24th January 2011

More Digital By The Day

Toon BoomIf you have children who are interested in animation, check out Toon Boom Animation’s version 5 of the very popular Flip Boom Classic animation software. Version 5, which costs $39.99, includes a brand new sound library whose audio files can be easily dragged and dropped into your child’s project – or your young animator can use voice recordings to bring life to his or her 2D animations.

QuickPlay MediaQuickPlay Media Inc. has joined the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) LLC, a cross-industry consortium dedicated to creating a consumer-friendly open market for digital content distribution. With DECE’s UltraViolet™, consumers will have an easy and consistent way to collect and watch movie and television content across multiple branded platforms, such as computers, connected TVs, game consoles, smartphones and tablets.

According to research by Nielsen, consumer demand to watch TV and movies anywhere, at any time is growing, and DECE will help accelerate this trend by providing those who purchase UltraViolet-branded media and services with a high-quality and convenient entertainment experience. Through the UltraViolet Account system, each household will be able to create an account for up to six members who can access their household’s UltraViolet movies, TV and other entertainment via participating retailers, streaming providers and devices. Consumers will also be able to register up to 12 UltraViolet devices and then easily download or share content among them. In addition, UltraViolet streaming access will enable consumers to access their collections via set-top boxes and most places where they can access the web.

QuickPlay Media’s experience includes powering premium mobile video services for live TV, video on demand (VOD) and radio services for many of the world’s largest communications providers. The company’s offerings include PrimeTime2GoTM, an award-winning premium TV service, and a complete suite of solutions for the delivery of high-quality video across multiple platforms. QuickPlay’s Multi-Screen Movie Solution provides seamless switching of movie viewing between devices, and includes a feature-rich storefront with options for customization of branding, merchandising, navigation and billing integration. Its Multi-Screen TV Solution delivers a fully-integrated entertainment experience with unified delivery of download and streaming DVR capabilities for live TV and VOD.

TVOTVO has launched of a number of new and innovative connected TV apps for Boxee and Yahoo! TV that bring the Internet to the traditional TV screen. Boxee is the newly released set top box which allows the user to connect their TV to the internet, while the Yahoo! TV widget engine is built into several new TVs at the point of manufacturing and allows for web content to be viewed on the TV screen. TVO has released three apps for Yahoo! and Boxee, including:

* Gisèle’s Big Backyard for ages 2-5,
* The Space for ages 6-11, and
* TVO.org video content including Allan Gregg In Conversation, Big Ideas, Think Again and The Agenda with Steve Paikin.

In addition to the three new apps, the Boxee TV Show Library also features episodes of The Agenda with Steve Paikin.

Based on the Ontario school curriculum, all TVOKids content, including Gisèle’s Big Backyard and The Space, is teacher tested and developed in conjunction with TVO’s in-house educational specialist.

These advancements come out of the “IdeaShaker” digital innovation lab, which is TVO’s incubator for new talent, ideas and products. Students from Sheridan College’s Interactive Multimedia post-graduate program have worked alongside TVO staff on both connected TV projects from conception to launch.

Based on this success, TVO is excited to partner with Sheridan’s post-graduate program to nurture and develop new talent who will contribute to cutting-edge technology advances in public educational media. As part of the partnership, students gain employment experience through TVO and help develop new media applications from the ground up.

Your grandmother’s or mother’s life could be saved by a new smartphone application developed by a joint venture in Ottawa. Taynaxa Software and Flare Consulting have rescue mecreated “Rescue Me!“, an emergency application that will automatically send a distress message if your loved one is incapacitated and doesn’t cancel it at a certain time.

The phone can be configured with a pre-set “Rescue Me!” message to be sent at a specific date and time (and repeated daily or weekly, for example). At the pre-arranged time, the phone prompts the user to cancel the message. If it is not canceled it will be sent to two contact numbers.

The benefit of “Rescue Me!” over monitored “panic buttons” with high charges is that it requires intervention NOT to send a message. As a result, if the user is incapacitated through a fall or other mishap, the distress message can still be sent at the appointed time.

Monitoring systems can cost over $100 every month, and still rely on an elderly person pressing a button to summon help. Version 1 of “Rescue Me!” is currently for sale online in the Android Marketplace store for just $1.99. The application will be equally as useful to outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers, climbers, and skiers or even to people going on a blind date or setting out on a drive in potentially bad conditions. All the user has to do is estimate when they expect to be back safe and sound and, if they don’t confirm that all is well at that particular time, “Rescue Me!” will alert their key contacts to the potential problem.

Mood MediaMood Media Corporation has announced that its retail point of sale division, Somerset Entertainment, has partnered with Encore, Inc. (Encore), a wholly owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation, to launch Sony Online Entertainment’s multi-million selling Wheel of Fortune® games to its increasingly popular casual games retail program. Under the agreement with Encore, Wheel of Fortune®, Hoyle® and other well-known Encore games will be sold through Mood’s interactive displays at retail, which allow customers to sample the games via interactive video before purchasing.

antarctica digitalAntarctica Digital has launched Future Flow Media, a new division of the North Vancouver digital marketing service provider that will offer multi-channel list rental email and mobile services that advance digital marketing campaigns. Future Flow Media will focus exclusively on email marketing campaigns and specialized, integrated marketing support. The company’s target market includes media agencies, advertising agencies and corporate marketing professionals across all verticals. Future Flow Media

“Antarctica Digital has years of proven experience in providing list-growth techniques such as contests, sweepstakes, and coupons,” said Chris O’Neill, director of business development for Antarctica Digital. “Due to the success we’ve had with email marketing campaigns, we saw the need to create a separate entity that’s focused solely on providing a service offering that helps clients acquire new email opt-ins and expand their subscriber bases through permission-based directories.”

Future Flow Media is not just a data aggregator — the division is a full-service marketing provider. If needed, Future Flow Media can provide best practice recommendations to enable clients to integrate mobile and email marketing campaigns with custom microsites, online contests, coupons, and social media programs. The company’s consultants will help clients boost the overall quality of email campaigns in efforts to acquire new customers, expand their marketing databases and increase brand loyalty.

eowcThe Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (EOWC) as part of their $170 million dollar regional broadband project, has awarded a contract to Barrett Xplore Inc., through its Xplornet brand, to provide immediate and more affordable broadband access via satellite to residents across eastern Ontario.

For many people and businesses that today cannot access high-speed Internet this new arrangement makes access to the possibilities of broadband a reality. Starting on January 24, 2011 Barrett Xplore Inc. will begin offering residents an up to 1.5 Mbps package for $69.99 per month with an upfront one-time cost as low as $99 depending on contract length.

EOWC residents will benefit from new technologies as the Barrett network evolves. Starting in 2012, Barrett’s new 4G network will be available in the EOWC region. This network will use High-Throughput Satellites that will be capable of speeds up to 25 Mbps, and will offer even better value for end-consumers. Xplornet satellite customers who sign up for this new offer will have the option in 2012 to upgrade to the new 4G network. At the same time, EOWC’s work on an ultra high-speed, fibre optic telecommunications grid for Eastern Ontario is continuing on schedule.

shaw mediaShaw Media and Global Television have announced that its original drama series Combat Hospital has been picked up by ABC. The 13 episode series, the second Global series to be picked up by the US network, will air in simulcast with ABC this summer.

Set in a hospital inspired by the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit (MMU) at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, Combat Hospital charts the frantic lives of the hospital’s resident doctors and nurses from Canada, America, the UK and other allied countries. This candid, entertaining and sometimes brutal series follows Canadian trauma surgeon Rebecca Kincaid as she experiences relentless life and death battles on the surgeon’s table that transcend politically-charged stereotypes and is confronted with making the tough decisions that come with the realities of frontline medicine

Combat Hospital is a joint production of Canada’s Sienna Films and the UK’s Artists Studio with Carrie Stein at 3 Arts Entertainment and Simon Vaughan at Lookout Point heading up international sales. Executive Producers are Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny for Sienna Films (The Cry of the Owl—with BBC Films, MACT Productions, Diamonds—CBC/ABC, with Buffalo Gal Pictures, Alchemy Television and Philo Films, How She Move—Paramount Vantage/MTV Films/Mongrel Media), Gub Neal, Justin Thompson-Glover and Patrick Irwin for Artists Studio; Executive Producer/ Showrunner Dan Petrie Jr. will head up the writing room on the show originally created by Jinder Chalmers and Douglas Steinberg.

CTVMeanwhile, CTV announced today its international hit series FLASHPOINT will conclude its third season with a shocking season finale immediately following SUPER BOWL XLV (Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers) in all markets on Sunday, Feb. 6. In the gripping cliff-hanger episode, Canada’s favourite TV cop unit is threatened like never before as the fate of Team One and the life of one their own hangs in the balance. The season finale guest stars renowned actor Victor Garber (ALIAS, ELI STONE) as an elite military psychologist who sets his sights on destroying Team One.

The scheduling comes following a remarkable mid-season run on Tuesday nights this Winter, where FLASHPOINT has won the 10 p.m. timeslot on CTV against new simulcasts of THE GOOD WIFE (Global/CBS) for two weeks in a row. Premiering with 1.7 million viewers on Jan. 4, the series has seen impressive double digit growth (15-24%) in the three, key adult demos compared to last season, and series’ high audiences among A18-34.

Last year’s SUPER BOWL broadcast was watched by more than 6 million viewers on CTV. CTV’s SUPER BOWL coverage kicks off at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 6 with the pre-game, followed by SUPER BOWL XLV at 6 p.m. ET.

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24th January 2011

Events and Competitions For Your Consideration

Dare To Be Digital 2011 is seeking applicants for its annual student competition held University of Abertay Dundee, Scotland. For complete details on how to apply and the full list of rules, please see the competition’s web site.

Microsoft CanadaMicrosoft Canada invites you to enter the Battle of the Apps, a WP7 app competition for student Battle of the Appsdevelopers and designers. The Battle encompasses three rounds of competition with prizes awarded at the end of each round, as well as a grand prize awarded at the end of the competition for the top app. Round One is open for entries until February 15th. Also, Microsoft Canada would like to remind aspiring WP7 developers that Go DevMental will be in Calgary on February 7th and Winnipeg on February 11th. Go DevMENTAL is Microsoft’s free academic tour designed to teach you coding for the coolest apps and platforms, connect you with the industry, and help you pursue your career aspirations.

film financingThe Vancouver chapter of the Institute for International Film Financing (IIFF) continues its popular monthly gatherings at the junction of film & finance with a special Film Financing Townhall, hosted at Vancouver Film School’s downtown campus (420 Homer Street) on Thursday, January 27th from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

This grassroots community get-together is designed to foster & inform productive relationships between attendees. It provides unbiased insight & education about the business of film and film financing in particular. The event features a powerful roster of highly topical speakers from the filmmaking and financial industries. We are delighted to welcome real-world financiers among our guests!

The evening’s five presentations plus panel discussion address key issues relevant to filmmakers, financiers and anyone interested in the economics, business mechanics, and financial dynamics of motion pictures. They are followed by Q&A time. Attendees also have ample opportunity to interact & network with our featured experts and amongst themselves. An informal après-meeting celebration will take place at a nearby restaurant.

RBCRBC has issued a call for grant applications for the 2011-2012 school year as the RBC After-School Grants Project is offering more than $2 million in grants to fund first-time and renewed grant recipients.

The grants are awarded by regional community panels made up of experts in the fields of youth and education. Each organization should have a mandate to keep students in grades K-12 safe as well as positively engaged through an enriched curriculum after their classes end each day. RBC After-School grants of up to $40,000 are provided by the RBC Foundation to programs in at-risk or underserved communities. The deadline for funding applications is March 4, 2011, and grant recipients will be advised by June 2011.

“Research has shown that participation in after-school programs helps students enhance their academic performance, improve social skills and motivate them to excel in school,” said Shari Austin, executive director, RBC Foundation. “We are looking to fund the best after school programs in the country that help bridge the gap between schoolwork and homework and offer students an opportunity to participate in a wide-range of other activities that help build self-esteem and confidence.”

To qualify for a grant, after-school programs should offer structured, supervised activities five days a week and focus on offering a variety of activities, such as, computer instruction, sports, literacy tutoring, music and art lessons, nutrition guidance, and help with homework. RBC has been funding after-school programs since 1999, with over $22 million through 750 grants to 212 different organizations that have helped more than 24,000 children.

wind mobileBieber? Buffett? Oprah? Obama? WIND Mobile has launched a new competition that will give five Canadians the opportunity to talk to anyone they want in the world. To make these conversations happen, WIND Mobile will donate over a half a million dollars to Canadian charities. Once WIND confirms the winners, WIND will donate $100,000 on behalf of the chosen personalities for having the conversations. An additional $100,000 will also be donated to the six most popular charities as voted for online.

“The question we are asking ‘if you could talk to anyone in the world, who would it be?’ is the kind of question that really gets people talking, whether it’s at work, at home or even among strangers,” said Anthony Lacavera, Chairman, WIND Mobile. “We think it’s a powerful and fun question and we are look forward to hearing how Canadians answer it! Ultimately, we hope this unprecedented competition makes a few dreams come true and helps some important Canadian charities in a big way.”

When it comes to who they want to talk to, Canadians are encouraged to get creative: is it an actor or an author, a well known chef or business person? An athlete, journalist or politician? “Whether it’s a film student in Calgary whose dream is to speak to Steven Spielberg, an environmental scientist in Ottawa who wants a few minutes with Al Gore, or a restaurant owner in Vancouver keen to chat with Jamie Oliver – we are going to make some amazing conversations happen,” said Lacavera.

To help kick-off the competition WIND Mobile brought one the top newsmakers of 2010, Aron Ralston to Toronto for a conversation. Ralston, the real life mountain climber who was forced to cut off his own arm and whose journey is depicted in the much acclaimed film 127 Hours, shared his inspiring story and encouraged Canadians to think outside the box on who they’d like to speak with.

The launch event was held at Ryerson University where dozens of students gathered to hear the conversation and become among the first to enter the competition. WIND Mobile staff were on hand to help people record and upload their entries in the “Conversation Lounge” where the event was held. These lounges will be set up at universities and malls in cities across Canada through-out the course of the competition. Who knows who else might drop by these lounges to inspire people to think outside the box?

“From the beginning WIND Mobile was built by the power of conversation – listening to what Canadians wanted to build a better wireless carrier. Best Conversation Ever is an extension of that promise,” says Lacavera.

Who do these well known Canadians want to talk to?

Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto – Warren Buffett
Justin Trudeau, MP – Neal Stephenson
Valerie Pringle, Canadian Journalist – Nelson Mandela
Gerard Kennedy, MP – Nelson Mandela
Sami Jo Small, Double Gold Medalist, Women’s Hockey – Obama
Lyle Bauer, President & Chief Operating Officer, Calgary Stampeders – Obama
Dan Hill, Songwriter – Obama
Dr. Samantha Nutt, Founder of War Child Canada…Lee Harper
Mark McEwan, Celebrity Chef – Alan Greenspan
Geoff Green, Arctic Explorer – Dr. E.O. Wilson
Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa – Sydney Crosby
Senator Mike Duffy – Queen Elizabeth II
Dean Del Mastro, MP – Warren Buffett
Senator Michael MacDonald – the Dalai Lama
Mike Harris, former Premier of Ontario – his wife
FeFe Dobson, Canadian singer – Stevie Nicks

The ultimate goal of the competition is to help five lucky Canadians have the conversations they never dreamed possible. The competition begins January 24, 2011 and runs until March 7, 2011. The winners will be selected by a panel of WIND judges and industry leading bloggers. Entries will be judged based on creativity and number of votes.

Best Health MagazineDon’t miss out! There’s only one week left to nominate your favourite Canadian blog for the 2011 Best Health Blog Awards. Best Health invites Canadians to nominate their favourite blogs in one of four healthy-living categories based on the brand’s four pillars: Look Great, Eat Well, Get Healthy and Embrace Life. Canadians can submit their entries until January 30, and for all those who nominate their favourite blog, each individual will also be entered for their chance to win one of 17 fabulous prizes!

Blogs can be nominated in one of four categories:

1. Look Great: Beauty
2. Eat Well: Cooking and healthy eating
3. Get Healthy: Fitness
4. Embrace Life: Personal growth, humour, crafting and charitable living

Finalists will be announced on February 16, 2011 for Canadians to then vote for their ultimate favourites, and the top bloggers will be revealed on March 31, 2011. All finalists will receive a Best Health Blog Awards badge for their blog, recognition on besthealthmag.ca and the four top blogs will also be featured in the Summer 2011 issue of Best Health Magazine.

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