As might be expected, the conference put on by the former New Media Business Alliance earlier this month featured a number of sessions on all things financing-related.On the final day of Interactive Ontario's ICE 07 event, some serious insight - and an unintentional moment of light-hearted humour - was provided by Christopher Coppola, nephew of Academy Award-winning director Francis Ford Coppola and a film-maker and multimedia producer in his own right.Sharing the stage with Lifecapture Interactive senior executive producer James Millward and Australian Broadcasting Corp. head of development for new media and digital services Dan Fill, Coppola recounted how he came to be almost an artist-in-residence at Wal-Mart.The Bentonville AK-based retailer's in-store digital signage system, operated by San Francisco-based PRN Corp., constitutes the sixth-largest network in the world, Coppola noted. As such, tens of millions of viewers pass through its doors each week, constituting possibly the largest audience an artist could ever hope to garner. So, when Coppola was approached through his EARS XXI New Media Studios venture to provide a short high-definition-format film for use in Wal-Mart stores across the US, he readily accepted. His first piece for the retailer was a cinematic portrait of Wal-Mart greeter Shirley Gray.Though it's often vilified as the paragon of corporate ruthlessness, "the fact that would think ‘Let's bring art to Wal-Mart' is a good sign," Coppola said, adding he hopes his work might influence the Wal-Mart demographic and convince them of the importance of arts in society. To boot, the experience demonstrates that there's a lucrative world beyond broadcasting for cash-starved independent producers, Coppola said.Of course, the apportioning of rights for use of a work is central to any new media business discussion, and the dialog soon went in that direction. Fill told the audience that for the ABC, "the ideal situation for us would be to have all the rights for everything."The former VP of interactive at Toronto's Decode Entertainment Inc. noted the idea sounds like "a nightmare" from an indie producer's perspective, but added it can actually maximize a property's revenue: by sticking with one broadcaster and assigning it all rights to the work on all platforms, producers can leverage the broadcaster's reach and marketing clout, rather than dilute their brand's effectiveness by cutting multiple deals across a variety of platforms.Coppola, sitting to the right of Fill, seemed to grow incensed by the idea. "I fight that - the world has evolved to the point where if you're smart, you don't need ABC," he said. "You do have to be careful because they will own everything." However, the room erupted in laughter when it became apparent that Coppola had mixed up the Australian and American broadcasters bearing the same acronym.Panelists in a subsequent session - titled "Blogging for Dollars" in homage to vintage game shows - asserted that there is a commercial future for the Weblog industry, despite recent estimates by research firm Gartner Inc. pegging the number of abandoned blogs littering the Internet at more than 200 million.However, the experts agreed that one shouldn't approach blogging as a commercial venture, at least not initially. "Fundamentally, I think blogging is about passion," said Mark Evans, VP of operations at blogging network b5media. "The best bloggers are those who are totally into what they do." Prolific blogger and author Shel Israel added that if the passion is there, the audience - and the dollars through innovations such as Google Inc.'s AdSense network- may follow.But the panel - which also included San Francisco-based videoblogger Ryanne Hudson and Thornley Fallis Communications VP Michael O'Connor-Clarke - agreed that at present, business opportunities come about through awareness raised by blogging, not directly from it.Following on the heels of conversations about blogging and independent production came a session dealing with the cold, hard logic of raising capital. Most of the successful digital entrepreneurs on the "Finance 2.0" panel recounted how their first investments came from friends, family and their own bank account.QuickPlay Media Inc. chief creative officer and co-founder Raja Khanna warned would-be funding-seekers that, in the early stages of their company's development, "you don't want to take money from outside investors, because you'll be giving away the farm" in exchange for a relatively small amount of capital.That conservative attitude - raise only what you need - has governed QuickPlay's approach to finding outside investors since its inception, Khanna elaborated. For example, the firm's first venture capital investment was a $3.5-million Series A round several years ago. "Could we have used $10 million? Yeah," said Khanna. "But you have to tread the line and not give too much of the company away."And, added Bubbleshare founder Albert Lai - who recently sold his online photo-sharing company to Kaboose Inc. for $2.25 million - investors have high expectations of the companies they furnish with funding. "Many of the VCs aren't looking for a 10% or 20% return - they're looking for a 10x return," he noted.In addition to return on investment, venture capital partners also want a say in how the company is run: with most looking to exit their investments within six years, the pressure to take a company public or sell it can be immense. "That's where you hear all the horror stories about venture capital," Khanna said.