The Canadian digital production industry got a big boost today from three of Canada's most inﬂuential media corporations with the announcement that Corus Entertainment, Google and Shaw Media are lending their support to ideaBOOST, a new accelerator program initiated by the CFC Media Lab. ideaBOOST offers ﬁnancial backing, strategic guidance and mentor support to help convert high-potential Canadian digital content ventures into commercially successful offerings.
CFC's ideaBOOST also announced the ﬁrst group of content creators selected to participate in the four-month program, which starts today. Chosen from a competitive crowd-sourced voting process, the eight selected companies reﬂect a full range of ground-breaking digital projects that have already engaged audiences across the country.
“The commitment we have from Google, Corus Entertainment and Shaw Media truly underscores the unique nature of the ideaBOOST concept,” says Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Ofﬁcer, Canadian Film Centre. “ideaBOOST is an evolved accelerator program designed to propel both new and established production companies to achieve commercial success in the rapidly expanding world of digital entertainment.”
“The mission of ideaBOOST is not merely to help teams raise ﬁnancing for their ideas,” Serrano explains. “It's also about helping them make money and build sustainable revenue streams from their products.”
Support from Shaw, Google and Corus for the CFC Media Lab's ideaBOOST includes a commitment from each media organization to provide the selected companies with critical advice and resources in the areas of product development, business strategy and audience engagement to help advance their product development plans into commercial viability. With the launch of ideaBOOST in August 2012, CFC issued an open invitation to digital content creators from across Canada to submit their ‘engaged entertainment' project for consideration. From a shortlist of 15 content companies or development teams, a juried panel of industry experts selected eight ﬁnalists for inclusion in the program. The winning candidates receive $15,000 in seed capital for their project, as well as intensive, hands-on input and mentor support from some of the best minds in the entertainment, media and technology worlds.
The ﬁnal chosen projects are: The Path (SmokeBomb Entertainment), The Buffer Film Festival (Apprentice A Productions), AsapSCIENCE (Mitchell Mofﬁt and Gregory Brown), Ramen Party (Lillian Chan and Justin Poon), Rollers of the Realm (Phantom Compass), Your Task // You Shoot Things (YT//ST Labs), Loud on Planet X (Pop Sandbox), and The Ghost Town Project (Intuitive Pictures). View project descriptions.
“Our goal with ideaBOOST is to create sustainable economic development across Canada by giving digital media entrepreneurs the skills to generate revenue from great ideas,” says Slawko Klymkiw, CEO, Canadian Film Centre. “It's about applying business rigour and discipline to creative content development plans, so they really can turn into viable, job-creating drivers of the economy.”
ideaBOOST is fortunate to have a dedicated list of program partners who offer expertise and services to participants and program leaders. This includes the Canadian Media Fund (CMF), which has joined the team as a research partner in order to better understand audience engagement and the technology tools used by producers. Additional organizations have signed on to provide a variety of in-kind, professional and ﬁnancial support. These organizations include: Endloop, Ernst & Young, Goldring, Jolt, Lean Startup Machine, MaRS Discovery District, Microsoft BizSpark, Toronto Life, The Working Group and Whites Interactive.
Paul Burns, Vice President, Digital Media, Shaw Communications: “We're always looking for powerful ideas coming from Canadians. ideaBOOST's focus on emerging Canadian companies that blend technology and entertainment innovation is something we're excited about. As far as technology accelerators go, ideaBOOST has a nice focus on entertainment which we feel is fertile ground for innovation and investment – right here on home soil.”
Jeremy Butteriss, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Google Canada: “Google is committed to supporting Canada's thriving content community. Many Canadian producers are already highly successful on YouTube, attracting audiences from Canada and around the world, and we hope that number continues to grow. ideaBOOST celebrates the convergence of entertainment and technology across all platforms and we're proud to be part of this important initiative. We're also excited that two YouTube stars are among the eight ideaBOOST ﬁnalists.”
Scott Dyer, Chief Technology Ofﬁcer, Corus Entertainment: “ideaBOOST's focus on digital entertainment and audience engagement is extremely compelling for Corus Entertainment. We're looking forward to working together to help turn some of these prototype projects into viable, saleable properties that can be leveraged across the full range of audience engagement platforms.”