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26th January 2011

Awards Contests and International Recognition For Canadian Productions

moderation townCongratulations to the team behind Moderation Town. The web series, along with the show’s producers Stitch Media picked up the nextMEDIA Digital Launch Pad Award at this year’s NATPE conference which just wrapped in Miami.

One of my favourite new shows on HGTV Canada, Design DNA, which is produced by  Toronto’s Castlewood Productions has been picked up by Australia’s Beyond Distribution for international television distribution. If you haven’t yet seen the show, here is it’s official synopsis: Design DNA combines the castlewoodsimplicity of “How It’s Made”, the popular manufacturing show, with high style design. This show focuses on the amazing stories of the world’s most extraordinary and ordinary pieces of home design. From the first spark of conception throughout the trial and error of design, to the factory floor, and finally to a stunning reveal in a magnificent home, each episode features the life story of three iconic and sometimes not so iconic pieces of home design. Who knew that one of the garbage cans in our house was inspired by classic art design – certainly not us when we bought it – but we do now. 😉

Quebec Technology AssociationThe Quebec Technology Association (AQT) has launched a broad survey of CEOs and executives of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies across Quebec. Christened “AQT Barometer”, this survey will provide a picture of business practices and key issues, while also highlighting the growth requirements of this sector which is of strategic importance to the Quebec economy. Data collection will continue through the following weeks and the results will be unveiled in May 2011.

“The ICT industry is a powerful lever for the entire economy, explained Nicole Martel, Chief Executive Officer of AQT. The AQT Barometer will enhance our understanding of the sector’s evolution, making it possible to develop strategies to effectively support the growth of some 2000 Quebec ICT companies. In addition, the study will allow the AQT to better tailor its programs and tools to the needs of its members.”

The AQT Barometer will provide a detailed profile of ICT companies operating in Quebec and identify indicators to form a basis for comparison to track the sector’s progression. These indicators will also serve to develop the AQT Index which will be used to measure the annual growth of the ICT sector based on data relating to human resources, innovation, income, and ICT exports. The survey will be conducted by the SOM survey firm. Participants in this survey will get a customized report comparing their own business to similar ones in Quebec. ICT companies willing to take part in the survey may obtain their password to the online survey by communicating with AQT.

go explore canadaGo Explore Canada is a multimedia app available as a free download from both the Apple App Store and Android Market. The app resulted from a joint effort of brothers Jon and Mark Pedersen who have years of Canadian film and television production experience, including the Canadian Antiques Roadshow, documentaries for CBC, CTV and IFC and Jon’s feature film Tuesday, Wednesday.

Go Explore Canada covers travel anywhere in Canada (including the high Arctic) with extensive listings in all ten provinces and three territories, many with multimedia, and the producers – Go Explore Everywhere Inc – have loaded it with the top natural wonders and travel attractions of Canada. They also sell listings to the top restaurants, hotels and clubs, and it already has 5,000 locations with more being added every day.

Users of Appolicious say Go Explore Canada is one of the top 10 Canadian apps: “So you’ve arrived in Canada. What next? This app has tours based on your province, city, and what kinds of tourism you’re into. I definitely can vouch that the Toronto tour hits all the major amusing activities/sites in the city and surrounding areas.”
go explore canada
The producers of Go Explore Canada have streamlined the latest version with new Category searches that allow users to easily zero in on what they want to find anywhere in the country. One of the challenges was to build an app this big while making sure it doesn’t crash. Working closely with their software developers, the producers have come up with an app that occupies little space on the phone but still runs fast.

“We wanted to make an app that’s the one to have if you’re travelling in Canada,” says Mark Pedersen, one of the two Maritime brothers who have expanded their media production company to include multimedia apps.

The more than 5,000 Points of Interest are searchable by province, territory and city with sections for nature and adventure, history, fun things to do, eating, sleeping, night life, transportation, essential services and more. Each POI has a pin on the map, address, phone number, description and direct link to its web site that can be surfed without losing your place on the app tour. The sites can also buy embedded multimedia that plays instantly off their listing.

Go Explore Canada has been so successful that the producers have also begun selling branded map-based apps to other clients in three different sizes. All their apps come with patented Tour Builder software developed by their U.S. partner, Bar Z Adventures. The software allows app clients to change the content as often as they like simply by logging on to the dedicated server with their password.

CreativeworksCreativeworks Productions is pleased to announce that their video In Your Own Words was a gold award winner in this year’s prestigious Pixie Awards competition, which honours outstanding creativity in motion graphics, FX and animation. The In Your Own Words video was created for Seneca College, where for almost 45 years, Seneca’s commitment to quality post-secondary education has provided the foundation for students to become successful career-ready graduates in business, industry and the communities in which they live. The video was created to launch a multimedia campaign for Seneca College students aimed at obtaining their opinions in a fun and engaging format while also giving them an opportunity to hear and see their new President.

“Seneca’s In Your Own Words campaign gave students an opportunity to tell us in their own words the type of Seneca they want”, said Seneca’s President, David Agnew. “The need for student involvement in designing Seneca’s future community is a critical component. By using new media such as the green screen video and special effects, In Your Own Words achieved excellent results. We’re thrilled with the recognition received by the video produced by Creativeworks Productions. It played an important role in the success of this project.”

Creativeworks Productions’ President Doug Hohener says, “This video was part of an exciting multimedia student engagement program for the College. The challenge we were given was to target college students with an “out of the box” solution that was fresh, innovative, fast-paced and engaging, while communicating the College’s key messages. The result seems to have hit the mark!”

The Pixie Awards are sponsored by The American Pixel Academy, whose goal is to connect creative visual professionals in the pixel media with educators and judged by top industry professionals, all of whom have won significant awards for their work.

female eye film festThe Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF) launches its 9th annual showcase and celebration of films directed by women with a bang! This March 16 to 20, 2011, join us as we take a look through the lens at sex, violence and politics through the Female Eye. This years’ line up, slated to be unveiled at the Female Eye Media Sizzler which will be held at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel on February 24th, will prove to be both a mainstream and unusual mix of salacious, revelatory and provocative cinema.

The Female Eye Film Festival is recognized around the world as an opportunity for both established and first-time filmmakers to experience an international independent film festival, meet and interact with internationally recognized directors and showcase their work. “There are very few festivals that give you the opportunity to spend quality time with your fellow filmmakers and to make what we’re sure will be long-lasting personal and professional relationships,” reflected Richard Wilson, L.A. Producer of FEFF 2010’s closing night gala film Nothing Special.

Attendees of the festival will enjoy five full days of extraordinary films along with Script Readings, Industry Panel Discussions, the Directors Round Table, The 3rd Women In The Directors Chair Career Advancement Module, Best in The Biz Series and the Honorary Director Brunch and Tribute. An Opening Night Gala will kick off the festival followed by exciting parties each night leading to the closing night awards reception and gala. All screenings will take place at the Rainbow Cinemas Market Square, 80 Front Street East, while the FEFF hotel partner, the Novotel Toronto Centre, 45 The Esplanade will host all panel discussions, workshops and award ceremonies. Party & other venues TBA.

trelliaTrellia Networks a Montreal-based provider of enterprise mobility management solutions, today announced the “Enabling iPhone and iPad for the Enterprise” webinar on Thursday February 3, 2011. This session is designed for organizations looking to overcome the cost and security challenges associated with embracing iOS devices for business use.

The consumerization of mobile devices in the enterprise is an unstoppable trend, with iPhones and iPads leading the way. Chances are that in almost every enterprise a handful of mobile users are already asking IT to support them. On the other hand, some enterprises recognize that these devices represent a powerful new set of tools: from new presentation options to custom applications, iOS devices present the enterprise with an opportunity to take their mobile business to a whole new level. If your organization is considering support for iOS devices, whether corporate or personal, this webinar is for you.

Best Buy CanadaBest Buy Mobile, the mobile specialty retail unit of Best Buy Canada, announces the launch of Free Phone Fridays at all stores across Canada. Beginning February 4 and running every Friday in February, Best Buy Mobile will feature two to three free mobile phones in all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile specialty stores across Canada.

Each week will feature at least one high-end, in-demand smart phone for free with a new, in-store three-year activation. Reward Zone members will receive 2,500 points for every new, in-store activation or renewal (based on new in-store three-year activations. Minimum voice and data plan required. See in-store and online for details). The free phones will be announced every Thursday to the company’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

Best Buy Mobile has become a leading destination for smart phones and accessories, in part because of the promises the store offers its customers: better choice of phones and networks; impartial, informed advice; straightforward pricing; and someone to be there for the life of the phone. In addition, Best Buy Mobile offers an array of services aimed at improving the mobile phone buying experience, including:

* Upgrade Checker: A quick and easy service that gives customers the ability to see when they are eligible for their next phone upgrade. Best Buy Mobile Specialists can review customers’ current plan to determine which upgrade options they are eligible for and can help customers change plans or providers if they are unhappy with their current carrier plan.

* Walk Out Working™: Free in-store smart phone setup by a Best Buy Mobile Specialist who will sync personal email accounts, set up Bluetooth headsets, transfer contacts and activate other services to allow the customer to leave the store with a fully functional new smart phone.

aeroplanThe Walrus Foundation and Aeroplan have launched The Walrus Foundation Amateur Travel Photography Contest. Sponsored by Aeroplan, this nationwide contest will be judged by acclaimed photographer Edward Burtynsky, The Walrus magazine’s art director Brian Morgan, and the Canadian public. The contest is open to Canadian residents, and the winning photo will be published in The Walrus magazine. The winning amateur photographer will also receive 100,000 Aeroplan Miles courtesy of Aeroplan, and an invitation for two to The Walrus Foundation Gala in January 2012. In addition, a full gallery of photographs from the runners-up will be showcased on the contest page.
The Walrus
“This is a great opportunity for photography fans and travelers alike to get out and snap photos of their favourite destinations, unique landscapes and off the beaten path locations or even be creative in their own city,” said David Klein, Vice President, Marketing, Aeroplan. “For the last few years, through our partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario, we’ve been trying to raise the profile of photography with the Grange Prize. Aeroplan is thrilled to be a part of this contest and to be working with The Walrus Foundation to encourage participation in this important art form.”

For those unfamiliar with The Walrus Foundation, it is a charitable non-profit organization with a mandate to promote public discourse on matters vital to our country. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting Canadian writers, artists, readers, education, ideas, and debate. First and foremost, we achieve these goals by publishing The Walrus magazine ten times a year. We also produce public debates, leadership events, and run an intensive internship program training the next generation of leaders of media and the arts.

“The Walrus Foundation is a keen supporter of Canadian artists, both established and emerging,” said The Walrus Foundation’s executive director and co-publisher Shelley Ambrose. “We’re delighted to be working with Aeroplan and Edward Burtynsky to showcase Canadian photographers and their unique perspectives on our world.”

The Walrus Travel Photography contest begins today with the release of the March issue of The Walrus, and officially closes on May 31, 2011. Judges will select a shortlist of ten photos Between May 31 and July 1, 2011. Throughout the summer of 2011, readers of The Walrus magazine and visitors to the contest page will be asked to vote for their favourite photo. The winning photo will be selected on August 27, 2011, and will be featured along with a short essay in the special double winter January/February issue of The Walrus.

January 19, 2011 – The Walrus Foundation Amateur Travel Photography Contest sponsored by Aeroplan opens
May 31, 2011 – The last day for entrants to submit their travel photos to The Walrus Foundation
July 1, 2011 – Judges Edward Burtynsky and Brian Morgan release shortlist of ten photos, and public voting opens
August 26, 2011 – Public voting ends, and the winning photo is selected
December 5, 2011 – The winning photo will be published in The Walrus magazine
January 18, 2012 – The winning amateur photographer and a guest will attend The 4th Annual Walrus Foundation Gala

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26th January 2011

CRTC Reaffirms Support For CCTS

CRTCAs public favour of the CRTC begins heading for an all-time low with growing complaints about its lack of action in regards to Canadian ISPs, the Commission has reaffirmed its support for the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS), an agency that works to resolve disagreements between Canadians and their service providers.

“Following an extensive review, we are satisfied that the CCTS is doing a good job of resolving complaints on behalf of consumers and small businesses,” said Leonard Katz, the CRTC’s Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications. “An independent agency like the CCTS is an essential intermediary in a market where competition is growing by the day and the majority of telecommunications services are no longer regulated.”

As part of its review, the Commission found that the CCTS’ governance structure and mandate remain appropriate, and extended the membership requirement for a period of five years. Moreover, to ensure that a greater number of Canadians are able to benefit from the agency’s complaint-resolution services, all telecommunications service providers must become members of the CCTS. The Commission had previously only required companies with annual revenues over $10 million to join the agency.

The Commission has also asked the agency to include more details in its annual report regarding the types of complaints it receives. This information will enable a better assessment of trends, the agency’s complaint-resolution activities and the effectiveness of public awareness activities.

Consumers and small businesses must first attempt to resolve any disagreements related to an unregulated telecommunications service directly with their service provider. If the matter remains unresolved, they may file a complaint with the CCTS.

MaRSA group of leading Ontario digital media companies and venture capital investors will head to New York City next week as part of a delegation organized by MaRS Discovery District. As part of the visit, delegate companies will present at the prestigious OnMedia NYC 2011 conference. OnMedia NYC 2011 is a two-and-a-half day executive gathering held on Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, 2011. The conference features some of the most innovative companies, eminent technologists, influential investors and respected tech journalists in the digital media market. The conference is hosted by Tony Perkins, founder and editor of AlwaysOn, and features keynotes from media personalities such as Mark Cuban, billionaire investor and Internet entrepreneur.

Prior to the OnMedia sessions, MaRS will host an investor luncheon on Jan. 31 featuring CEO presentations from the MaRS delegation. Several Canadian investors will attend from firms such as Blackberry Partners Fund, GrowthWorks, iNovia Capital, MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, Real Ventures, Rho Ventures, Rogers Ventures and Verdexus. Notable investors from the NYC area will also be in attendance. Following the luncheon, the delegation will visit prominent digital media startups in the Union Square area.

“We are bringing a group of companies focused on digital media innovations that add considerable value for customers in key areas such as marketing, branding, advertising, research and public relations,” said MaRS CEO Ilse Treurnicht. “New York City is a key market where innovators, influencers and investors are shaping the digital media sector on a global scale. With our mission focused on building Ontario’s next generation of innovative companies, MaRS is committed to facilitating targeted investor introductions and business development for high-potential clients in these select markets.”

The companies in the MaRS delegation are bringing innovative technologies and business models to market that focus on everything from optimizing organic search; hyper-local advertising for user generated news; next generation live event sports gaming; advertising supported small business accounting software; and social engagement ranking platforms to measure media influence.

The Ontario companies attending are:

* gShift Labs – search engine optimization
* InGamer Sports – live event social gaming
* OpenFile – user-generated online newspaper
* PostRank – social engagement and influence ratings
* Viafoura – online user engagement
* Wave Accounting – free accounting application for small businesses

BCITSpeaking of business assistance, if you are a BC company you need to check out The BCIT Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP), a fund which provides financial assistance to BC SME’s and entrepreneurs. The fund looks to stimulate innovation by increasing access to business and technology expertise.

The Fund can assist your business with the following:

* Acquire business and professional services required to facilitate the commercialization process (IP, development of business plans and market or technology studies)
* Access to technical assistance and facilities (Product design, prototyping, testing, verification, certification and demonstration)

The Fund offers the following amounts:

* Up to $10,000 assistance for business and professional consulting services
* Up to $50,000 assistance for technical assistance and facilities

The deadline to apply is November 20, 2011. Please see The Fund’s information page for complete information.

D-BoxD-Box Technologies is continuing its trend to take over the US one theatre at a time, announcing today that the company has signed a third agreement with Premiere Cinemas to equip its Orlando, Florida location with 22 D-BOX MFX Seats.

“During the last few months of 2010, we advanced our market share in the eastern U.S. with new theatre partners and are now continuing along that path with the expansion of our cooperation with Premiere Cinemas and adding the Orlando location,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies, Claude McMaster.

“This will be our third theatre with D-BOX,” said Gary Moore, President of Premiere Cinemas. “Known for providing a state-of-the-art entertainment experience, moviegoers who frequent our Texas theatres have provided an overwhelmingly positive response to D-BOX and we anticipate similar results once the innovative motion technology is unveiled in Orlando this February.”

mobilicityMobilicity and Facebook today announced that Mobilicity is offering their customers another way to stay connected with a new Facebook mobile application for Java-powered feature phones. Mobilicity is also sponsoring the launch by enabling customers to download and use the application for at least three months from the time of the launch. The length of the offer is at the discretion of the mobile operator.

This new Facebook application provides a better experience for feature phones than other similar applications and mobile sites. It brings the popular features and user experience already deployed on Facebook mobile applications for smartphones to the world’s most popular feature phones, and is optimized for speed and performance on Mobilicity’s network. It includes several new and unique features that enable people to stay connected through Facebook including:

* Viewing photos from your mobile phone
* Synchronizing your local address book contacts with your Facebook friends
* Facebook login to third party services within the application, such as news, sports, games, and weather

The new Facebook application is optimized to use as little data as possible while providing the great user experience mobile applications offer. The application uses less data than other similar applications or mobile sites, enabling it to be much cheaper for people to use when the trial period ends. The new Facebook application is a collaboration between Facebook and Snaptu, whose platform brings leading web services to millions of people around the world on more than 2,500 different types of mobile devices via the Snaptu app.

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