The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Discussion at this year’s nextMEDIA festival in Prince Edward Island was focused on industry efforts to organize the sector to more effectively lobby the government and public for funding. The issue and timing are critical - by all accounts, producers made great strides in identifying key challenges at the conference. A public session to outline the group’s results was short on answers to many of the big questions, however. The industry knows the hurdles it must leap, but the bar seems very high still. Even hand-in-hand with sympathetic bureaucrats, new media producers face a tough slog in the halls of Parliament where politics, old loyalties and competing interests make navigating the way difficult. Professional lobbyists who have the ear of the most senior bureaucrats and politicians are important. Traditional content companies employ lobbyists by the basketful - the client lists of the Capital Hill Group, Earnescliffe, Hill & Knowlton, Global Public Communications and others are replete with the associations and companies in film, television, music and publishing. Not an issue relating to copyright or subsidies or market protection rears its head in Ottawa without a lobbyist ready to give big media’s point of view a plug. Lobbyists work behind the scenes, but in front of the cameras it’s also crucial to have a voice. Rick Mercer and Paul Gross are passionate, informed and articulate spokespeople who bring mass audience opinion to the table - making difficult political choices clear. It is time for creators of digital content to put their strengths to use by creating celebrity spokespeople who can bring the same demand for change to politicians, as is already the case when Paul Gross or Margaret Atwood advocate for their industries. My nearly three-year-old would likely jump off a cliff if the Save ‘Ums told him to. But the new media industry needs to create, now, advocates for the industry whose message resonates with voters. With a two-pronged attack of backroom lobbying and front-and-centre celebrity spokespeople, change can be made. But, it requires commitment, and it requires money. Now is the time to use both.