate in the face of low, no, or negative growth in other countries. To me, that’s a testament to both the rising importance of the Internet within the total media mix, and the growing expertise in Interactive marketing within the Canadian advertising community. Clearly, the few advertising pioneers of yesterday have now been joined by a mass of companies who have not only made the jump to Interactive, but who are also increasing their investment based on positive brand and direct results from the various channels within.”
IAB Canada also has several upcoming events – MIXX Canada takes place in Toronto this September 29th, and there is a full slate of Road Show events taking place across the country between September 30th and October 15th. Check the MIXX Canada site for dates and locations.
The final word today goes to MEGA Brands, who is very excited to announce the international launch of its all-new construction-toy line: Dragons Universe™. The story of Dragons Universe starts on an isolated planet where the soldiers of the Alliance are under attack from the Predavors, an alien race of warlike Dragons. The Predavors have come in search of the Cores, glowing spheres that are the source of all power.
Kids will be immersed into the Dragons Universe brand through a 360 degree marketing campaign including television & online advertising, a microsite, retail events and displays, an online comic book and other exciting initiatives.
The Dragons Universe product line introduces an incredible group of new characters, playsets, and fearsome dragons, including the Small Dragon Eggs and Alliance Pods. At a SRP of $6.99 (USD), this assortment features buildable Predavor Dragons or Alliance Speeders, each sold with a unique storage container. The key collectible of the line is the Large Dragon Egg assortment, at a SRP of $11.99 (USD). Each of these four big buildable Dragons, Clawripper, Blackheart, Torchwing and Tailspike, include removable weapons and real working missile launchers. The included storage container is a large dragon egg.
The Dragons Universe playsets range from SRP of $19.99 to $49.99 (USD), and each one includes characters, Dragons and buildable vehicles to let kids create their own battle scenes. The Rapid Fire Dragon Fighter features the unique Flight Controller for precise aerial maneuvers that doubles as landing gear, real working weapon and Alliance and Predavor characters. The Deluxe Dual-Blast Dragon Hunter ratchets up the action with twin firing weapons, Flight Controller landing gear, and awesome light and sound FX including multiple weapon sounds, light-up Engine Cores and realistic power-up, flight and landing sound effects. The battle rages with two Alliance soldiers and the Predavor Dragon Iceblaze.
The battle reaches epic proportions with the Ultimate Action Dragon Destroyer. The massive Alliance Warbyrd takes on two Predavor Dragons, Bloodclaw and Deadeye, with multiple missile launchers, dual Flight Controllers and incredible sound and light effects. And for the first time, kids can take an active part in the battle with the Dragon Blaster that detaches from the ship to bring true role-play into the world of Dragons Universe.