CNM People

Toronto-based marblemedia has made two new hires. Philippa King joins the new media/television shop as VP of business and legal affairs, and Cameron Mitchell joins as interactive producer. King has been working in the Canadian film and television industry for over 25 years, including for the Ontario Media Development Corp., Rhombus Media and Capri Films. Mitchell has eight years of experience in the broadcasting and interactive content development fields. He began his career at Alliance Atlantis as part of the team that launched History Television. Recently, he was responsible for the launch of the www.foodtv.ca web site.

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CNM Short Takes

Rejections, but no winners yet, for Inukshuk fund
Inukshuk Internet has begun sending rejection letters to unsuccessful applicants to its learning fund in Alberta and Ontario (CNM, Feb.4/05). The company notes to one unsuccessful production company that: most of the projects that were not recommended for funding were "unsuccessful for one or more of the following reasons:
"the project would not have resulted in the development of multimedia and feature-rich content or services;
"the project did not demonstrate or facilitate a transition from contemporary to emerging technologies;
"the project was not learner-focused or did not meet a clearly identifiable learner need;
"the project did not promote or facilitate a move towards use of broadband for delivery of learning programs or services; or,
"most of the funding requested would have gone to the acquisition of bandwidth, hardware, software or operational expenses instead of to the development of multimedia and feature-rich content, which was the focus of the 2004 Call for Proposals."
Asked when winners might be announced for the program, a spokesperson for Rogers Communications Inc., parent company to Inukshuk, writes to Canadian NEW MEDIA: "Once our agreements with all teams in a given province are in place, we will issue a public statement in that province. We expect to be in a position to begin to make these announcements before the end of May."

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Human rights group applauds Canadian approach on Internet hate sites

Despite a growing number of Canadian-based hate groups popping up on the web, mostly based on U.S. servers, the head of a prominent human rights group says this country’s approach to expression on the Internet may hold the greatest promise of dealing with the problem. Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, tells Canadian NEW MEDIA that Canadian ISPs and government are to be applauded for their efforts to counter the proliferation of anti-Semite, terrorist and other hate groups that threaten to break out of the fringe and spark a mainstream mass movement.

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Proposed co-production model for new media clears Bell Fund hurdle

A draft agreement between Canada and Australia for the co-production of new media content has won approval by the board of directors of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund. The agreement passed the board essentially unmodified from its original form, but with the proviso that it be used as a pilot only for the time being. The agreement was hammered out by a roundtable of Canadian new media producers, the Bell Fund, and Australian content organizations including the Australian Film Commission and Australian Broadcasting Corp. during a trade mission by producers here to explore the market potential Down Under (CNM, March 14/05).

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Government delay on education-related copyright laws angers both sides

Ottawa’s announcement that it will neither build an education exception into the Copyright Act nor mandate a blanket licence scheme to deal with material found on the Internet and used in classrooms has erupted into a war of words between copyright holders and education stakeholders. The two sides issued battling press releases on April 15 as education authorities held a media conference to plead for an immediate amendment to the act in their favour. Two different copyright organizations issued their own pleas in the immediate wake of the press event, urging the government to reform the law quickly to create a payment scheme for materials used by teachers.

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First Canadian commercial radio station launches podcasts as marketing tool

Podcasts – pre-packaged audio content delivered over digital networks and downloaded to MP3 devices – are commonly thought of as the new pirate or campus radio, but one of Canada’s most mainstream content providers is set to tackle the market. On April 21, Corus Radio announced that it will begin making available downloads of some of its popular spoken word programming. The radio giant hopes it can gain traction with advertising partners to creatively sponsor the content, including the use of non-intrusive product placement. Corus Radio president John Hayes says the company is taking "baby steps" into the uncharted territory, but that he has hopes the format will lead to partnerships around high-profile entertainment content.

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Telefilm quickly reverses controversial changes in face of producer pressure

Telefilm Canada took just a few days to reverse its position after releasing new application budget templates that new media producers say would have created an administrative nightmare in dealing with the Canada New Media Fund (CNMF). The funding body released on April 12 new budget templates to be used when applying for assistance that were no longer the same as those used for the past three years by the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, and producers were shocked to find that several categories of expenses were no longer included in new media budgets, including administrative expenses associated with projects – characterized by some as a dramatic reversal from years of film and television funding policy.

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CCR Update

CTV, U.S. Discovery Communications partner on HD specialty channel application
CTV Inc. and U.S.-based Discovery Communications have filed a joint licence application for a Category 2, 24-hour, high-definition specialty channel, Discovery HD Theatre. The partners say the programming lineup will be a mix of Discovery Channel’s most popular programs, original Canadian productions, live programming events and content from high-definition (HD) producers and broadcasters from around the world. If granted CRTC approval, the broadcasters say that the channel could launch before the end of 2005. CTV Inc. president Rick Brace said the joint venture supports the CRTC’s position on HD, encouraging Canadian services such as Discovery Channel to partner with foreign services. CTV has an existing relationship with Discovery Communications, with Discovery Channel Canada being 80% owned by CTV and 20% by Discovery Communications.   The Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA) has had an application before the CRTC for more than two years to get the U.S. channels HDNet and Discovery HD Theater permitted entry into Canada on a digital basis (CCR, Jan. 28/05). The commission has yet to rule on those applications, but Discovery Channel Canada’s Jodi Cook says the application to have Discovery HD Theater added to the list of foreign services eligible for carriage in Canada will be withdrawn, if this licence application for the joint partnership HD channel gets regulatory approval.

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