Wednesday, June 1, 2005  CAB opposes re-structuring of small market fundThe Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) has responded to a letter sent by a group of independent production funds to the CRTC asking the regulator to revisit the funding formula for the Small Market Local Programming Fund (CNM, May 13/05). In May, the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, Shaw Rocket Fund, Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund and the Harold Greenberg fund wrote to the commission noting that the small market fund had taken in more money than the commission had said would be needed to support programming in small markets, and asked the regulator to change the way the fund brought in revenue from the current 0.4% of revenues from Bell ExpressVu and Star Choice. On May 31, the CAB responded, noting that reworking the formula is impossible unless a licence amendment is sought by the DTH companies. Even if it were possible, the CAB notes in its letter, the amount of money going into the small market fund should be increased, not decreased. The CAB writes: “Equally importantly, however, the CAB takes great exception to the implicit assumption in the Funds’ letter that the four independent funds participating in this request are somehow more worthy recipients of funding than is the provision of local programming in smaller markets across the country.”It concludes, “Finally, the CAB cannot overstate the importance of the small market fund to the television broadcasters who benefit from it. In some markets it has allowed television stations to maintain a level of local programming that could otherwise not be justified; in other markets it has given the television broadcaster the means to improve the quality of its locally produced programming; in still others it has provided the broadcaster with the resources to extend its local presence. In all cases, local viewers have directly benefited.”The decision in 2003 to divert some of the money earmarked for content production away from the independent production funds and into the small market fund has resulted, estimates Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund executive director Andra Sheffer, in a reduction by half of the number of convergent new media/broadcast projects it has been able to support.Canadian New Media Award winners announcedThe fifth annual Canadian New Media Awards were presented in Toronto on May 30, and 19 finalists walked away with hardware. The winners were selected from among 54 finalists. They are as follows: Excellence in Gaming: Swordfish - Blister Entertainment Inc. Excellence in Children’s: Arctic Mission - NDi Media Excellence in Learning: Professionalism and Ethics Simulation - Zapdramatic Excellence in News, Information: How was School Today? - cbc.ca Manitoba Excellence in Culture, Lifestyle Arts: madeinMtl.com - Bluesponge & Locomotion Excellence in Cross Platform: ReGenesis Extended Reality - Xenophile Excellence in iTV: Hockey Night in Canada Plus - cbc.ca/sports and Bell Express Vu Most Promising New Company of the Year: QuickPlay Media Lifetime Achievement: Don Mattrick, President Worldwide Studios, Electronic Arts Industry Advocate of the Year: Lynda Brown, Executive Director, NewMedia BC Company of the Year: Blast Radius Educator of the Year: Ron Burnett, President, Emily Carr Institute Producer of the Year: Brooke Burgess, Producer/Director, Budget Monks Productions Graduate of the Year: Evan Jones, Associate Producer/Creative Director, Xenophile Media Designer of the Year: Richard Vincent, CEO and Creative Director, KUTOKA INTERACTIVE Programmer of the Year: Sylvain Morel, Chef de la technologie, Beenox Wired Woman Society & Electronic Arts Canada – Game Pioneer: Heli Tuomi, Vice-President Production, I-IMMERSION Wired Woman Society – Woman of Vision: Tanya Claessens, President, KUTOKA INTERACTIVE Special Recognition Award: Senator Laurier LaPierre Flash and Splash on wayThe Flash ’N Splash conference presented by the Banff New Media Institute’s Accelerator workshop series will be held this year July 24-27 in Banff. The workshop is geared toward intermediate and advanced Flash artists and developers. Topics to be covered this year include animation, scripting, interactivity and a look at the future of Flash. Further information is available at http://www.banffcentre.ca.WIPO policy forum open onlineThe World Intellectual Property Organization is hosting an online policy forum on intellectual property in the information society. The forum is designed to encourage debate about a number of themes including the relationship between the intellectual property system and the information society, and issues of freedom of information and creativity, development goals, cultural diversity, and emerging opportunities and challenges for use of intellectual property in the digital environment.ExtendMedia sees lossExtendMedia Inc., Toronto, noted in financial statements released May 17 that it lost $735,784 on revenues of $908,668 for the three months ended March 31, 2005. Revenues were up sharply from the same period in 2004 when the company recorded $653,856 on the top line, for a net loss in that quarter of $418,528. Cost of marketing and selling was up sharply in the quarter, rising from $117,015 during the same period in 2004 to $377,663 in 2005. The company also recorded general and administrative costs in the quarter of $490,348, up significantly from 2004 when it spent $392,870. Its financial results note that on April 26, the company obtained a bridge loan of $350,000, of which $250,000 was provided by MWI & Partners, one of its chief shareholders, $50,000 from CEO and president Keith Kocho, and $50,000 from a director in the form of promissory notes.40,000 sign up for MTS TV in WinnipegManitoba Telecom (MTS) installed its 40,000th TV customer in Winnipeg this month, and the number continues to grow, say company officials. “Not only have we been expanding MTS TV to more neighbourhoods in Winnipeg, we continue to beef-up our amazing service by offering additional features, great new channels, and new theme packages all at attractive prices customers crave,” said MTS (Manitoba) president Cheryl Barker in a media release. The new features include four more theme packages, TV Call Display that allows viewers to see who is calling through a display on the TV screen, and interactive weather services. MTS also announced that it would soon launch video-on-demand (VOD).