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Sessions for nextMEDIA in Banff took place over the course of 2 full days at the Banff Springs Hotel. For a complete look at the schedule, check here.
The following are my notes, roughly jotted as things rolled along, on a few of the sessions:

nextMEDIA 2007

Keynote: Joanne Drake Earl, Current TV

Current is a global television network that gives you, the user, the opportunity to create and influence what airs on TV – citizen journalism participatory news.

  • It’s hard to make money on the internet (ain’t that the truth)
  • Current TV have a strong online business based on their TV presence – their TV success has fueled and funded their experiments online
  • Current TV have asked themselves how to infuse their programming with user generated content and achieve participation on every level for their entire audience
  • Two days after the New Orleans catastrophe, Current TV provided coverage before any national networks were on the scene
  • Lessons learned: have a participation model, give content providers incentive up front, producers need direction
  • Social media can be a healthy business
  • Engage with a very active audience – safe, legal, high quality
  • Sponsors want to engage and they can organically with their target audience of male 18-34 years, the early adopters and influencers – this audience helps them create and produce quality content that the sponsors will want to purchase
  • They Want Your Content!!

Research Report: New Media Business Exploration Study
Earlier this year, the Manitoba Interactive Digital Media Association engaged Kisquared to undertake a landmark study of the new media business model. Vaughn Smith took a look at 5 new media companies in Canada, his take simply being: “I am a small new media company, looking for money”. Here are a few of his thoughts:
(note: He stated that it was extremely difficult to reach companies who were willing to participate in the research)

  • Online distribution has changed marketing, sales and distribution models
  • When these small companies open their doors for business, they have a limited or zero knowledge about the funding that is available
  • There is a communication breakdown between new media companies and the funding associations
  • 79% are unaware of private funding
  • 38% new media companies have invalid URLs, outdated info, tough to navigate
  • 56% projects are cancelled over the last year due to lack of funding
  • There must be an improvement on the visibility of the government and private sectors that are currently engaged in new media funding
  • Companies should actively pursue reasearch and development funding
  • We need to bridge educational and new media associations

nextMEDIA 2007

The Complexity of Interactive Production, Producing and Profiting From Digital Content in Canada and Abroad
Speakers:
Matthew Hornburg, marblemedia
Charles Zamaria, Bell Fund, Ryerson
David U.K., heavy.com
Sabrina Geremia, Google Canada
Moderator: Michael Kasprow, Trapeze Media

  • To grow your audience online, the first step is to find your audience, get your eyeballs
  • Monetize the opportunity
  • Canada is blessed with having the most progressive broadcasters in the world (a rebuttal to this point was that our broadcasters are not near as aggressive as they could be and that we are far behind)
  • It’s important to not be too precious about the protection of your brand online
  • The user will play with your brand to a certain extent – be prepared for this. This is not a bad thing, as, ideally, it’s about developing a brand. The more a brand is out there, the better.
  • A great example of one of the most successful models to date is marblemedia: they hold the rights to their content, they have the opportunity to exploit the digital and TV realms
  • Fact: The Bell Fund cannot provide funding to a digital project unless it has a TV base – how can we change this? LOBBY THE CRTC TO CHANGE
  • Is TV dying? There is a weakening, but if anything, the internet moving into the living room is driving and inspiring people to go back to TV (hmmmm…?)
  • TV is supplemented by other mediums (internet) – TV is shifting, transforming, evolving
  • There is one problem: there is not enough content online for the appetite… (yet)
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CNMA 2007 Our RideI arrived this morning into Toronto just after 6am (wow, red eyes are certainly to be desired), grabbed an easy cab ride into town, checked into a posh, comfortable hotel next to Massey Hall in the midst of all the Young Street action in the downtown core, and found light jazz wooing me into the room from the corner, crisp, white bed sheets turned down, enough space to cleanly execute a cartwheel across the floor and wifi! Exhausted from my fabulous flight, I slept, out like a light.

Good start.

Enough of the fluffy stuff – here’s where the ‘what’s happening here is important’ bit is best illustrated. This afternoon, all of the finalists of this year’s CNMA gathered at the Canadian Film Centre for a BBQ. This welcoming afternoon provided an informal time for the finalists to get to know one another. Adam Froman and Ana Sorreno both had a few casual, friendly, welcoming words to say. But what they said is the good part: this award show is 100% about celebrating great Canadian work. What more can you ask for? Especially when it’s coming from a group of leaders who throw this together and pull off 2 full days for the finalists, and it’s all stemming from a passion for recognizing work in digital media in this country.

Ana Serrano travels around the world, most recently having just returned home from Cannes, and she made a point emphasizing the fact that the world is watching Canada and the amount of fantastic work coming out of our country – the CNMA show is one example of highlighting Canadian talent. Why not embrace this?

I know that award shows are the most likely target (and easy) for slagging and negativity in any industry, but what is being celebrated here in Toronto this week is fantastic for the industry. I’d love to see the many talented people in technology in this country play a role and get involved in the event. What I see as an important element to this celebration continuing to being successful is to write, blog, talk about, advertise, whatever what’s going on across the board in digital media in the country – to do just that, we all need to support the cause and write about what we’re all doing! Our culture does not celebrate our own near enough.

(And as an FYI: the people organizing are not adverse to this show hittin’ the road, in fact, they encourage it moving across the country to another city – anyone up for the challenge?)

After Monday night’s show, there will be plenty of footage, interviews and wrap info on the last 24 hours on the CNMA blog – this is one place where the conversations can continue about who is making waves and which people and companies are paving the way in technology and digital media in Canada on the world’s stage.

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Me and Capo Bloggin At the Yahoo! Canada TentOr just check your emails…. stop by the Yahoo! purple tent that can’t be missed near the main stage at the base in the village, hop on any number of computers and blog your days and events of this year’s festival.

BUT! Here’s the best part: If you upload your videos here via Yahoo! Canada’s Video Channel, you enter to win a Sony Walkman video mp3 player, courtesy of Sony and the TWSSF! Check out Yahoo!’s video channels for the Xtreme Video uploads and the Daily Highlights.

The Yahoo! gang here are super friendly, my is dog even hanging out as the Yahoo! mascot for the day and it’s the perfect place to chill out and listen to the live music as well. Oh, and there’s free gum too!

Come visit and upload!

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Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival 2007 - Main StageI am happily and comfortably seated (with Capo at my feet, of course) in the infamous Yahoo! Canada purple tent at the base of the gondola in the main village in Whistler… my legs are tired, my feet ache slightly and I have a fraction of a tan from the blue bird skies of the last few brilliant days on the hills.

Today is Day 9 of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival where thousands have descended upon this dreamy mountain resort to take in the show: live music, big air competitions, contests like guys sitting in cars for the duration of the festival (to win big), fashion, art, and hey, there’s still plenty of skiing and boarding to be had this season!

Check out what’s been filmed and uploaded on Yahoo! Canada’s Video Channel.

On the lineup for the next 2 days are some big bands FREE on the main Telus stage in the village: Roz Bell (grrreat T-dot band of goodness), Robertson, The Beautiful Girls, BC’s own Hayley Sales and Slackstring.

Yahoo! Canada's Clive Hobson Workin' It with the Video Paparazzi
Saturday night is the grand Yahoo! Big Air Party at the GLC, over-looking for greatest draw to the festival – the show is spectacular.

And the weather! Could not be more perfect, which makes it all that much sweeter!

Photo: Clive Hobson of Yahoo! Canada interviewed by Brent Stafford of Shaky Egg Communications Inc.

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My Blog Post Featured Today In Yahoo! Canada News on

My first post

from the

Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival

is featured on

Yahoo! Canada’s site

TODAY

under

“In Depth/Xtreme/Daily Highlights”.

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Relatively new to the blogosphere, but kind of an old hat in the art world (and fairly well schooled thus far as well!), Beyond Robson has just discovered the increasingly famous Izzie Egan and featured the gallery manager of the Monte Clark Gallery in this week’s installation of Cityphile!

Check out the full article here.

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Tomorrow I am off to Saskatoon, and I can’t WAIT!

I am speaking at the Saskatchewan Interactive conference, which is pretty damn exciting, and I hope to share some useful knowledge and insight with the participants in attendance. I will be speaking about social media and user-generated content, in general: what is it? how do you tap it? what do you tap? what has it done? what can it do?…..

There seems to be a bit of disconnect across Canada. Go figure. But I’ve been, and spoken with people, from coast to coast over the past few months, and it’s interesting to discover that not very many people understand, or even know, what Web 2.0 is? I’m generalizing, yes, but while the tech folks in Vancouver and Toronto are trying to find and use another term for it all, because this one has been around for soooo loooong, there is a vast amount of Canadians who might like to hear a little about this stuff. At least hear it, try to grasp it and maybe even use it, and then decide if they like it, or can see the power of it. I hope to be a small part of the discovery for some of these people because it wasn’t too long ago that I was one of them.

I think the conference will be fantastic – check out what’s laid out for us all in the schedule.

On to a slightly more exciting aspect: I am going back to a town where I lived and loved living in for 2 years. I always maintain that Saskatchewan is one of those hidden gems of Canada, kinda like Newfoundland, and they’d like to sort of, maybe, keep it that way to a certain degree, kinda like Newfoundlanders. (psst! It really is a dry cold that isn’t so bad, and killer mosquitoes don’t really exist!)

I am most excited to see old friends and the folks at zu.com – they were an intricate part of why I loved living in The Toon, and I am happy to reacquaint with some stellar, lovely, genuine, salt of the earth people.

Can’t wait to hit The Yard!

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