The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. It’s been two years since Canadian NEW MEDIA sent a representative to the International New Media Festival, but the wait was worth it. This year’s festival, held for the first time in Prince Edward Island, had all of the intimate networking, in-depth panel discussions and energy, creativity and Rocky-like determination we’ve come to expect of an event at which new media players are at the top of the food chain – at least for three days. Unlike the 2000 festival, when CNM last attended, there were few to no hangers-on or venture capitalists or government departments seeking the vicarious limelight of an industry with unlimited potential. The limits were made all too obvious in 2001, and attendees this year were the survivors. There is a new maturity in the industry and its leaders that can come only with battle fatigue. Discussions were candid and honest, and no one sees the light at the end of any tunnel unless aided by superb business sense and a real desire to build viable long-term enterprises. It’s a 180-degree change from the 2000 festival. Though there are fewer players today, they’re tougher, smarter and more realistic than ever before in this young industry. Andrew Cochran asked participants to a panel on ITV whether the day might come when digital players dictate terms to TV and movie producers to create media that drive viewers to hot digital properties. Two years ago, when everyone and his dog was a new media producer, the contrarian would have had a field day with the question, certain that an industry built on hype was destined to crash and old money broadcasters would rule the day. Seeing first-hand the new critical mass of expertise being developed by Decode Entertainment, Snap Media and others, however, it seems not to be a stretch. The walking wounded have learned some valuable lessons in the last two years. Old media may finally have cause to be concerned, and their absence from this year’s festival is a shame since they’re missing the fundamental changes that are turning new media companies into real potential partners.