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4th April 2011

New Leaders and New Initiatives For Industry Associations

DigiBCNews that I’ve known about for a couple of weeks now can (and has been) finally be announced publicly – Howard Donaldson, a co-founder of the recently closed Propaganda Games and former Disney Interactive Studios VP of Howard DonaldsonStudio Operations will be taking over the President’s position at DigiBC.  Mr. Donaldson will be splitting his time between running DigiBC and participating in the CEOs in Residence program over at the Centre 4 Growth. He is also the chair of the BC Interactive Task Force, the organization which spearheaded the implementation of the Interactive Tax Credits program in BC. It is my hope that under Mr. Donaldson’s leadership DigiBC will be able to move forward and become a strong force for the province’s interactive digital media, wireless and transmedia industries. Howard Donaldson will officially take over the President’s seat later this month.

IAB CanadaThe Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada has  announced two new initiatives designed to help Canadian marketing professionals keep up to date with recent research in Interactive advertising, plus gain access to the deep digital expertise that resides within IAB Canada’s own 250+ Member-companies.

The first Monday of each month, as part of the new “Faces Of IAB” program, IAB Canada will release a thought-leading Research Report, White Paper, Advertiser Case-Study, How-To Checklist, etc. that has been developed by one of IAB Canada’s Member-companies.

Through the Faces of IAB program, the Canadian marketing community will now get one-week of free access to important or even proprietary information from IAB Canada Members, that otherwise, might only be presented to a select group of that Member’s contacts, and only in select cities across Canada.

April’s selected “Faces Of IAB” Research Report is Carat and Microsoft’s New Shopper Journeys, which details how consumers’ purchase paths in four key retail categories (apparel, quick-service restaurants, groceries and home electronics), have changed in response to a variety of economic pressures and digital developments in the past two years, and how offline, Online and in-store media play a role in shaping purchase decisions now.

The second Wednesday (popularly known as Hump Day) of each month, IAB Canada will release its Hump Day Bump Of Research, an outstanding Research Report culled from the hundreds of global industry resources and newsfeeds that IAB Canada reviews in order to provide Custom Digital Marketing Research consulting for its Members. The research will be available for download by the entire Canadian marketing community — again, for one week only — on the IABCanada.com Homepage.

April’s selected “Hump Day Bump Of Research” Report is Delvinia and Environic Analytics “AskingCanadians™ Social Media PRIZMC2-Link,” which teams up PRIZMC2 (Environic Analytics widely-used segmentation system that assigns Canadians into 66 unique lifestyle types), with Delvinia’s annual AskingCanadians™ Social Media Survey — resulting in the first database that enables Canadian marketers to determine the Social Media behavior of all segments of Canadian society, and target products and messages to Canadian consumers based on a detailed understanding of their Social Media habits and lifestyles.

The following week, both forms of research will be brought back into the IABCanada Knowledge Centre, for access by IAB Canada Members-only.

“The goal of IABC Canada’s Faces Of IAB and Hump Day Bump of Research programs is simple,” says Paula Gignac, President, IAB Canada. “To provide time-stressed marketers with at least two pieces of credible and immediately-usable digital advertising research per month, that they don’t have to find or vet on their own; and to promote IAB Canada Members’ expertise in all things digital at the same time.”

“Trust and reliability are key attributes we look for when sourcing industry research,” says Karl Flanders, VP, Media Director, Saatchi & Saatchi. “IAB Canada has a proven track record of supplying us with leading-edge articles, facts and insights that help us help our clients, so we’re excited to know that we’ll be hearing about new Member and non-Member research finds in a more regular manner as a result of this programme. The initiative will also help the industry understand which IAB Canada Members or other global companies could be potential research partners in the future — a real “win-win” for everyone.”

mobile monday TorontoResearch In Motion will be the guest of honour at tonight’s MobileMonday Toronto, being held at at the MaRS facility. This marks the second time that RIM has taken the stage at MobileMonday Toronto to showcase upcoming initiatives for 2011 and beyond. In February 2009, RIM discussed the launch of BlackBerry World, and this time around, RIM will discuss the launch of important BlackBerry platform products such as the Playbook. Tyler Lessard, Vice President BlackBerry Global Alliances and Developer Relations, will take the stage to talk about the Playbook, ecosystems, and developer programs for business professionals and developers. Teams from RIM Developer Relations and Roger’s Catalyst will be on-hand with presentation booths to answer any questions for audience attendees during the networking portion of the event.

“This is the second time that Tyler has joined us to discuss the launch of a significant RIM product or service. An iconic Canadian company, RIM’s ever-popular BlackBerry device is a beloved high-tech business communication tool for countless users worldwide including President Obama. Always close to developer and business communities, it’s great to see RIM’s second-return to the MobileMonday Toronto community,” says Alexander S. Bosika and Jim Brown, co-founders of MobileMonday Toronto. “RIM also became a presenting sponsor of the MobileMonday Toronto @ MaRS annual series at the start of this year. Our community represents the intersection of intellectual and financial capital to help mobile innovation in Toronto and surrounding regions. We’re ecstatic to have RIM join the growing list of key sponsors which support our efforts to build MobileMonday Toronto into a key platform for mobile professionals to share knowledge, information and business contacts.”

Stingray DigitalMontreal-based Stingray Digital announced today from MIPTV in Cannes that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Music Choice Europe Limited from a European private investment group for an undisclosed sum.

Music Choice Europe, founded in 1993 and based in London, England, offers over 70 different commercial-free music channels delivered to more than 10 million subscribers through television service operators in 17 countries across Europe and Africa. In addition to the professionally programmed linear music channels, Music Choice Europe also offers a multi-platform solution to operators including music videos on demand and a service delivered by broadband.

“This acquisition is a perfect strategic fit for Stingray” stated Eric Boyko, President and CEO of Stingray Digital. “We will immediately benefit from synergies between the two companies, but more importantly, Music Choice Europe’s presence in 17 different countries will allow us to expand more quickly into Europe and Africa with our other music services that we have developed for the North American market including The KARAOKE Channel and Concert TV” he added.

“Music Choice has been actively growing its subscriber base and geographic reach over the past several years”, said Mark Wilson, President of Music Choice Europe. “Now as part of the Stingray Digital group of companies, Music Choice will be able to continue its growth by providing a greater variety of music-related services to current and future customers,” he added.

Stingray Digital’s acquisition of Music Choice Europe will create a true global music broadcaster that serves a digital music service to more than 20 million subscribers in more than 30 countries across Europe, Africa, North America, South America, the Caribbean and beyond. Stingray Digital is an innovative broadcaster who invests heavily in research and development in order to remain at the cutting edge of technology required to deliver a compelling music service to customers around the world.

Stingray Digital owns and operates the Galaxie Music service which is available in all digital cable, IPTV and satellite television households in Canada and an increasing presence in the US, the Caribbean and other countries. Galaxie, Your Musical Universe, is more than 50 commercial-free music channels on TV and on authenticated broadband services, and soon on mobile devices.

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4th April 2011

Preventing Scams and Device Theft

CIRAThe Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), in partnership with Media Awareness Network (MNet), is proud to introduce a PDF Cyber Security Consumer Tip Sheet, a guide to avoiding risks online.

As the Internet has become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, so too have the number and severity of potential risks we face each day. With increasing accessibility to digital technologies, Internet literacy programs are, now more than ever, essential to protecting Internet users and their computers.Media Awareness Network

Recognizing the need for such programs, CIRA and MNet have developed a Cyber Security Consumer Tip Sheet to help Canadians take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their computers from cyber risks.

“The Internet has become a central tool in the lives of Canadians,” says Byron Holland, President and CEO of CIRA, “making it more critical than ever that we provide the information and resources necessary for people to protect themselves.”

MNet focuses its efforts on equipping adults with information and tools to help young people develop the critical thinking skills required to understand the extent to which they, as consumers and citizens, are being well informed. CIRA supports these efforts through an annual sponsorship of MNet’s activities.

“We are proud to be partnering with CIRA to provide Canadians with the digital literacy skills and knowledge they need to use the Internet with confidence,” says Cathy Wing, Media Awareness Network’s Co-Executive Director.

Absolute® Software Corporation has announced the general availability of Absolute Manage 5.4.Absolute Software

“The continued growth in adoption of Apple iOS4 devices is driven both by employees wanting to use their preferred device to access the corporate network, and IT departments sanctioning the use of non-PC devices. The growing challenge for IT administrators is to establish effective security and management solutions at the endpoint, while avoiding major disruptions to established server and network architectures,” said Peter Frankl, vice president, lifecycle management at Absolute Software. “With the release of Absolute Manage 5.4, our customers have even more flexibility in managing their iOS4 deployments, while maintaining enterprise-caliber security, in either a Windows or Mac network and server environment.”

With the release of Absolute Manage 5.4, new features include:

  • App Store Volume Purchase Program (ASVPP) management – Apple’s ASVPP program provides schools with special discounts and the option to complete volume purchases of Apple iOS4 Apps using purchase orders. With Absolute Manage 5.4, customers can automate the management of this program, distributing purchased apps, and tracking ASVPP code redemptions within the Absolute Manage console for accurate license compliance and management.
  • Geolocation – IT Administrators can locate a lost or stolen device on an internet map.  Depending on the perceived security risk, the call frequency of the device can be adjusted and additional security measures can be invoked, such as device freeze or wipe.
  • Active Directory Integration – Organizations using Active Directory can leverage their existing security and infrastructure to authenticate users on enrollment.  Users will be able to enter their normal Active Directory credentials to authenticate. Additional directory information is automatically imported from Active Directory and attached to the device record on enrollment, enabling mobile device management policies based on existing organizational units.
  • Detection/Reporting of Jail-broken Devices – IT administrators, via Absolute Apps, can detect compromised devices. This status is provided within the device report enabling administrators to take remedial actions to protect network security, or ban the compromised device.

IT administrators using Absolute Manage can efficiently manage all their assets by automating time-consuming IT processes such as software distribution, patch management, asset inventory and imaging for both their Macs and PCs from a single, unified console. Additionally, Absolute Manage helps organizations save money by allowing them to track installed applications and licenses, redeploy under-used licenses and hardware to maximize inventory utilization, and avoid non-compliance fines. For Apple iOS4 devices specifically, Absolute Manage allows IT administrators to manage apps, collect asset inventory and security data, as well as conduct change and configuration management for each device.

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4th April 2011

Max The Mutt Animation School Signs Articulation Agreement

LudiaGame development studio Ludia has released Planet Fish™ on WiiWare for 500 Wii Points. In this planet fishgame, which is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB, invites you to fire suction bubbles from your underwater craft to trap fish that you can then display in your personal aquarium. Catch and collect exotic fish in colorful deep-sea environments such as the Gulf of Mexico, the Ryukyu Islands and the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. Try to avoid obstacles and dangerous species lurking in the depths. Grow your aquatic collection with beautiful marine life from around the world. Navigate through 30 unique levels of play, each with its own challenges and obstacles. Watch out for jagged surfaces, dangerous jellyfish and paralyzing algae. Win bonus collectible fish as you advance in the game. Unlock animated Trophies with each region that you successfully complete.

max the muttToronto’s Max the Mutt Animation School and Daemen College in Amherst, New York have signed an articulation agreement that may provide some Max the Mutt graduates with the opportunity to obtain advanced standing in Daemen College’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program subject to meeting Daemen College’s requirements.

“This is exciting news for Max the Mutt diploma holders who apply and are accepted as they can earn a BFA degree in one academic year!” explains Maxine Schacker, the Founder and Director of Max the Mutt.  “They will have the ability to round out their education with academic studies, and attain credentials that may be necessary for some job opportunities abroad.”

Max the Mutt and Daemen first entered into a partnership in May, 2010. Max the Mutt was able to assist Daemen in founding their new animation degree program. In the future, both schools will support and enhance each other’s programs and plan to cooperate in developing innovative educational strategies that will enhance the development of students at both schools.

Max the Mutt and Daemen are well matched as both stress small class size, foster skills and creativity, and seek to develop knowledge and skills that will make their graduates  a positive addition to their fields and to the world. Max the Mutt and Daemen will also offer relevant workshops to each other’s students.

“We were amazed and delighted to find a school that has the same basic philosophy as Max the Mutt,” says Schacker.  “We believe our graduates who apply for this and are accepted will have an easy transition into Daemen’s environment.”

Max the Mutt Animation School is devoted to the study of drawing, classical and computer animation, illustration for sequential arts and concept art for animation and video games.

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4th April 2011

Pocket God Pygmies Take Over New Territory

frima studioFrima Studio says that size does matter, and  in conjunction with SFO-based Bolt Creative, the studio has announced that the Pygmies of Pocket God on Facebook are moving to bigger and better things with Episode V: Archipela-Go-Go. This latest addition to the Pocket God world introduces a brand new island, a first for the popular online title, and features a fun new way to reward the Pygmies for their undying loyalty. The latest update also adds customization for a 6th tribe member.
pocket god
Since its debut in December 2010, the Facebook version of Pocket God has grown exponentially and is attracting more players every month. More than 40 million loyal, unquestioning Pygmies have met their demise over that time—that’s approximately the same amount of people who have had the fortune of being Rick-Rolled over the years. Don’t worry, we’re never gonna give you up (or let you down). Another two million sacrifices can be attributed to friends on Facebook sacrificing other friends in a host of brutal and irreverent ways, including electrocution, shark attack, venus fly traps, tornados, tar pits, and more! Nothing says moral support like a good smiting.

The new updates for Archipela-Go-Go include:

Movin’ on up to a larger coastline: The Pygmies have finally found their deluxe island in the sky. Errr—water…you know what we meant! Players can now unlock or purchase a larger BIG island for Pocket God on Facebook, a third land mass in the archipelago, and will give deities the opportunity to stretch their Pygmies’ legs so they don’t feel too claustrophobic. More so, the new BIG island can be utilized for larger-scale Pygmy torment as there is now more space to invoke different, simultaneous acts of torture, as well as additional room to conveniently handle quests.

More Pygmies, more customization: Six is bigger than five so it must be better! With the BIG island available, players can now add and customize a sixth member of their tribe, allowing players to expand their roster of endless torture victims, complete with all the trimmings such as grass skirts, t-shirts, life jackets (that still don’t work), and more!

Relax with a nice hot spring bath: Put a hot spring in a Pygmy’s step with the all new Hot Spring! See what we did there with a classic expression and some word play? Zing! With the Hot Spring environment now enabled, players can pamper their subjects with a much needed and deserved bath, which will also award deities with additional devotion points if Pygmies are asking for a dip in nature’s hot tub.

Win a trip to Uranus: April Fool’s (unless you’re into that sort of thing)! Jokes aside, players who log in today will have a chance to participate in a global event where users from around the world will cooperatively work towards unlocking a new special item. Also, for a limited time, players can feed their Pygmies and watch as the results of said feeding become more “explosive” than normal. What’s the secret item to be won and what kind of “explosive” do we mean? You’ll have to log in and find out!

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4th April 2011

Full Version of Hoard Now Available for PC and Mac

Big Sandwich GamesToday, gamers on PC and Mac finally get their hands on Big Sandwich Games’ innovative dragon-themed game of gathering treasure.  HOARD™ is available for purchase on Steam.  Purchasers who act now can take advantage of a limited time discount off the retail price of $9.99USD.  4-packs are also available for a deeper discount, encouraging friends to take advantage of HOARD™’s unique and compelling multiplayer action. HOARD™ is also available for play on PS3 and PSP.

HOARD™ is packed full of content and features for both solo and group-minded gamers.  Aspiring dragons can compete for high scores on over 35 different maps and 4 modes, ranging from single player score-attack to co-op to intense head-to-head matches.  The gameplay is an innovative and addictive mix of action and strategy, Hoard-Screenshotcreating a deceptively deep arcade experience.  Joystiq raves, “HOARD™’s gameplay shines.”  IGN agrees, having awarded HOARD™ “Best Quick Fix” honors, and nominating it for “Best Competitive Multiplayer.”  Despite the game’s quickplay nature, Big Sandwich assures gamers will find dozens of hours of gameplay in the package.  Ars Technica concurs that “HOARD will keep you scorching villages for hours on end.”

All popular Steam features are employed, including over 100 achievements, leaderboards, multiplayer matching, friend invites, stats, and Steam cloud saving.  Steam Play is also supported, meaning users who own both a PC and Mac only need buy the game once.  Several impressive new features are also making their appearance in the Steam version, including graphical boosts like Night mode and a crisp winter tileset.

“If you like dragons, gold, princesses, knights, burglars, giants, medieval villages, wizard towers, gems, or fire, you’ll probably like HOARD™,” says Tyler Sigman, Executive Producer. “But if you like great games and great value, you’ll definitely like it.”

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