In late February, Canadian NEW MEDIA sat down with the head of digital media at the Australian Film Television and Radio School to get his perspective on the opportunities for Canadian digital content producers. The following is an edited excerpt from that discussion in which Giles highlights the opportunities in ITV and mobile content. CNM: The Canadian producers have been quite struck by the level of digital talent here. Peter Giles: It’s still got problems in that it hasn’t recovered from the dot com crash totally, but there seems to be a wave of momentum at the moment. Particularly with interactive TV services. Foxtel, which is the main subscription television company, has just introduced interactive television services. So, there’s actually a need to start producing work. And, I think a lot of the free-to-airs will also be introducing interactive TV because digital services are in place. CNM: The promise of digital TV is that it will increase ARPUs and reduce churn. It’s always been a problem here with subscription television to get a big enough uptake. They’ve always been in financial problems. They’ve invested a lot of money and they haven’t made a profit yet. So, they made a bigger investment and they’re hoping they’re going to get bigger payback. It seems to be working so far. CNM: Who is hiring your graduates? I guess they mainly work for visual effects and animation and the broadcast industries. We’ve only recently introduced an interactive strand. But, we’re a post-graduate program, so we have very few students. We have 10 students in total that are part of the department. It’s about 120 students total across the school. It’s like a professional production model. We’re getting the future producers and directors and creatives used to working with digital practitioners. It’s a really important part of what we want to do. The biggest company in Australia is Animal Logic. I’d say probably most of them will go there or another one, Rising Sun, or else they’d go into television, broadcast design. Our first interactive student was the head experience designer at 3. So, he designed a lot of how all of 3’s 3G mobile services would work by delivering video and games and so on. CNM: 3G mobile services seem to be well ahead of where they are in Canada. I think so. There seems to be deals being done at the moment to deliver content to those media. There have already been quite a few animations produced for (3G carrier) 3 as well. CNM: Canadian producers are looking for business opportunities here. It sounds like there is a need for content, then, for mobile networks that Canadians might be able to tap into? Yes. A lot of the deals being done are for re-purposing content. It’s something quite difficult to do, because youw ould have to go in and customize a fair bit. It’s only going to be certain kinds because the screen is so small. CNM: Sounds like there’s a good opportunty, perhaps, to be able to exploit an opportunity that they might not have in Canada with these mobile networks.  It’s quite hot here at the moment. Just because the mobile services are so widely used. SMS is such a proven kind of financial thing, as well, for, like Big Brother. The revenue they make just from all the SMS voting is enormous. It’s a simliar model with interactive television as well, that you pay every time you vote or whatever.