20th December 2010

Toonful Transmissions

teletoonTELETOON Canada inc. is pleased to announce that Fugget About It, a half-hour animated comedy originally developed for the TELETOON at Night Pilot Project, has been greenlit for production into a 13-part series in English and French. Produced by Toronto-based 9 Story Entertainment, Fugget About It follows the misadventures of 16-year-old Petey Falcone, the son of a former New York mob boss who now lives in a witness protection program with his family in Canada.

“The TELETOON At Night Pilot Project was a unique initiative by TELETOON to tap into the rich store of talent within Fugget About Itthe Canadian animation industry,” said Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content, TELETOON Canada inc. “TELETOON received some great projects through this initiative and we’re thrilled to be able to take the Fugget About It pilot and develop it into a series with the humour and broad appeal we look for in our comedy programming.”

Originally launched in fall 2007, ten projects, including Fugget About It, were selected as finalists from over 200 submissions. TELETOON invested $1.5 million dollars into creating the pilots which straddle a wide range of topics, animation styles and comedy sensibilities. The TELETOON at Night pilots premiered online and have been featured on-air since September 2010 as part of TELETOON at Night’s popular Sunday night hosted block “Fred at Night.”

“The TELETOON at Night Pilot Project afforded us an incredible opportunity to get the Fugget About It pilot made and we couldn’t be more excited to see it go to series,” said Vince Commisso, President and CEO, 9 Story Entertainment. “We have a stellar creative team led by show runner Jeff Abugov (Two and a Half Men, Roseanne, Cheers) and TELETOON is the perfect home for this production.”

aptnPopular preschool series Tiga Talk! will ring in the New Year with the premiere of a new season on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) on January 6, 2011, a brand new interactive website, and an iPhone application. Tiga Talk! entertains kids while teaching both Aboriginal and English language skills during the preschool years – an integral stage in development. By watching the series, children can learn how to make language sounds more easily, and have fun doing it! The addition of an interactive website and an iPhone application by Winnipeg’s Tactica Interactive, will provide even greater learning opportunities, offering games, crafts and videos that give children and their families the chance to explore and learn together.tiga talk on iphone

With Aboriginal languages being lost across Canada, Tiga Talk! was created to help teach language skills to preschoolers, while building confidence and instilling imagination in young minds. Targeted at all children (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) aged 3-6, Tiga Talk! is a gentle, entertaining series that has fun exploring languages and culture. It combines live action with a magic puppet world, and features music and imaginary play.

Tiga Talk! is centered around three stuffed toys – Tiga the wolf cub, Gertie the gopher, and Gavin the goose – who live with human friends Jodie and Jason, their father, and Kokum (“grandmother” in Cree). Jodie and Jason have a secret. When there aren’t any adults around, their stuffed toys come alive as talking puppets. Through their interactions and adventures, the puppets and kids learn about traditional practices and languages of various Aboriginal cultures in imaginative ways.

tiga talkTiga Talk! not only captivates and entertains its preschool audience, but also creates an ear for Aboriginal language, and encourages an excitement for learning about traditions and culture during those very important early years.

Season 3 of Tiga Talk! builds upon the strengths of the first two seasons, with exciting new additions that previous viewers will be pleased to discover, and first-time audiences will enjoy:

New Family – Season 3 welcomes Jason and Jodie’s dad, a character not seen in the first two seasons. Dad takes the kids on various field trips, from visiting a music recording studio, to a petting zoo, to the museum.

New Friends – In addition to the puppets from Season 1 and 2, Jason and Jodie now have four new friends to play with: Jack, Alice, Kyle and Tessa. These friends come over to visit, play games, and do various activities in the backyard.tiga talk web site

New Sets – The majority of the show used to take place in Jodie and Jason’s bedroom at Kokum’s place, and at Tiga and Gertie’s indoor dens. In Season 3, the bedroom has been replaced with a larger set in Kokum’s backyard that includes a pond for Gavin, an underground tunnel for Gertie, and an outdoor den for Tiga.

New Segments – Two new segments are being introduced in Season 3: ‘Get Moving’, a segment that allows viewers to follow along to exercises with a song performed by the puppets; and ‘Things We Love to Do’, which shows kids doing different kinds of fun activities that fit with the theme of each episode.

Tiga Talk! was produced with the participation of the Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC, the Government of Canada – Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program, the Bell New Media Fund and produced and developed in Association with Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and the Canada Media Fund.

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1st December 2010

Shaw Rocket Prize Winner Named

notsoftOshawa indie game studio NotSoft is getting into the holiday spirit by giving away the full version of their casual game, Wytches Brew, free of charge.

Wytches Brew features five modes of play, including an epic 52 chapter quest that has the player share a year long journey with 3 Wytches as they travel around their island brewing up magical potions for those in need. With four other play wytches brewmodes, including timed modes and modes with relaxed rules, Wytches Brew offers something for casual gamers of every skill level.

“We don’t have much of a marketing budget, and with the game’s story mode beginning on Yuletide we thought giving it away during the holiday season would be a great way to attract new players,” said Steven J. Hill (aka bignobody), the man behind NotSoft, “Especially since people’s budgets are often tight at this time of year.”

I have been playing Wytches Brew off and on for a few months now, and while I haven’t yet completed the game, I have found it to be a different take on the match 3+ genre. I will be writing a review for this game once I have played through to the end, but as I have often confessed, I am more of a console gamer than a PC gamer – my PC is just too closely related to…work. ;)

shaw rocket prizeCongratulations to Dino Dan from Sinking Ship Entertainment, winner of the prestigious $50,000 Shaw Rocket Prize for 2010 after being voted the best in Canadian kids’ programming for ages 6-12. Dino Dan is an entertaining and educational TV show about a 10-year-old boy who loves interacting with dinosaurs in his imagination and learning about them. This show was favourited by kids of all ages across Canada as well as in the US, where it recently achieved the record as the highest watched debut episode on Nick Jr. in its history. Dino Dan was judged for quality and content both for the TV show and its online content. The kids jury loved playing games and digging up dinosaurs on dinodan.com.

Other titles in the running for this year’s Rocket Prize were:

How to Be Indie (DHX Media)
In Real Life (Apartment 11)
Jimmy Two-Shoes (Breakthrough Entertainment)
League of Super Evil (Nerd Corps)

OpenFeint DevelopersAs the freemium model continues to gain momentum in the mobile gaming space, developers are looking for the best ways to apply the lucrative model to their games. Today, OpenFeint is encouraging developers sell downloadable content in their games by announcing a $1 million free-to-play mobile games challenge.

The OFX Freemium Challenge waives the revenue share on OpenFeint’s just released OFX software development kit for up to $10,000 per developer, available to the first 100 games that go live. With this challenge, developers can implement OFX and sell up to $10,000 in downloadable content in game before sharing any revenue.

“With the OFX Freemium Challenge, developers will see how easy-to-use and profitable OFX can be in their games with little commitment,” says Jason Citron, CEO of OpenFeint. “We’ve all seen that the freemium model is generating some amazing results. OFX gives developers the tools they need to take advantage of this emerging model.”

Mega Jump has proved to us that the freemium model is a great way to earn revenue as an independent developer,” said Derek van Vliet of Get Set Games. “Since changing the game to freemium we’ve seen a 400% increase in overall revenue.”
Mega Jump Celebrates 7 million
Mega Jump celebrated 7 million downloads, and stated on their site that “hot on the heals of Update 10, Update 11 is just around the corner, featuring the astonishing new upgradable Jump Boots and a couple of new rascals who will be joining the growing Mega Jump family of characters.”

Released today, OFX is a set of client and cloud based services that help game developers sell new content in their games without having to submit full game updates to Apple. Future updates will allow game developers to offer virtual currency and virtual goods for sale in their games. OFX is completely free for game developers to download and implement in their games. OpenFeint only shares in revenue earned from the sale of paid downloadable content in games sold with OFX.

intuitIntuit’s online personal finance service Mint.com is now available to Canadians. Mint helps people see where their money goes, keep their spending on track by creating budgets they’ll stick with, and uncovers opportunities to save them money. And it’s free.
mint
“Canadians are global leaders when it comes to the use of online banking, social media and other online activities, so bringing Mint.com to Canada was a natural next step,” said Aaron Patzer, general manager and vice president of Intuit Personal Finance and founder of Mint.com. “A uniquely Canadian version of Mint will help Canadians make informed decisions as they plan their financial lives.”

Setting up a Mint account takes about five minutes – users register anonymously using a valid e-mail address, and then add login information for the online banking, credit card and other financial accounts they want to consolidate. Mint connects securely to more than 40 Canadian banking financial institutions, and is adding more. Users can ask Mint to add support for their favourite bank from within their account.

After users register, Mint automatically aggregates their accounts and transaction information, and provides up-to-date and accurate views of their financial life. Mint offers many ways to view and graph information, and the flexibility to scan the big picture or focus on specific details:

* Analyzes spending – Mint reveals spending patterns by automatically categorizing expenses, showing how much a user pays for gas, groceries, parking, rent, restaurants, entertainment and more.
* Makes recommendations – Mint also saves users money by providing unique, money-saving and money-making suggestions based on users’ individual spending patterns. Slowly paying down a high-interest credit card? Mint will recommend a lower-interest card. Paying more for life insurance than others of a similar age in your region? Mint can often find a better deal. Offer data for the recommendations is provided by RateSupermarket.ca, Canada’s largest independent and impartial rate comparison service for personal finance products.

In addition, Mint is available for those on the go. Users can view their Mint account from a password-protected website or check in on the go with the free Mint.com mobile applications for iPhone and Android mobile phones, available on the iTunes Canada app store and Android Market. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th November 2010

Business and Education Rounds Out The Day

49 pixelsVia 49 Pixels: In 2008, Canada’s digital media industry, comprised of approximately 3,000 interactive digital media companies, generated approximately $3.8 billion dollars through the hard work of over 50,000 industry professionals.

Canada, with everything we know about our industry and where it’s been, we know very little about where it’s headed. Who are these companies? Where are they located? Are their businesses growing? What types of skill-sets are they looking to acquire over the next year? Given the disparity of available data in this area, the Pixel to Product research team decided to take it upon themselves to ask these important questions.
Justin Kozuch
This social media news release is announcing that Justin Kozuch, winner of the Mesh Prize and Lead Researcher for the Pixel to Product research study, is launching Canada’s first nation-wide digital media census, designed to answer these and a few dozen other questions about the state of our digital media ecosystem.

The survey can be completed in both in English and en Francais, and in the time it will take you to drink a Tim Horton’s Double Double, you can complete the survey and add your voice to our collective digital legacy.

We’re also incredibly excited to announce you can now receive project updates, breaking news and important development on your mobile device. This morning, in conjunction with our partners at Broadplay, we launched an opt-in SMS campaign to help us further spread the word about our research to the approximately 70% of Canadians who own a mobile device. To opt-in to our SMS broadcast system, simply text 497957 (49PXLS) to 123411.

We need your help in getting this survey out to as many digital agency owners, web startups, and freelancers in order to capture the highest quality data we can muster. We have a number of short term and long term needs; please visit the Actionable Tasks page on our wiki for more information about how you can contribute your gifts to our initiative. Tweet, post to your wall, blog about this release or visit our census page and help us get the word out!

Edmonton’s Digital School, a licensed private vocational career college built on 25 years of digital schoolasynchronous technical training experience is excited to announce a revolutionized form of e-Learning, called Global e-Training.

Global e-Training includes highly effective online Autodesk software training programs which can be done from virtually anywhere to meet each learner’s own personal requirements. Its interactive and engaging fashion lets the learner dictate the entire training process to suit their particular learning style, making it one of the most desirable and advanced Autodesk e-training solution available in the world.

Global e-Training (GeT) is an enhanced form of e-learning which prepares and engages users of Autodesk’s design software programs in a revolutionary and interactive manner. It allows the user to effectively acquire all practical knowledge and skills required to carry out specific tasks on Autodesk software. A user is fully trained on the programs so they can hit the ground running. Unlike e-learning, which includes knowledge based resource tools, e-training by GeT on the Autodesk programs enhances skills acquisition and retention in a way which is real and useful to the user. It gives users an opportunity to immediately apply the software skills at the same time they are learning it. This is something no other competitor can offer, and may be especially beneficial to those who desire flexibility in their learning environment.

Global e-Training (GeT) is comprised of two main elements:

GeT Interactive is a self-paced online Autodesk software training program which lets students study on their own schedule, using visual, auditory and hands-on learning methods. Milestone tracking along with competency based progress ensures that students stay focused to complete their program. GeT Interactive courses include: AutoCAD 2D & 3D, Revit Architecture, Inventor and Civil 3D with more titles scheduled for release.

GeT Live Network is a collaborative learning platform which brings students and instructors together through the use of the Internet. It is a virtual classroom interface which enables students and instructors to interact with one another in real time. Instructors are brought into contact with students from around the globe, increasing class sizes and reducing overhead costs. It also allows quality training providers to host and market live courses on the network, making it a truly revolutionary training tool.

All of the GeT programs are designed to be fun and interactive, combining the best e-learning practices into a highly effective e-Training system. Global e-Training represents the future of online learning on Autodesk software.

D-BoxTwo more Canadian tech devs are celebrating expansions this week as well. D-Box Technologies has penned deals with two more American theatre companies who will be installing the D-Box MFX seats.

Muvico Entertainment’s Pompano 18 in Pompano, Florida will introduce D-BOX to its patrons on November 19th with the long-awaited release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. The theatre is the first location in Florida to offer the immersive moviegoing experience. Meanwhile over in Texas, Premiere Cinemas will be adding its second outlet offering D-Box seats when the El Paso Premiere Cinema 18 offers 22 D-BOX MFX Seats for the Deathly Gallows opening.

YANGAROOYangaroo has signed a multi-year agreement with BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom International Inc. to deliver artist and music-related audiovisual content to BET properties – including the primary BET channel, BET Digital Networks, BET.com, BET International, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop – using YANGAROO’s patented Digital Media Distribution System (DMDS), as well as integrate DMDS with BET Network’s internal workflow. BET Networks will actively promote and recommend to the entertainment industry to utilize DMDS to send content digitally to BET Networks.

Yangaroo’s technology team worked closely with BET Networks’ engineers to refine the DMDS process for digitally distributing SD and HD television broadcast-quality video to integrate with and enhance BET Networks’ workflows. DMDS also transcodes the television broadcast file for online availability for streaming and provision of a frame-accurate preview quality version of the file with the time-code burned in, which improves reviewing and editing processes. The television broadcast-quality video file can be easily integrated into Online Editing Suites, On-Air Playback Servers and stored in a Digital Archive Server.

maximizerStrengthening its presence in the Ontario market, Vancouver’s Maximizer Software, a provider of simple, accessible CRM and mobile CRM solutions, has announced the appointment of software and sales veteran Alastair McKeating as Key Account Manager for the Ontario region. With more than a decade of experience in software solution sales, McKeating will focus on helping customers and prospects increase the value of their investment in Maximizer CRM.

“This is a critical appointment for Maximizer in our strategy to bring an expanded focus to Ontario. Alastair was the ideal candidate based on his in-depth knowledge of triangulating software technology with business process and user adoption to drive value and change management at large-scale organizations,” said Vivek Thomas, president, Maximizer Software. “Ontario is a growing market and revenue opportunity for Maximizer, and having a dedicated local representative is our first step in offering higher value to current and new clients with more sophisticated and broader CRM integration deployments.”

McKeating has an extensive software industry background, previously holding software sales positions with prestigious organizations including SAP, Business Objects and Computer Associates. He began his career in IT working as a data systems and applications architect for organizations such as Canadian Tire, the Ontario government and Manulife Financial.

Mobilicity has marched into Vancouver and Edmonton, rallying against wireless contracts and the surprise charges and extra fees consumers have been forced to pay the country’s incumbent carriers – until now.
mobilicity
The unlimited wireless carrier, which will have over 100 points of distribution in the Greater Vancouver Area when it launches its state-of-the-art 3.5G network tomorrow, deployed its troops (literally) to spread the good news to Vancouverites.

Edmontonians will also appreciate Mobilicity’s lineup of popular name-brand handsets and smartphones. Prices start at $49.99 without a contract and include crowd-pleasers like the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9700, BlackBerry® Curve 3G and the Nexus One™ by Google™ Android™ 2.2 device.Mobilicity YVR

Today, the carrier announced the upcoming availability of the Motorola Spice™, Canada’s only sub-$200 name-brand Android™ 2.1 device, and the $99.99 LG Wink™ slider phone.

Dressed in magenta fatigues (Mobilicity’s signature colour) and singing the praises of contract-free unlimited wireless, the ‘Magenta Militia’ paraded through the city while Mobilicity executives held a press conference at the carrier’s corporate store in Richmond.

Mobilicity Chairman John Bitove said consumers have the power to bring down Vancouver’s high price of wireless by not surrendering to Telus Mobility, Rogers Wireless and Bell Mobility, commonly known as the country’s wireless oligarchy.

And to round out the news for today, here is a recall notice for iPod users:

The Electrical Safety Authority is notifying the public that Emerge Technologies has announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately.

Name of Product: Retrak iPod retractable wall charger.
Units: 11,359 units in Ontario and 4,429 units in the rest of Canada.
Manufacturer/Importer: Emerge Technologies, Inc.
Hazard: The affected products have not been tested to determine whether they have been compliant with the Canadian Standards for product safety.
Incidents/Injuries: There have been no injuries or damage reported.
Description/Models: ETIPODCHGW is a white wall charger with retractable cable. ETIPODCHGWB is a black wall charger with retractable cable.
Sold by: Best Buy, GEM-SEN Distribution, Micro Channel Management, Staples and Tiger Direct for $24.00.
When was distributed: Between August 2008 and October 2010.
Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Customer should contact Emerge Technologies directly by calling toll free: 877-499-6072 or fax: 972-456-4220 or by email. Product to be returned to Emerge Technologies and customer will receive a full refund, including shipping costs.

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17th November 2010

Mudpit Goes Into Production

Cookie JarProduction of the highly anticipated Cookie Jar series Mudpit, set to air on Canada’s TELETOON English and TÉLÉTOON French in Fall 2011, is now underway at downtown Toronto’s CBC studio 40 with an exceptional cast of musically diverse, talented teens.

Currently being shot within the 13,000 square foot ‘state of the art’ studio in downtown Toronto, the series boasts of bringing another quality television production to the Canadian entertainment industry and breaks new ground with cross-over music appeal. With over 20 international awards, Canada’s Guru Studio is brought onboard to produce the incredible CGI animation.

“I focus on producing shows that re-invest in Canadian talent and push the envelope with cutting-edge, creative ideas that stimulate the technologically savvy imaginations of our young audiences. I remain committed to that,” says Michael Hirsh, CEO of Cookie Jar.

Cookie Jar Entertainment’s Mudpit takes place at the nexus of the social and personal power of music and the appeal of role-playing in a digital world. This CGI animated/live-action series follows four real-world teens and their rock band, Mudpit, as they follow their dreams of fame and fortune. The series takes place in a gaming café and a fantastic, virtual world known as Muzika. Their online avatar rock band personas battle for a coveted record deal, while their real life selves engage in the daily comedy and drama of teenage life.
The Mudpit Band Rocks The Crowd
Hirsh added: “We have partnered with award-winning Canadian based gaming company NDI Media and secured some of the best writers and producers in the entertainment industry for this series. The Mudpit cast members come from across Canada, with a number of the leads credited with industry nominations and previous leading roles in other Canadian and U.S. major productions.

The Mudpit series was created by, Jamie Waese. Waese recently spent two years as Head of Current Programming for Cookie Jar Entertainment where he oversaw all creative aspects. He is the producer and co-director of “Gotta Catch Santa Claus,” a one-hour CGI Christmas movie with William Shatner as Santa. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th November 2010

Yes This Is A Christmas Post About Family Entertainment on YTV

YTVThis holiday season, Corus Entertainment’s YTV is once again the destination for premiere Christmas programming for the entire family. Viewers won’t want to miss two highly anticipated Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc.’s specials Kung Fu Panda Holiday and Merry Madagascar. YTV has also pooled together talented cast members from viewers’ favourite series in YTV’s Holly Jolly Special, hosted by Carlos – and beginning December 1, the YTV web site will offer a new holiday-themed activity every day counting down to New Years Eve, along with the latest and greatest holiday activities, games and programming schedules.

Kung Fu Panda Holiday – PREMIEREMerry Madagascar
The winter feast is Po’s (voiced by Jack Black) favourite holiday. Every year, he and his father hang decorations, cook together and serve noodle soup to the villagers. But this year, Shifu informs Po that as Dragon Warrior, it is his duty to host the formal Winter Feast at the Jade Palace. Po is caught between his obligations as the Dragon Warrior and his family traditions: between Shifu and Mr. Ping. This DreamWorks Animation production premieres Wednesday, December 15 at 7 p.m., repeating on Sunday, December 19 at 11 a.m. and Thursday, December 23 at 4 p.m.

Merry Madagascar – PREMIERE
Merry Madagascar begins when Santa and his sleigh unexpectedly crash-land on an island, giving the jolly gentleman a case of amnesia. So it falls to Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria – along with the ever-inventive Penguins – to deliver the presents and save Christmas. It doesn’t hurt that Santa’s sleigh just might be able to make a little trip to New York City, so they can finally return to their beloved home. Also included is the long-lasting North Pole/South Pole rivalry between the Penguins and Santa’s reindeer, plus magic flying dust and a King Julien-based holiday called “Julienuary.” This DreamWorks Animation production premieres on Thursday, December 16 at 7 p.m., repeating on Sunday, December 19 at 11:30 a.m. and Friday, December 24 at 4 p.m.

Holly Jolly Special – PREMIERE
While preparing for the holidays, YTV’s host Carlos wants to pull together something special for audiences at home. Finally, it comes to him – he has decided to ‘direct’ a holiday music video, and he’s going to call upon his friends, the top 6 frYTV Host Carlosom The Next Star, to help him out. After everyone arrives from across Canada, the crew brainstorms some outrageous ideas on what the video should look like. Throughout this 30-minute special, viewers will get a taste of some holiday skits from That’s So Weird!, shout outs from special guests from some of viewers’ favourite YTV series and catch the video premiere of the title track All I Want for Christmas Is You. Produced by Tricon Films & Television, YTV’s Holly Jolly Special premieres on Wednesday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m., repeating on Sunday, December 19 at 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 21 at 9 p.m., Thursday, December 23 at 9:30 p.m., Friday, December 24 at 3 p.m. and Saturday, December 25 at 2 p.m.

And what would the holiday season be without these classic Christmas specials from yesteryear:

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Lucy counsels a depressed Charlie Brown through the holiday season by directing the Christmas play. Charlie Brown sets out to find the perfect Christmas tree to decorate the stage, though his scruffy choice draws sneers from the other kids. But after some timely words from Linus, he does discover the real meaning of the holiday season. A Charlie Brown Christmas airs Saturday, December 18 at 6 p.m., repeating on Sunday, December 19 at 10 a.m. and Wednesday, December 22 at 7 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st November 2010

Netflix On Xbox and Gordon Pinsent Returns With Babar

netflixNetflix, Inc. has announced that Netflix members in Canada can now instantly watch thousands of movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix to the TV via Xbox 360. There is no additional monthly fee for Netflix members who are also Xbox LIVE Gold members.

“Xbox 360 is a significant addition to a growing number of consumer electronic devices that are capable of streaming from Netflix in Canada,” said Greg Peters, vice president of product development for Netflix. “Netflix members in the United States enjoy instantly watching movies streamed from Netflix on Xbox LIVE and we think that our Canadian members will equally enjoy this enriched experience and the convenience and value that it offers.”
Xbox 360
Starting today, Xbox LIVE members will be able to sign up instantly online for a free trial of Netflix, connect to the Internet on their Xbox 360 and simply click on Netflix in the Video Marketplace on the Xbox 360 Dashboard and follow the easy steps to start streaming thousands of movies and TV shows. In addition, Xbox LIVE subscribers will be able to access the Netflix movie and TV library through Windows Phone 7.

“Canadian Xbox LIVE members asked for more entertainment content and features and now Netflix provides an exciting new way for our members to get the entertainment they love wherever and whenever they want,” said Glenn Purkis, Xbox LIVE product manager, Microsoft Canada. “We are thrilled to offer Netflix to Xbox LIVE Gold members in Canada, and we are confident the service will provide our members with tremendous entertainment value.”

Corus EntertainmentCorus Entertainment’s Nelvana Studio and YTV are pleased to announce the return of the classic children’s book character in the new CGI animated series Babar and the Adventures of Badou, featuring the voice of Gordon Pinsent and premiering in YTV’s Playtime block on Monday, November 22 at 11 a.m. ET/PT.Nelvana

“Corus and Nelvana have a long history with the Babar brand and we are delighted to continue our relationship with this world-famous elephant, to once again bring this popular literary character to life on television with new storylines, a new generation of characters and with CGI technology for today’s audiences,” said Ted Ellis, VP, Kids/Family Programming, Corus Entertainment.

Produced by Nelvana Studio and TeamTO, in association with The Clifford Ross Company, Babar and the Adventures of Badou is based on the bestselling children’s book collection and follows eight-year-old Badou and his famous grandfather King Babar. Badou has an appetite for adventure and a tendency to get caught in some tricky situations along with his colourful YTVfriends Chiku the monkey, Zawadi the zebra, Jake the scruffy little fox and Munroe the deviant and brave porcupine. Navigating the ups and downs of growing up in Celesteville’s royal palace, Badou never forgets that his grandfather King Babar will always be there to offer guidance and support.

In episode one, Babar and the Adventures of Badou: Kite Flight/Zoomerblimps, premiering on Monday, November 22 at 11 a.m. ET/PT (r) Friday, November 26 at 11 a.m. ET/PT, Chiku volunteers Munroe for a kite flying contest against the Crocs. She promises to build him the best kite ever but keeps getting distracted by newer, better design ideas. Badou tries to help her focus so Chiku can deliver on her promise. Then, the kids are competing for their Zoomerblimp Junior Pilot wings. Badou and Rhudi are the favourites but when Dilash sabotages both their ships the two have to team up – and learn a little about sportsmanship – in order to compete.

Beginning on Wednesday, November 10, viewers can visit YTV.com to immerse themselves in Badou’s adventures online with 10 new customizable web games, nine exclusive web animations, visits to four neighbourhoods in Celesteville, as well as clips of the show. The online fun doesn’t stop there as fans can also access 23 different colouring pages and printable stickers, and download their very own customized adventure storybook.

YTV will be participating in Toronto’s 106th annual Santa Claus Parade – the longest running children’s parade in the world. Fans won’t want to miss the Babar and the Adventures of Badou float on Sunday, November 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET. YTV will air a repeat broadcast of the parade on Sunday, December 5 at 12 p.m. ET/PT.

Consulting PortalConsulting-Portal, a leading IT Service Management (ITSM) process design and implementation company, is announcing the launch of an online social media community for Service Management practitioners.

This free online community provides a forum for ITSM practitioners to interact, share, collaborate and to expand their knowledge of IT Service Management processes and frameworks such as ITIL®, COBIT®, and ISO20000®. It also allows for members to connect at a personal level through private messaging, public posting and the ability to “friend” other members.

“The goal of the community was to create an online dialogue covering all aspects of IT Service Management. We are passionate about the practice of Service Management and we hope that this community will allow others to share our passion…we believe that social media and ITSM is a natural fit,” says David Mainville – CEO and co-founder of Consulting-Portal.

The community contains a number of resources including a blog, articles, podcasts, webinars and a variety of user forums on topics such as ITIL® training, ITSM Governance, Service Management tools, Process Design techniques, Configuration Management & the CMDB and much more.

Mood MediaMood Media Corporation has expanded its casual games portfolio through agreement with iWin. Shoppers at popular retailers across the country can now sample a casual game such as Jewel Quest before they purchase it via an interactive display.

Lorne Abony, CEO and Chairman of Mood Media Corporation says, “we continue to expand our product range through partnerships with leading producers and distributors of popular PC based casual games. Mood Media has a large retail footprint and is dedicated to ensuring good media entertainment products are available for shoppers to enjoy”.

CEO at iWin, CJ Wolf comments, “seeing Jewel Quest for sale on the shelves at leading non-traditional retail chains is an exciting new move for iWin. We are happy to work with Mood Media to ensure popular games reach our target audience of females aged 35-50″.

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12th October 2010

Teletoon Gets Spooky With Scooby

teletoonScooby, Shaggy and the gang bring a dose of mystery to the TELETOON schedule in the highly anticipated premiere of the brand new live-action movie Scooby-Doo: Curse of the Lake Monster on Saturday, October 30 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Leading up to the film premiere, TELETOON will broadcast a nightly lineup of spooky Scooby-Doo specials and other Halloween programming from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET/PT every weeknight starting on October 18. Viewers can also catch special Halloween programming Saturdays starting at 4 p.m. ET/PT and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET/PT throughout this period.

Scooby Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster is an all-new, live-action sequel to the 2009 smash hit Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins. The film follows Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo to their summer jobs at a country club owned by Daphne’s uncle. While there, the Mystery Inc. scooby doogang stumbles upon some strange happenings around the local lake – including mystical moonstones, creepy characters and a Frog Monster on the loose. Viewers can catch the action a second time during an encore presentation of the film on Sunday, October 31 at 9 a.m. ET/PT and 12 p.m. ET/PT.

Continuing on the spooky Scooby theme, the brand new animated feature Scooby Doo! Abracadabra-Doo has its TELETOON premiere on Saturday, October 23 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Scooby-Doo and the gang go on a trip to visit Daphne’s sister, Madelyn. She has been studying magic at the Whirlen Merlin Magic Academy, where sightings of a giant dragon have been scaring all the students away. The gang smells trouble and sets out to investigate. Encore presentations of the film will be broadcast on Sunday, October 24 at 9 a.m. ET/PT and Thursday, October 28 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Read the rest of this entry »

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12th October 2010

The NFB Announces Full Get Animated Schedule

National Film BoardThe National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is launching the fourth edition of Get Animated!, a series of free animation screenings and activities from October 26 to November 7, 2010, in cities across Canada. An internationally renowned producer of auteur animation, the NFB created Get Animated! as its contribution to International Animation Day, October 28.

Get Animated! will feature new releases from the NFB’s Oscar-winning animation studios, a Fairy Tales for All program for all ages, master classes by renowned NFB animators as well as additional programming in selected cities. The NFB website will also offer a special Get Animated! playlist.

Get Animated! kicks off in Toronto at the NFB Mediatheque, where it runs from October 26 to 31, followed by Montreal at the NFB CinéRobothèque (October 28–31), Winnipeg (October 28–31), Edmonton (October 28), Halifax (October 28–29, November 6–7), Vancouver (October 28–November 1), Moncton (October 31) and Calgary (November 6–7). Please visit the Get Animated! site for the complete schedule.

New releases

Ten new animated releases will be featured in Get Animated! this year, including Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life, a puppet-animated work by Oscar nominees Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski (Madame Tutli-Putli), based on the book by Maurice Sendak, featuring the voices of Meryl Streep and Forest Whitaker and produced in association with Warner Home Video. Read the rest of this entry »

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11th October 2010

Animal Mechanicals Debuts In USA Today

dhx mediaDHX Media is pleased to announce the US television premiere of its pre-school hit TV series Animal Mechanicals. The preschool series premiered today at 10:00am EST on the new Hasbro/Discovery Communications children’s network ‘The Hub’.
animal mechanicals
The Hub will air Animal Mechanicals Monday-Thursday at 10:00am and 12:00pm, as well as Saturday mornings at 7:30 EST. The series consistently achieves high ratings amongst 4-6 year olds in many territories around the world.

Animal Mechanicals is produced by DHX Media for CBC in Canada, where the series is one of the highest-rating preschool shows. The Disney Channels in the UK and Asia; Radio-Canada, Discovery Latin America, Romania’s HOP, EBS in Korea; okto Singapore; Al-Jazeera Children Channel have all licensed the series along with Prava I Prevodi, who acquired the title for Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. Animal Mechanicals is an action adventure series for preschoolers that combines fantastical worlds, mythical animals and cool quests.

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4th October 2010

Fearless Fred Named as Teletoon At Night Host

teletoon at nightSundays on TELETOON At Night – a programming block for older teens and adults – gets an extra punch of hilarity and absurdity this fall with the launch of TELETOON’s first-ever hosted block, Fred At Night. Featuring host Fred Kennedy, Fred At Night airs every Sunday beginning Sunday, October 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

The post-10 p.m. block will include a series of eight hosted segments throughout TELETOON At Night’s exclusive Sunday night programming line-up of Robot Chicken, The Dating Guy, Archer and the TELETOON At Night Pilot Project. Fred will be hanging out with viewers over the course of the two-hour block, introducing series’ episodes for that night, sharing his views on the animation style, characters and storylines, and providing commentary on his many passions from music, comics and movies to technology, celebrities and current events. Periodically, Fred will also interview various show creators, fans and voice actors during the block.

“Fred At Night is a dream gig for me. It’s hard to believe that I actually have a job where I can rant about the things that I absolutely love like cartoons and comics,” said Fred Kennedy, Host of Fred At Night on TELETOON At Night. “I can’t wait to give my take on the Sunday night line-up, women I’d like to date like Tifa from Final Fantasy V11 or the life lessons I’ve learned from Star Wars.”

With a succesful career in radio and concurrently the host of the afternoon drive show on Toronto’s 102.1 the Edge, Fred makes his debut as a television host on Fred At Night, bringing with him his love of cartoons, superheroes and comics. fred kennedy

Born and raised in Nova Scotia in a military household, Fred spent his pre-teen years in Belgium and lived in a number of different cities across Canada. During his adolescence in Edmonton, Fred would tune in to Drive Time with Matt and Jake on 100.3 The Bear on his way home from school. Eight years later he wound up hosting that same time slot and renamed it Fearless Fred’s Radio Extravaganza, a radio show which won him the Steve Young Broadcaster of the Year Award in March of 2009. The attention he earned from the award led to an offer of hosting afternoon drive on 102.1 the Edge and he made the move to Toronto in fall 2009 with his wife and cat.

Fred has not only been dissecting cartoons since he was five years old, but he is an avid reader and writer of comic books, loves playing video games, has a very respectable t-shirt collection, enjoys cupcakes, and even trains his cat to rob banks.

“The TELETOON At Night viewer craves edgy, smart comedy and wants to interact with people who share their appreciation for this kind of programming,” said Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content, TELETOON Canada inc. “Fred is the archetype of the typical TELETOON At Night viewer and along with his amazing store of animation, superhero and cartoon knowledge, he makes the perfect host to connect with this programming block’s audience and develop a community of like-minded viewers – both on-air and online.”

In addition to the on-air content, Fred At Night will produce and offer exclusive online content for teletoonatnight.com to further engage with TELETOON At Night viewers. Fred will create blog posts weekly; topics will include a regular video review of TELETOON At Night’s upcoming Saturday Night Movie, a “Top 5″ video segment featuring a different theme each week, a blog series titled “She’s Too Good For You” focusing on Fred’s object of affection for the week and Fred’s review of the series’ weekly episodes. Viewers will also be able to follow and interact with Fred through social media networks including Twitter and Facebook.

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