The past year has been a challenging one in many regards. A massive cut to the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund has dominated industry discussion since the summer, and there are still no announcements from Telefilm Canada about how that funding avenue will be saved from the cutting block. It’s impossible to tell yet how the new federal government under Prime Minister Paul Martin will approach digital content, and so it seems that there is much that is uncertain in 2004. Yet, 2003 remains a landmark year for the young new media industry in this country, with the producers roundtable organized by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association at the nextMEDIA festival in Charlottetown a key event. Leading up to that October meeting, companies such as Snap Media, Smiley Guys Studios, marblemedia, Decode Entertainment and Collideascope had spent a busy year taking advantage of what funding avenues remain to create new convergence products that have been key in putting Canadian content online. When those companies met in Charlottetown, it was as an industry that is far more mature than it often makes itself out to be.Canadian NEW MEDIA has been covering this industry since 1998, and the changes we’ve seen have been huge. Where in the latter part of the 1990s, we were writing about venture capital and a raft of companies that were set to replace television and traditional music models, in 2003 we saw the industry settle into a comfortable niche as a corrolary to other entertainment and cultural media. We have also very closely followed the legal and legislative developments in the digital sphere. At times, those stories can be difficult to approach. They can be dry, arcane, and dominated by big-money companies that seem to be from another planet when compared to the small producers who form the focus of this publication. But, the online space has been shaped very meaningfully by debates over copyright. We’re pleased to say that CNM has recognized the role of copyright in creating the environment in which content creation companies work, and that we will continue to do so in a timely and insightful way. For our final issue of 2003, we wanted to focus on the many positive developments we saw take place in the year, and the many reasons for encouragement that all is not as bad as it seems. Thank you to those individuals who took the time to share their thoughts with us. The issue has shaped up as a cross-section of perspectives from some of the most influential players in new media in this country. We hope you enjoy reading these, and that you have a very happy holiday season with those you love. All the best in 2004.Adam Froman,Delvinia Interactive Inc.Good news from Delvinia Interactive, one of Toronto’s long-standing digital marketing and applied research agencies! We had a prosperous 2003 and we are not the only ones! For the past five years, we have conducted numerous studies into the health and needs of the new media industry. Preliminary findings from our recent Interactive Media Producers’ Survey indicated that close to 70% of about half of Canada’s new media companies are currently profitable and their revenues have increased by 57% since last year. While engaged in service work and managing through the corporate recovery of companies purchasing interactive services, Delvinia continued to invest in new applied research projects in order to demonstrate innovative capabilities of new media. In particular, we were privileged to be approved for funding for two exciting applied research initiatives. While one project is still in development, the other, which was partially funded by CANARIE Inc., received high acclaim across Canada. The project focused on Internet voting in Canada and broadband use to deliver communications about a municipal service. In fact, this project, for which we partnered with the Town of Markham, was the highlight of the year for Delvinia because our Digital Marketing division was also awarded the integrated communications budget to implement the Town of Markham’s Voter Outreach Program. This marked the first time the municipality had outsourced this service. The communications campaign we developed and implemented for Markham was effective in helping increase voter turnout at advance polls by 300%. As a result, Delvinia was approached by ES&S, a world leader in voting technology, to develop a prototype for what could be an industry standard for voter education using broadband technology and integrated communications tactics. The project’s research findings will be released in March 2004 and will provide insight into the potential of Internet voting as Canada moves toward e-democracy as well as applying broadband technology in e-government. While the developments and trends from this year are encouraging, I estimate some challenges the industry will face in 2004 will be the continued lengthy client decision cycles, limited client budgets and accessibility to financing. If we persist to invest in our own innovative projects while corporate recovery carries on, we should see some real growth. As long as we can continue to show measurable benefits, clients and funding agencies will be able to justify further investment in new media projects and the industry as a whole.Mark Hyland,Director of Broadband and Digital Services, CBC TelevisionI think 2003 was the year that saw video-on-demand and interactive TV services start to get some real traction in Canada. Our VoD service, CBC on Demand, started up with Rogers Cable early in the year, and a number of other broadcasters now have content up on that service. Rogers also has some very cool new PVR boxes that will probably attract a lot of viewers. On the interactive TV side, CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Plus launched on December 20, 2003 on Bell ExpressVu. In my view, it puts the NHL in the lead as far as interactive sports go in North America. I hope 2003 will be seen as the year that consumers really started using these services, and that 2004 brings lots more cool new stuff.Ted Bairstow,Canadian Culture Program OnlineSigns of Success for Canadian New MediaFor me, the most encouraging sign of the maturity and success of the Canadian new media industry was Canada’s showing in the newly created World Summit Awards. Out of the projects nominated for these Awards from more than 130 countries, 40 were selected for showcasing as the world’s best at the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva on December 10, 2003. Of these 40, four were from Canada. The awards program was hosted by Peter Bruck of Austria and Canadian Roma Khanna of CHUM Interactive. The Canadian companies and projects showcased were Art2Life by Ecentric Arts (e-culture), AbeBooks.com by AbeBooks (e-business), the Mia Series by Kutoka Interactive (e-learning), and Science Matrix/Cell Biology by Digital Frog (e-science).Through the joint sponsorship of Industry Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Canadian Culture Online Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada’s World Summit Award winners for the World’s Best in e-content were able to showcase their work at the Canada Pavilion at the ICT for Development Platform and attend the awards ceremony.Sam Punnett New Media is Dead, Long Live New MediaTimes being what they have been, people (and policy makers) might have the idea that producers of new media wares are a bit like farmers in that it’s a rare thing to hear us go on about how great our business conditions are. But Jeff has asked me to provide something upbeat about 2003 so I’m not going to go on about the Ontario DM tax credit or the cutback to the Bell Fund compliments of the CRTC, or the launch of (Government) culture.ca or the implosion of Smart Toronto. And I can do this because fundamentally Canadian NM folk like me are beer glass "half-full" types of people. If we weren’t we might be looking at learning Punjabi and relocating about now. This year has seen a restrained but somewhat renewed interest in Internet marketing and a tentative recognition with a few clients of the importance of metrics. There is a continued enthusiasm for production related to integration activities involving web enabled technologies. There have been positive developments in interactive cellular platform services (like games, SMS & shortcodes), IP telephony, legal digital music downloads, copyright related to digital archiving, I’ve even seen some iTV initiatives of all things! Games guys are looking good with a number of developments, not the least of which was Electronic Arts opening a second Canadian studio in Montreal. There have been a lot of developments in technology and behaviour related to interactive media use, which tend to spur an interest in research. There are many new opportunities for smart development directed at increasingly sophisticated audiences/clients for companies that know how to listen and create business models. All in all you who have survived (you know who you are) should be experiencing a guarded upswing in business through 2004. Its evolution and the next epoch is underway. "Mutate or die", as the saying goes. Smiling helps, and so does the first half of that "half-full" glass.Dan Fill,Decode Entertainment2003 was a year of production, distribution, R&D and lobbying. On the TV production side, Decode remained strong with an impressive slate of seven series - some animation, some live and one with both - The Blobheads. On the interactive production side, for the fourth year in a row we launched high-profile interactive content related to our television shows (a real highlight for us was the The Save Ums Small Is Powerful Games produced entirely with 3D software for disk and web distribution). We employed Mind Avenue’s AXEL Player software – Mind Avenue was a solid partner to work with on 3D development. On the distribution side, the appetite for licensing web content increased. We were able to pre-sell content to some broadcasters’ sites while others acquired completed content, overall broadcaster investment was up. On the development side we expanded into new areas in 2003. We dabbled: in 3D web production, graphical wireless activities were created, interactive television development occurred and we began stand alone console and disk-based game development. At the markets I felt an excitement of rebuilding in the new media industry creatively and financially in U.S. post dotcom meltdown. Now the question is will the funding and tax credits be there for Canadian companies to stay in the game in the years ahead. I would hope the lobbying effort of the new media community can bring about investments in 2004 and pave the way for new and exciting opportunities next year.Steven Comeau,Collideascope Digital EntertainmentWell, we laughed, we cried, we wrote a book. 2003 was another year that separated the sane (who left new media to find real work) from the insane (those of us who still are in this). Let’s see.... The Bell fund got cut thanks to the CRTC proving again that new media is TV’s bitch in the grand Canadian cultural scheme of things.... Telefilm did make some very positive changes in how it works with new media.... The giant flushing noise generated by culture.ca was/is hard to ignore... The nextMEDIA festival was surprisingly cool and useful... CTV used Groundbreaker funds to finance Canadian Idol... The CFTPA actually got off its new media ass and did stuff... IMAT fizzled away, NMBA ramped up.... AOL started doing business with independent producers... Collideascope, like a cockroach after the bomb is still here, still proving people wrong.... More in 2004...Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg,marblemediaIn our opinion, 2003 was another year of firsts for the Canadian new media industry. With cuts being the focus later in the year, it was easy to forget that this year saw Canadian new media companies produce both the world’s first Sit-dot-com in Odd Job Jack, and the first television series and web site in American Sign Language in deafplanet.com. On top of this, we saw the first incarnation of nextMedia, and what seems to be a strong relationship between Tech PEI and the Banff Television Foundation in creating a showcase and meeting place for our industry. The OMDC introduced Pioneering Content, a new funding source that answers a long overdue call for innovation through partnerships. Finally, with the goal of creating the first national alliance for Canadian new media producers now a hot topic of discussion, and the continuing growth of the New Media Business Alliance (NMBA) here in Ontario, we see promise that 2004 will be another year of encouraging firsts for our industry. With these successes in mind, we wish everyone all the best in 2004.Andra Sheffer,Bell Broadcast and New Media FundBell Broadcast and New Media Fund – Good News from 2003!2003 was a record year for the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund – more projects funded than in any previous year (29 in production, 14 in development), more money invested in the industry (nearly $6.4 M) and exciting new initiatives designed to support the growth of the new media industry. With an emphasis on excellence, Bell-funded projects have been winning acclaim around the world, and Gemini and Prix Gémeaux Best Website awards at home for degrassi.tv and extremis.tv. Responding to industry needs, the Bell Fund increased its support of new media projects to up to 75% of budgets, updated its mandate and policies to encourage creative and experimental opportunities for the industry, developed closer ties with broadcasters, and undertook research, promotion and professional development activities. With so many achievements to celebrate, the Bell Fund is ending the year with a campaign to ensure that the success story about a unique private fund that made Canadian producers leaders in the production of rich digital content associated with television programming, is spread far and wide. Diane Williamson,Digital WizardsAt Digital Wizards we’ll remember 2003 as a busy and positive year. We launched the www.JunoBeach.org, Canada in World War II web site to coincide with the opening of the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy. It was a thrill to be at the opening with my father, who landed on that beach 59 years before. In the summer we then jumped into production on the Juno Beach book and CD with the support of the new OMDC Pioneering Content fund. The book/CD now in stores and schools is doing very well. In February I attended my first trade mission to France and Germany where I met Robin Poncia of Etraffic Solutions, and our two companies are now completing CanExplore, a learning object repository for the education market. 2003 also saw Digital Wizards add to our "outdoor Canada" web sites with the launch of www.GreatCanadianLakes.com, www.NaturalTourist.com and we added 13 more rivers to our popular www.GreatCanadianRivers.com Now, as the year comes to a close we learned that our Park Wardens proposal for funding was accepted by the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, so in January we will begin working on our first "immersive theatre title" in association with Immersion Studios.Earl Hong Tai,Telefilm CanadaNew Media Highlights 2003Canadians continue to be leaders in the world in the creation of superior new media content. Telefilm Canada is extremely proud to have been supporting that creativity since 1996. The renewal of the Canada New Media Fund has been our focus this year. Together with the industry, we have been working to renew and improve the Fund. I personally sit on the Content Sub-Committee of the Canadian Culture Online Program (CCOP), chaired by Senator Laurier L. LaPierre, and contribute to the working knowledge of that group. Richard Stursberg, Telefilm’s Executive Director, made a major presentation to the CCOP Advisory Board in April to highlight the challenges and success stories that characterize the new media industry. • Efforts to align client services with industry needs over this past year include: an industry consultation in June; a commissioned survey from Omnia Communications Inc. entitled Making New Media Work for Canadians; a revision of our guidelines to provide for a simpler, more streamlined application process; and contracting with Media Metrix, the Internet audience measurement service to provide market intelligence to our client base. • In June we also issued our three-year plan – Building Audiences For Canadian Cultural Products: Corporate Plan 2003-2004 to 2005-2006. There we identified our primary goal of building audiences and our two secondary goals of building capacity and building a new Telefilm. Our secondary objectives underline our primary goal by helping to support our industry partners to succeed, and by recreating ourselves as a more efficient, more client-oriented and more commercially sophisticated organization. • Through the Canada New Media Fund we have supported high-quality projects with significant audience potential from every region of the country. We have also been very pleased to sponsor events such as the Canadian New Media Awards, the nextMEDIA Festival, INIS - Formation nouveaux médias 2003-2004, as well as mentorship and workshop programming at the Banff New Media Institute through the sectoral awareness portion of the fund.Below are just some of the Telefilm-invested projects garnering significant sales, critical acclaim and winning awards in Canada and around the world: • Buddy Brush and the Painted Playhouse, Buddy Brush and the Painted Circus and Buddy Brush and the Painted Sea are three CD-ROM titles produced by Ideas That Play (ITP) Entertainment Inc. of Vancouver, BC. These CD-ROMs introduce children (aged 2 to 5 yrs) to computer-based play. Painted Playhouse has sold over 40,000 units in Canada. Developed without written or spoken language, the CD-ROMs have been sold to over 13 countries and have won numerous awards, including Games Industry News’ Top Educational Software of the Year Award for 2003. • deafplanet.com is a cross-platform web, wireless and television destination for both deaf and hearing children aged 8-12 years old. deafplanet.com is the first convergent property for the hearing-impaired demographic created entirely in American Sign Language (ASL) and supported in English. This innovative product made its debut in July 2003 at the World Congress of the Deaf in Montreal. deafplanet.com will soon increase its accessibility to all hearing-impaired Canadians when it becomes a bilingual site, by including Langue des Signes Quebecoises (LSQ) for content translated into French. The project has received rave reviews and has been featured in articles in Maclean’s Magazine, Marketing Magazine, the Toronto Star, on CTV News’ Webmania! and Star TV. • degrassi.tv is a web site that fully integrates the television and on-line entertainment experience on the fictional narrative level. The web site, which develops stories simultaneously with its convergent television show, was recognized as the Most Innovative Web Site at last year’s 17th Gemini Awards. The site had more than 145,000 registered users in the first year. • Juno Beach Centre Virtual Museum, a web site dedicated to telling the stories of the war effort and contribution of all Canadians in WWII, both on the front and at home. It won the multimedia award at the 2003 Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival. • Mia’s Adventures is a computer learning game for children aged 5-11. It features a unique navigation engine that gives the player full control over the main character, Mia, who literally follows the mouse, going at the speed and in the direction the player chooses. Since 1998, titles from Mia’s Adventures have garnered wide recognition and over 70 national and international awards for Kutoka. • Mirror Image (aka Cybercops), created by Livewires Design of Vancouver, is an online interactive video drama targeted at teenagers 13-15 years old, which warns about predators who use instant messaging to lure girls into sexual encounters. To date, over 10,000 copies of the game have been shipped across Canada and an additional 10,000 have been sold to the U.S., Britain, the Philippines and Singapore. The Missing project has received the Computerworld Smithsonian Laureate Award in Education & Academia and the CANARIE IWAY Award. • Odd Job Jack, the world’s first animated situation comedy, in which visitors enter Jack’s wacky world and find out for themselves what a challenge it is to hold down a job. Staring Don McKellar and featuring the voices of Dave Foley, Gary Farmer and Matthew Ferguson, the animated series and web site fills the gap between television and the Internet with all-new content premiers on both platforms each week. • Visez.ca, by Groupe ECP (Entreprises de Création Panacom inc.), is an innovative, dynamic and user-friendly web site that allows teens and adults to pursue the experience started in the popular TV show Visez dans le mille!, which was broadcast over 100 times in 2003 on channels TVA and TFO. • Ollieland, from Collideascope Entertainment, is a bilingual web site featuring a combination of activities, and online toys, based on the interactive television show and is receiving 1,090 hits per day from the under-7 set who are spending an average of over eight minutes per visit. It’s been a year of challenging, satisfying work enriched by our partnerships with industry and the Department of Canadian Heritage. I wholeheartedly look forward to more success in 2004.Kirstin Simmons,New Media BCNew media is alive and well in British Columbia. This past year we surveyed more than 250 of the nearly 700 companies in the province’s new media industry. Combined annual revenues for this sector are in excess of $1 billion. Three-quarters of the companies are currently exporting. And, more than 80% indicated that their core business involves the development of digital content. In the fall we announced our intention to host the first annual Vancouver International Digital Festival (VIDFEST) next summer and have already received a huge response. We’ve found our information on nearly 50 sites around the world and have received emails and submissions from emerging digital filmmakers and designers from places such as Australia, Greece and India. And, we still have yet to begin marketing. New Media BC has also experienced growth. We currently have five full-time staff and 135 member companies. And, we recently moved into new, larger office space thanks to support from BC Film.Catherine Allman,hawkestone communications • public affairsIt strikes me this was a recovery year for those working in digital media. Thinking of the companies now lonely in Toronto’s Spadina Bus district: those that have survived have done so without much fanfare. They’ve retained clients and forged new relationships on the basis of excellent work. ecentricarts being one that comes to mind. Overall, the digital sector appears to be on the upswing. While small- to medium-size shops dominate the landscape, the large media conglomerates are increasingly moving toward more sustainable subscription content à la CanWest’s Canada.com. For Canadians, the digital transformation has been driving their entertainment agenda. The story at the top of arts and entertainment news this year has been how we get our music and how we’ll get it in the future. We saw the launch of Canada’s first legitimate music download service, Puretracks.com. There’ll be more arriving soon. (Cross your fingers Mac users. If we’re really good, maybe Santa will bring us an iTunes Music Store). In other areas of leisure, Canadians are buying and using digital cameras, planning their vacations online, and buying tickets from movies to sporting events without leaving the house. Kids are consuming more than one medium simultaneously. In all of this it seems to be creators, entrepreneurs and Canadian consumers shaping our digital future. One has to wonder what Ottawa decision makers are doing to create new policy and program models to meet the digital media and content industries’ future needs. Mark Hand,Snap MediaInteractive media in Canada continued to forge ahead cautiously this year. Despite concerns about the lack of government support commitments, interactive producers remained optimistic about the future of their media. It’s important to remember that we’re still experiencing the growth pains of this nascent industry; if 1999 saw us as stumbling around as awkward toddlers, it’s safe to say that looking ahead to 2004 we’re about ready to come of age. For Snap Media, 2003 began with our president, Raja Khanna, being named Producer of the Year at the Canadian New Media Awards, and closed with our Degrassi.tv project winning the first ever Gemini Award for Best Interactive. In between, we launched two new community web sites using our TV Syndication Engine for Strip Search and Alienated, introduced our SnapSITE 1.1 turnkey package – a flexible platform for dynamic TV show and production company websites – as well as continuing our usual interactive service work for partners and clients. This included a major partnership with QuickPlay Media for bringing streaming video to mobile devices, and another with GalaFilm and Mentorn that beat out 27 other teams to win Discovery Canada’s multi-million dollar Race to Mars contract, the largest interactive television event ever conceived. In addition to the Race to Mars project, next year Snap Media looks forward to building a large-scale community web site for MuchMusic, as well as a mass market online multiplayer computer game. We will also launch new mobile game and interactive DVD divisions featuring original Snap Media productions. We are indeed ready to take our seat at the grownup table alongside the producers of traditional media, and help make Canada the world leader in innovative cultural products.Jonas Diamond,Smiley Guys StudiosSince first joining forces at the Canadian Film Centre’s New Media Design program, the Smiley Guys have been committed to producing Odd Job Jack. In 2003, with the incredible support of the Bell Fund, Canada New Media Fund and The Comedy Network, Smiley Guy Studios successfully launched Odd Job Jack across Canada. In every episode of this animated series, JACK RYDER (voiced by Don McKellar) is given a new job (mortician, security guard, hamster wrangler…), each introducing him to an array of interesting characters, unique experiences, and different perspectives on the Canadian working world. Odd Job Jack is also the world’s first "sit.com" - a situation comedy with an interactive edge. Each TV episode of Odd Job Jack has an interactive web component based on Jack’s job of the week, that enables the viewer to play Jack’s job online on The Comedy Network’s web site. Odd Job Jack targets the 18-34 year old demographic and is presented by Molson Canadian. The sponsorship extends to the online component, where Molson sponsors the games and high-score module. Odd Job Jack received two Gemini nominations in 2003 for Best Writing and was a finalist in the Most Popular Website category. Odd Job Jack also placed second behind Nike in the Canadian Digital Marketing Awards for Best Integrated Marketing Campaign for its cross-platform promotion of Molson. Odd Job Jack was also selected as the Best Convergent Media Project of 2003 by the Banff New Media Institute’s HorizonZero.Keith Durrant,ecentricarts2004 wishes go out to: Our team of ecentricartisans - who do fabulous work day in and day out. All of our clients who give us the opportunity to work on amazing projects. The competitors that we like to hang with (you know who you are!). PCH, Bell Fund, OMDC and all the other funding bodies and supporters of our nascent industry. The venerable www.Art2Life.ca for being recognized as world class. 2004 prayers required for: A cohesive national industry association, that somehow manages to turn a cacophony into a melody. A national not-for-profit non-partisan organization, whose mission is to celebrate excellence on an annual basis in the new media sector. More press coverage for our many world class Canadian new media producers. We all work so hard, sometimes for so little. External validation can be a reward unto itself.Pascale Cléroux,Alliance numériQCThe games sector has certainly been the highlight of 2003, and Alliance numeriQC actions has significatly contributed to its growth: - Contribution of Alliance numériQC in bringing Electronic Arts to Montreal confirming Montreal, as a key metropolis for creation and development for the gaming industry. - Two new agreements have been signed with international associations: Lyon Game and Digital Content. - A first Quebec and Canada, Positioning Analysis of Quebec Interactive Games Industry study. - A world class Montreal Game Summit is to be realized in November 2004. Other sectors of the industry have also been structured by Alliance numeriQC: - The e-learning sector is getting an action plan. - Representations have been made to lobby in favour of digital content within the education network. - A new Internet applications and services group has been formed to better structure these sectors of the industry.  Following the various cuts in government and national funds agencies, our first goal will be to enhance the level of financing available for our various sectors. Our priorities will be on getting the tax credit for interactive production, and increase investments in R&D for new technology and competitiveness of the industry.