17th August 2011

Canada Media Fund Outreach and Consultation

Canada Media Fundvia CMF email: The Canada Media Fund has extended an invitation to Canadian content creators to participate in its on-line consultation about changes for the 2012-13 programs.

The Canada Media Fund has launched a new « Outreach and Consultation »  section on its website. This section will keep you informed about the discussions held by the various working groups and the Digital Media Measurement Advisory Committee concerning certain policy issues in view of changes for the 2012-2013 programs. You are invited to submit your comments and opinions on the discussion forum.

All documents presented and discussed during the working groups and the advisory committee meetings, as well as the calendar of meetings, will be available for download. You are invited to consult the updates on a regular basis and share your concerns on the discussion forum.

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17th August 2011

Canadian Mobile Media Snapshot Highlights Impact On Key Brand Metrics

bell mediaBell Media has shared preliminary findings from its fourth annual Canadian Mobile Media Snapshot. The 2011 research illustrates the strong link between mobile media use and brand awareness, favourability and purchase intent.

Among the key findings:

  • 82% of mobile media users agree that mobile media is a good way to learn about new products and brands
  • 80% of mobile media users agree that mobile media can influence them to investigate a product or service
  • 71% of mobile media users agree that mobile media can change the way they think about a product or service
  • 65% of mobile media users agree that mobile media can influence them to buy a product or service

“The importance of mobile in daily life has already been well established. What these findings underline is a clear opportunity for brands to impact their key metrics by using mobile media and advertising,” says Jonathan Dunn, Associate Director, Mobile Sales and Marketing, Bell Media Digital. “We are seeing increasingly positive attitudes towards mobile advertising from consumers with nearly 30% of mobile media users citing excellent experiences with mobile ads.”

Of those surveyed, over half had purchased their phone in the last year leading to a smartphone penetration percentage within the survey sample of 56%. This is consistent with the Canadian Wireless and Telecommunications Association’s recently published figures for Smartphone use among key urban demographics in their 2011 Cell Phone Consumer Attitudes Study. These figures align with carrier device sales and widely available projections for Smartphone adoption in the next 6-12 months.

“Conscious of the dramatic acceleration of Smartphone adoption in Canada, the research we released provides much more than a trailing view of the market,” says Dunn. “The 2011 Canadian Mobile Media Snapshot was structured to ensure our sales teams and agency partners have access to data that can be confidently applied to proactive campaign planning.”

Canadian mobile users are also issuing a call to action for Canadian brands to make more content mobile friendly. When asked what would encourage them to use the mobile Internet more, the top reasons respondents gave all spoke to issues solved by more mobile-optimized sites including: sites better designed for mobile browsing; easier to use mobile sites; and more mobile sites.

“The feedback is significant in that it provides clear indication that Canadians have an appetite to engage with brands on mobile but are frustrated by web experiences designed exclusively for desktop,” said Dunn.

The Canadian Mobile Media Snapshot researched consumer use habits and preferences by device, operating system, content consumption and time and place-based use amongst Canadian mobile owners aged 16-64 across Canadian provinces. Age, gender and geographic lenses have been applied to the data to ensure brands working with Bell Media Digital Sales have access to highly relevant and actionable data about their target customer segments in a way that is consistent with existing planning practices.

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17th August 2011

Canada Outpacing U.S. in Smart Home Technology Adoption

vivintAccording to Calgary home automation company Vivint™, Canadian customers are adopting smart home technologies at a higher rate than customers in the United States. As of July 2011, 54 percent of new Canadian customers added smart home features like remote door locks, video surveillance, energy management, and lighting and small appliance control to their basic security packages—compared to 48 percent in the United States.

Smart home features are easier to use and more affordable than ever—with full packages running about the same price as a cell phone plan. New technologies, professional installation services, and innovative financing plans have made the safety, convenience, and energy management benefits of home automation accessible for a wide variety of consumers.

Gail Albin and her husband Michael of Qualicum Beach, B.C., use Vivint’s smart home technology to stay safe, and stay connected: “My husband travels overseas for his job and the big time change can make it hard for us to stay in touch,” Gail said. “Michael uses the Vivint app from his smart phone to check the system log, which tells him when I have armed and disarmed our system. That way, he knows that I’m safe at night, and when I’m awake and he can call me in the morning.”

Ted and Karen Betts of Lethbridge, Alberta, use Vivint to manage their energy use and give family members access to their house while they are away. “My husband and I own a business that takes us away from home quite regularly. It’s great to be able to adjust our thermostat, from the Vivint website, to make sure our house isn’t too warm or too cold—especially during the winter months.” She continued, saying that “My sister checks on our house regularly, when we travel, and it’s so much more convenient to just give her a personal code she can use to get inside. She doesn’t have to worry about keeping track of a key, and the system arms automatically when she leaves. The ability to access the Vivint website and monitor all entry and exits taking place, regardless of where in the world we might be, provides us with an extraordinary sense of security and control of our home while we are away.”

Alberta led the country with 66 percent of new customers adding smart home features. The lowest adopting province is New Brunswick at 33 percent—which is still higher than 18 U.S. states and territories.

New customer smart technology adoption by province:

Alberta: 66.32% Newfoundland and Labrador: 45.33%
Northwest Territories: 56.88% Nova Scotia: 34.80%
Manitoba: 58.19% Ontario: 34.04%
Saskatchewan: 51.77% New Brunswick: 33.08%
British Columbia: 46.43%
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17th August 2011

Nintendo Adds More Titles To Selects Line-up

Nintendo CanadaNintendo Canada says that consumers and their families soon will be able to experience even more must-play games for the Wii™ system at an excellent value. Nintendo has announced the addition of four games to the Nintendo® Selects collection, a hot-selling series of fun, family-friendly Wii games offered at a suggested retail price of $19.99 each. Starting August 28th, the Nintendo Selects lineup grows to include Super Paper Mario™, Mario Strikers™ Charged by Next Level Games, Punch-Out!!™, also by Next Level Games, and Super Mario Galaxy™, which is recognized as one of the most acclaimed Wii games of all time.

Already enjoyed by millions of players around the globe, games in the Nintendo Selects collection offer boundless fun at an enticing price for Wii users of any experience level, whether they want to expand their own game libraries or find affordable, fun-packed gifts for loved ones. The Wii console, which comes bundled with the Mario Kart™ Wii game and the Wii Wheel™ accessory, delivers extraordinary entertainment value for families and is available for a suggested retail price of $149.99.

Three of the four new additions to the Nintendo Selects collection invite players to interact with Nintendo’s iconic Mario™ character in imaginative and entertaining ways: Super Mario Galaxy is an out-of-this-world adventure in which Mario must travel through outer space to rescue Princess Peach™ from the devious Bowser™; Super Paper Mario offers classic Mario RPG action that can be switched from flat 2D worlds to a full open-world perspective; and Mario Strikers Charged finds the Mushroom Kingdom crew storming the soccer field for fast-paced athletic kicks. Also, the fan-favorite Punch-Out!! game delivers motion-controlled boxing thrills with a host of memorable characters. All four games feature multiplayer modes that let friends and family members have fun together.

Previously announced games in the Nintendo Selects collection include The Legend of Zelda™: Twilight Princess, Animal Crossing™: City Folk, Mario™ Super Sluggers and Wii Sports™.

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17th August 2011

LiveCast Media Announces Unified 3D Video Delivery

livecast mediaFrom the 2011 Concours on the Avenue, exhibition in California’s Carmel-by-the-Sea,  Vancouver’s LiveCast Media has announced the first unified live 3D video streaming and delivery platform. LiveCast’s cloud based architecture enables anyone to broadcast 3D video up to 1080p/i HD quality and instantly have it viewed on any 3D video enabled device, including: home theatres, set-top boxes, laptops and mobile phones.

“We are very pleased to have these new broadcasting technologies bringing our event, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California to far more people and in a much more realistic way than ever before,” said Doug & Genie Freedman, Founders of Concours on the Avenue event. “To see and appreciate these extraordinary collector cars and their owners, gives people the chance to feel like they are actually here with us, sharing in the full three dimensional reality of this extraordinary event.”

“The goal of For Locals Only LLC is to bring the communities of the world together,” said Gary Hamada, Larry Weingarten, & Neal Kruse of For Locals Only LLC. “Working with LiveCast Media and employing their exciting new 3D live broadcasting technologies has made it possible for us to achieve our goals in ways never before possible.”

LiveCast’s innovative solution is particularly timely towards enhancing the new 3D enabled mobile phones now entering the global marketplace, such as the HTC EVO 3D and LG Thrill. You can view this 3D event live or on-demand on your 3D device without need for glasses.

“It has been a pleasure partnering with the For Locals Only team to offer the world’s first convergent live 3D webcast,” said William Mutual, CEO, LiveCast Media. “This achievement is the result of overcoming major technical hurdles and will greatly propel the onset of the 3D ecosystem and available of enhanced content.”

LiveCast is working with existing enterprise customers and mobile operators to provide the technology for a variety of use cases including: news gathering, healthcare, security, public safety, field maintenance, and public safety. LiveCast will be adding vertical specific features, which will further extend the value for unique applications within those industries.

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17th August 2011

WinMagic Opens Office In Germany

winmagicWinMagic® an innovator in full-disk encryption (FDE), has announced that in response to rapidly-increasing Global demand for its SecureDoc full-disk encryption technology it has opened an office in Frankfurt am Main in Germany to better serve the German, Russian and Eastern European markets. The Canadian company is deploying a knowledgeable local sales force and increasing its local marketing activities to significantly expand its services to mid-size and large enterprises in Central Europe over the next year.

WinMagic is the sole manufacturer to specialize in data security for portable devices. WinMagic’s SecureDoc is a powerful solution designed to protect sensitive data stored on laptops, tablets and removable media, such as USB thumb drives, CD/DVDs and storage cards. SecureDoc enables administrators to encrypt entire hard drives and provides convenient management and configuration options. Its central administration makes the creation and distribution of keys extremely simple. In addition, SecureDoc provides options to further protect encrypted data using new authentication technologies such as biometric systems.

WinMagic is the first vendor to support network connections in the pre-boot phase (PBConnex), thus permitting encryption to be introduced without the need to adapt existing IT processes. All new Opal-compliant self-encrypting drives (SEDs) are also supported. Furthermore, WinMagic is the first producer to offer high-performance, secure encryption for solid-state disks (SSDs). SecureDoc is compatible with all current versions of Windows, Mac OS X and Linux – making it simple to implement uniform security standards in heterogeneous environments.

“As an independent manufacturer of mobile data security solutions, WinMagic is currently experiencing tremendous growth in demand in its home market Canada, as well as in the United States and Japan, mainly due to its outstanding technology,” explained Georg Gann, WinMagic Director DACH & Eastern Europe. “Despite enterprises in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the rest of Europe placing particular value on technologically-advanced products, numerous competitors have lost their product development focus due to the consolidation in our industry, and as a result many customers are dissatisfied,” Gann continued. “WinMagic is totally focused on providing innovative solutions that simplify strong data protection for both users and administrators, and so we are confident that WinMagic and its distribution partners can meet all the expectations of increasingly-demanding customers far better than the antivirus vendors.”

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17th August 2011

Ontario In Full Force At Gamescom

Ontario Technology CorridorDespite various global economic challenges, the digital media and video game industries continue to thrive. People like to play games – especially in tough times. Over the past two years, Canada’s gaming industry has expanded 11 per cent annually and is forecasted to grow 17 per cent in each of the next two years. Executives from the Ontario Technology Corridor are at GamesCom to demonstrate the province’s “winning combination” of talent and tax credits. Canada is one of the world’s top three game producing nations.

Larry MacKinnon, Director of Business Development for Technology in London Ontario and member of the Ontario Technology Corridor, says “Ontario continues to offer the talent and the financial incentitves that make this region such a strong part of the digital entertainment industry. Our job at GamesCom is to add to our tremendous home-grown crop of companies and help demonstrate that Ontario is a prime destination in North America for gaming investments.”

Federal and Ontario provincial research and development tax credits combine to give Canada the most favourable tax treatment among G-8 countries — giving Ontario innovation companies the ability to cut R&D expenditures by up to 63%.

In 2011 Ontario’s gaming advantage has scored several wins:

Arkadium Inc.

On July 19, 2011, this global leader in online games opened a Toronto office to focus on mobile gaming titles. Company executives stated “key factors” in the move were assistance from the Ontario government and the Digital Media Tax Credit, plus help from the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance. Arkadium’s Toronto office has a goal of producing ten new games to introduce to the market within the next 12 month.

Gameloft Inc.

This France-based company has started hiring 205 people for a new Toronto office that will be a state-of-the-art gaming studio. The company also confirms the key role played by the provincial tax credit. The company’s General Manager for Canada, Mario Poulin says, “We remain at the top of our game by partnering with jurisdictions like Ontario where there is a real interest backed by sound policies to make the gaming sector a strong contributor to the economy and the creation of jobs.“ Gameloft posted 15 per cent revenue growth in the first part of  2011.

Silicon Knights Inc.

Also in July, Silicon Knights announced it will nearly double its staff by adding 80 new jobs. Ontario government tax credits combined with the company’s own invesment will allow the studio to improve its technology, create new products and become a self-publishing company.

Morro Images Inc.

Morro is working with Silicon Knights as Morro Images expands their current visual effects operation in St. Catharines. Morro is a sister firm to Morro Images of Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany, and is also a supporter of nGen, the Niagara Interactive Media Generator, a hub for business development of digital media companies. nGen hosts the Generator at One motion capture facility which will serve as headquarters for the new Ontario Augmented Reality Network.  Brock University recently received funding from the Ontario Media Development Corporation to develop the Network.

Ontario’s lead agency for provincial incentives in digital media is the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).  Darius Basarab, Senior Business Development Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is headed to GamesCom and says, “Ontario is well positioned to compete with other jurisdictions who are trying to attract gaming firms and we have a lot to offer – that will be one of my message at the conference.” To date the OMDC IDM Fund has contributed $7.7 million to 76 projects with budgets totaling $32.7 million – and continues to offer the following incentives:

  • Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit – refunds 35-40 per cent of eligible production costs
  • Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit – refunds 20 per cent of labour costs
  • OMDC Interactive Digital Media Fund – up to $150,000 in project production funding, up to a maximum of 50% of the project budget.

Ontario’s fast-growing entertainment and creative cluster employs nearly 300,000 while contributing $12.2 billion to the province’s GDP. In addition, 22 Ontario colleges and universities produce18,000 graduates per year from174 specialized digital media programs including 3D animation, film studies, advanced computer programming, math, and hardware engineering.

The C.D. Howe Institute, which studies social and economic policies, notes Canada’s international reputation as a destination for capital and investment is better than it has been for a generation.

Canada’s federal corporate income tax rate will fall from 18 per cent in 2010 to 15 per cent by 2012 — less than half of the top U.S. federal marginal corporate income tax rate, and the lowest in the G7 plus the lowest R&D costs in the G7, with a 12.9 per cent advantage over the U.S. Canada also has the world’s soundest banking system according to the World Economic Forum.

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17th August 2011

Get Immortalized In Candy

maynardsDo you have a perfect pucker?  A sweet smile?  Ever dream of having your face recognized – and devoured – by thousands? For one lucky Canadian, that dream will come true. Maynards, Canada’s #1 candy brand, is asking Canadians to ‘Make Your Face a Maynards’and transform their good looks into a delicious candy offering for the chance to become the face of Maynards next candy – literally!

From now until September 30, candy-face wannabes are invited to upload a photo of their best Maynards face to the Maynards Canada Facebook page and morph their fabulous features into a virtual candy caricature.  Only one sweet stand-out submission will be selected to become an actual candy based on one of Maynard’s most popular treats:  Sour Patch Kids, Fuzzy Peach, Sour Cherry Blasters, or Swedish Berries.

“Maynards fans are an extremely passionate bunch when it comes to expressing their love for their favourite candy. So we thought hey, why not let a Maynards fan actually be a Maynards?” said Jessica Sheth, Brand Manager, Maynards Candy.  “Maynards is offering a unique opportunity to immortalize the face of one of its fans in a special, sweet way for everyone to enjoy.  Imagine being able to tell your friends or family to ‘bite me’ and mean it!”maynards contest

After transforming their faces, candied Canucks can create a virtual custom pack design to show off their new candy look.  It’s not just about the appeal of your photo but the creativity of your expression and fit with the Maynards’ personality too! Maynards is asking each entrant to submit a brief statement as to why their face would be the perfect match for Maynards.

Sweet-toothed officials will choose the top 10 faces, which will be showcased on Facebook beginning October 17.  A random draw from the top 10 entries on October 24 will determine the grand prize winner. The winner of ‘Make Your Face a Maynards’ will receive a year’s supply of Maynards candy featuring his or her actual face and a cash prize of $5,000, plus a trip for two to Toronto for a photo shoot and a factory tour to see how Maynards candy is made. You can also find all of the contest rules and guidelines on the Facebook Page.

Sweet tips for star style

So what’s the best way to make those cute dimples pop or that funky ‘fro stand out in order to get noticed by the judges?

According to Chris Buck, when it comes to modeling—candy-style — it’s all about letting your unique character shine through.  And he should know.  Not only is Chris maynards contestworking with Maynards as a celebrity consultant on ‘Make Your Face A Maynards’, he’s also a successful photographer who has spent more than two decades shooting celebrity faces through his lens.

“As a photographer, I’ve been very lucky to have had the opportunity to shoot unique portraits with some of the best known faces and personalities in the entertainment industry.  When Maynards Canada approached me to help them in the search for the winning face for its next candy, I couldn’t believe they were actually turning a person into a candy!  I had to be a part of it!” said Buck.  “Maynards is looking for a distinctive Canadian face. People shouldn’t feel shy about embracing their sillier side or highlighting their unique features. The best faces will be ones that are unusual, expressive, and deliciously odd.”

Here are some more tips from Chris Buck on how to make your sweet face stand out:

Let there be light: To really make your face stand out, the photo can’t be too dark or too bright.  Avoid standing in front of a window; to really show off your features, it’s best to have the light hit your face on an angle (like over the photographer’s shoulder).

Try out different shots – Whether you’re taking the photo yourself or enlisting a trusty friend to help, take a variety of shots with different expressions to see what you like best.  You may be surprised at what ends up being the most compelling shot!

It’s time for a close up! The focus should be on your face – so make sure you’re submitting a headshot that clearly shows your features.

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17th August 2011

Rogers Launches Home Monitoring and Automation System

rogersImagine if you could feel closer to home,even when your front door is far away. You can now truly be the master of the house with Smart Home Monitoring, an innovative home monitoring and automation service launched today by Rogers. From remotely controlling thermostat levels, to scheduling lights to turn on when you get home, this new system delivers a connected personalized experience at home, at work or on-the-go. Powered by both Rogers cable and Rogers wireless networks, Smart Home Monitoring lets consumers automate and manage sensors, cameras, thermostats, lights and small appliances from their computer or smartphone. This service is currently only available to Rogers Hi-Speed Internet customers in the Rogers cable footprint across Ontario.

“Consumers are looking for solutions to enable their connected home seamlessly, reliably and securely,” said Ian Pattinson, Vice-President & General Manager, Smart Home Monitoring, Rogers Communications. “With Smart Home Monitoring, we have reinvented home security with easy home automation and energy management providing Rogers customers with a truly connected home of the future.”Rogers Home Panel

At the heart of the system is an ultra-rugged, easy-to-use touchpad that consumers use to arm/disarm and manage their system. Available in wall-mount or table-top, the touchpad provides quick 1-touch access to home security functions, home automation apps for lighting, cameras and thermostats as well as multimedia apps for photos, traffic, weather and sports. When an alarm occurs, the touchpad instantly connects with the Rogers central monitoring station simultaneously over both Rogers cable and wireless networks. The touchpad constantly communicates with its highly encrypted smart sensors throughout the home, checking their status, signal strength, battery level and even room temperature.

Staying connected to your home is easy – consumers can securely connect to their Smart Home Monitoring service through any computer or a smartphone allowing them to view, manage and secure their homes through a two-step security process at any time from any internet-based location.

Additional features and benefits of the service include:

  • Real-time, 24/7 monitoring at the Rogers Central Monitoring Station provided by certified security experts with over twenty years of experience in security, monitoring and emergency services
  • IP-based dual network connections ensure constant connection of the home to the Rogers Central Monitoring Station
  • Real-time sensor and video alerts sent via text and email
  • Remote access from a computer or smartphone to securely view, control and arm/disarm the home
  • Professional installation by specially-trained Rogers cable technicians

“Consumers want a next generation system that protects and connects their home seamlessly with their connected lifestyle,” Pattinson said. “Smart Home Monitoring is a natural evolution for our business that leverages our proven networks, expertise in communication and commitment to innovation and next generation connected experiences.”

Smart Home Monitoring has three rate plans, each including always connected wireless-data backup, starting with the Home Basics plan at $39.99 per month. Rogers Cable Hi-Speed Internet required.  The Touchpad starter kit is $149.00 on a three-year term, or $749 with no term, with optional sensors available a-la-carte and in discounted Value Packs.   All systems are professionally installed for a one-time fee of $99.00.

But will it turn off the iron? ;)

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17th August 2011

E FUN Launches Android Tablets and Digital Pens in Canada

efunCalifornia-based E FUN, a consumer electronics designer and marketer of fun, easy-to-use lifestyle products, has launched its Nextbook brand of Android tablet computers and its APEN digital line of pens in Canada. The products are being distributed through SYNNEX Canada Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of apen-a2SYNNEX Corporation.

“Our goal is to secure a leadership position within the consumer electronics field,” stated Jason Liszewski, managing director and vice president of sales for E FUN. “Our partnerships help us attain that goal and play a major role in the success of nextbookour product lines.”

E FUN Nextbook tablet computers are sleek, lightweight and highly versatile. Features found in every model include Wi-Fi connectivity, a color TFT touch-screen display, a variety of multimedia functions and an integrated e-book store. Functionality is enhanced by many readily available, third-party applications.

The E FUN APEN2 wireless digital pen is now also available in Canada. Value priced for mass consumer accessibility, the APEN2 does not require special paper or ink, nor does it have to be connected to a computer. A special transmitter and software allow the digital pen to digitize handwriting and hand-drawn images.

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