Ad blocking software on the InternetDecima Research Inc. recently surveyed 2,000 Canadians using its monthly omnibus TeleVox asking about their use of ad blocking software on the Internet. Not surprisingly, use of software that blocks pop-ups and other ads was highest among younger Canadians. Note that in each category, some taking the survey either said they didn’t know whether they used ad blocking software, or refused to say. Results, therefore, don’t add up to 100%. For more information about this research, call Christine Escobar, (416) 962-2013. The case for ITVOnly 4% of digital television subscribers in Canada currently subscribe to interactive television services, according to a soon-to-be-released consumer research report by Decima Publishing Inc. and Decima Research Inc. entitled The Digital Domain: Consumer Attitudes on Digital Television Services, Benefits and Features In Canada. Those who currently subscribe to ITV services and those who expressed an interest in subscribing were asked to rate their interest in four ITV services and features. Six in ten (59%) are interested (those who answered "definitely interested" or "probably interested") in being able to obtain more information about a program they are watching. Results for the other features are illustrated below.The report provides a summary of consumer attitudes and perceptions toward digital television, based on a telephone survey of 2,002 adult Canadians conducted in May and June 2003. For more information about the report, please call Ryan O’Neill at (613) 230-1984, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Snap Media lauds new module for reality show genreSnap Media Corp. has launched the web site for what looks to be a sleeper hit, Strip Search, being broadcast on Bravo! The web site incorporates bonus footage, pictures and information about the show’s candidates online, as well as games and wireless access. The company also worked with MyThum Interactive Inc. to incorporate all-carrier-wide short messaging service (SMS) premium text messaging for the show. A sponsored contest in partnership with Quest Personals, a subsidiary of First Media Group Inc., will likely cover the cost of mounting the wireless campaign. MyThum has worked with Quest previously in conjunction with Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting and D3 Canada Inc. to sponsor a contest for the show Temptation Island (Australia). While excited about the show and associated web site, Snap president Raja Khanna adds that the site launch also coincides with a growing push by the company to begin licensing its back-end technology used for Strip Search and other broadcast-related sites. This site has been built with a new module developed by Snap designed to make all but the design elements for a reality show web site plug-and-play. Khanna tells CNM that the module will now be offered to other broadcasters as part of its new SnapSITE 1.0 suite of web site products. The new media producer has just quietly begun touting the suite on its web site at www.snapmedia.com/snapsite. While SnapSITE can be used in turnkey fashion, Khanna says many customers are likely to turn to Snap to do the associated design work. CCTA files in copyright processThe Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA) filed a submission with the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Sept. 15 with respect to the current Copyright Act reform process. The CCTA makes recommendations on areas including ISP liability, broadcasters’ rights, the ephemeral recording exception, technological protection measures, web site linking and terms of copyright protection in its submission summary document. The CCTA has also joined the Balanced Copyright Coalition, parties opposing the introduction of U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act-style legislation in Canada (see story in this issue). Anti-spam bill proposed in SenateSenator Donald Oliver, a Tory appointed by Brian Mulroney in 1990, has introduced Bill S-23 into the upper chamber, which would prevent unsolicited messages on the Internet. The bill defines spam as "one or more unsolicited messages sent and received on the Internet, but does not include a message sent by a person to another person with whom they have an existing commercial or personal relationship." The proposed law suggests fines for sending spam as high as $5,000 for fraudulent, pornographic or child-targeting messages, as well as the potential for a year in jail. The bill also proposes the creation of a new Internet Consumer Protection Council, membership in which would be mandatory for any companies seeking to operate as ISPs. The council would maintain a no-spam list with which enterprises would have to check to see if potential recipients of email have asked not to be contacted. The bill was introduced on September 15. Growth in Internet use shows pause: StatsCanStatistics Canada says growth in Internet use leveled off in 2002. Last year, the bureau says, 7.5 million households had at least one member who used the Internet regularly, either from home, work, school, a public library or elsewhere. That represents only 4% growth from 2001. StatsCan says that because high-income households, those with members still active in the labour foce, those with kids at home and people with higher levels of education have previously been so quick to adopt the Internet, "the capacity to sustain high growth rates is much reduced." The 4% rate of growth in 2002 was far lower than in 2001 when use grew by 23%, and from 2000 when growth was 42%. CanWest to charge readers for access to online newspapersThe Toronto Star reported on September19 that CanWest Global Communications Corp. will begin charging readers for access to its online versions of newspapers including the National Post. The commitment to end free access was made by CanWest CEO Leonard Asper at an investors conference in Quebec City. "There’s no point in having canada.com with 120 million page-views a month if nobody is paying for it...At the very least we’ll stop the cannibalization," the Star quotes Asper as saying. Mainframe sells controlling interest to IDT MediaIDT Media Inc.’s Digital Production Solutions (DPS) division will acquire a 56.1% interest on a fully-diluted basis in Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment Inc., it was announced Sept. 16. Several approvals are required. Mainframe is one of Canada’s premier computer graphics animation shops, working with big-name partners such as Hasbro, Mattel and Sony to create TV series based on well-known brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels and Spider-Man. The acquisition is being accomplished for $14 million in a combination of cash and a guaranteed credit line. IDT is a subsidiary of IDT Corp., a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company. The company has been on a tear of acquisitions of late, including buying a controlling interest in Film Roman, the company behind King of the Hill, earlier this summer. In a media release, Mainframe CEO Rick Mischel is quoted as saying, "With DPS’s innovative Global Animation Studio streamlining our production process and maximizing our productivity we can better execute our plan of developing and exploiting the best in proprietary products while maintaining the highest level of CGI animation for our own properties and our clients." Corus announces new home entertainment divisionCorus Entertainment Inc. has created a new home entertainment division for its production, distribution and consumer products subsidiary Nelvana Ltd. Cossette and m-Qube tie knot to offer mobile messaging servicesCossette Communication Group and m-Qube have teamed up to deliver wireless marketing and promotional programs in Canada. Cossette’s clients will now be able to use m-Qube to deliver two-way interactive messaging campaigns. The two companies will demonstrate such a campaign for the Canadian Marketing Association’s 2004 Digital Marketing Conference. New Media BC welcomes VIDFEST with NewMic receptionNew Media BC will host a reception to announce the Vancouver International Digital Festival (VIDFEST) on Sept. 30 at the New Media Innovation Centre from 3 p.m to 4 p.m. Strahl fights copyright extension proposals in House of CommonsChuck Strahl, the Alliance Party MP blindsided by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage early last summer over copyright term extensions proposed in the bill to merge the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada, is taking a second swing at the proposed act in the House (CNM, June 25/03). On Friday, Sept. 19, he introduced a motion in the lower chamber to strike the term extensions from Bill C-36.VFM wins travel web site deals to expand distribution networkVFM Interactive Inc., Toronto, has signed deals with 11HourVacations.com, AppleVacations.com, The Mark Travel Corp., MobilTravelGuide.com and WorldWeb.com to distribute client hotel and resort interactive content to each of those portals. The company produces streaming videos, virtual tours and other interactive content for client hotels using its own proprietary technology. Quebec loto solicits offers to create animation for next launchLoto-Québec is soliciting expressions of interest from companies offering animation services to work on its next CD-Rom-based lottery. The official process will begin with an advertisement in the Sept. 27 issues of La Presse and Le Soleil. Corrida.ca runs music contest online to find next Cdn starEworldmusic and Disques RSB are running their second edition of the Corrida.ca contest to vote for their favourite music artist. The contest will run for 18 weeks, until February, and invites the general public to cast its vote for an artist who will receive over $50,000 in prizes. More info at http://www.corrida.ca/. "Where’s the cuts?", asks CATAThe CATAAlliance made its annual presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to emphasize the need for tax cuts in the next federal budget. It seeks the abolition of corporate taxes, improvements to the government’s SR&ED tax credit and cuts to personal taxes. More information is available on the group’s web site.