On March 16, the heads of Canada’s most active new media associations wrote to Canadian Heritage Minister Hélène Chalifour Scherrer to emphasize the contribution the sector makes to Canada’s economy. To bolster that contribution, the ad hoc coalition recommends that Telefilm Canada increase the funding to the Canada New Media Fund to levels recommended by David Ellis in his report last year (CNM, June 25/03). The letter also notes the state of crisis in new media funding in Canada. On behalf of the most prominent new media boards from across Canada: The New Media Business Alliance (NMBA), the Alliance NumériQC, New Media BC, the CFTPA, The Saskatchewan New Media agency and Tech PEI, this is a letter to strongly support recent recommendations made to you by both Richard Stursberg, executive director of Telefilm Canada and by the Canadian Culture Online Program (CCOP) National Advisory Committee in regards to allocation of funding to Telefilm Canada. Collectively our organizations represent over 2,000 Canadian companies employing thousands of workers in the interactive digital media culture and entertainment spaces across Canada. As representatives of the Canadian New Media industry, we know that one of the greatest challenges to independent producers is seed financing for the creation of original interactive content projects. We are encouraged and very grateful for the Government of Canada’s commitment to renew funding for the CCOP program for another term. We believe there is a significant and growing value in continuing to support the creation of interactive Canadian content via Canada’s highly talented and innovative independent new media companies, many of which have garnered international acclaim. Over the past three years the complexity and sophistication of interactive production has dramatically increased worldwide. This continues to increase the cost of production for Canadian producers to be able to create works that can compete for both our Canadian audiences as well as those in other places of the world. It is our recommendation that the CCOP increase its level of funding towards supporting the creation of high quality and original Canadian content through the Canadian New Media Fund. We wholeheartedly support Richard Stursberg’s recent request for an increase in funding for Telefilm Canada to administer on behalf of the Department. Telefilm has responded diligently to the needs of the New Media production community. Telefilm has also shown leadership in the variety of investments it has made through the Fund and continues to recognize and support projects across the ever-growing number of delivery platforms. It is the opinion of our organizations that Telefilm Canada has had to turn away approximately 85% of project applications resulting in fewer products that could have been made available to the Canadian public. Just over one year ago, the Department of Canadian Heritage, through Telefilm Canada, commissioned the independent research firm Omnia Communications to conduct a study on the issues affecting the availability and market acceptance of Canadian New Media products. The notable result of this research was the dramatic recommendation that the CNMF be immediately increased to $36 million in order to create an economically viable and competitive New Media industry in Canada. Since that time other key sources of interactive media financing such as the Canada-TELUS e-Learning Fund has been eliminated and the Bell Broadcast and New Media fund has been drastically cut, severely affecting Canadian new media companies. We urge the Minister to review the funding allocated to the CCOP and consider directing a significantly greater proportion of funds towards the creation of original interactive content to assist with creating original Canadian content creations. Now, more than ever, it is important to make a substantial investment in the future of our industry. Yours truly, (signed) Ian Kelso, president New Media Business Alliance;Lynda Brown, executive director New Media BC;Susanne Guévremont, president Alliance NumériQC;Dan Fill and Michael McGuigan, CFTPA New Media Committee; Deborah Black, president Saskatchewan New Media Developers’ Association;and, D. Scot MacDonald, director, investment division Technology PEICanadian NEW MEDIA invites readers’ submissions on topical issues and events. Newsmakers columns should be between 600-800 words, and may be sent to editor Jeff Leiper, email@example.com. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. Feedback on what you read in Canadian NEW MEDIA is always welcome. Use the "Comment on this story" link at the top of this page to respond to stories, or write to the editor directly to let us know what you think.