Astound Round Table at Buffer Festival 2013

Mike Tjioe

ASTOUND Initiative



The ASTOUND Initiative is led by the CFC Media Lab in partnership with Hot Docs and OCAD U. It is a special endeavour dedicated to creating innovative investment and business development solutions for Ontario-based creative content producers working in digital media, film, television, gaming, transmedia, music and publishing.

Though currently on hiatus, we continue to serve the creative community through the ASTOUND website and ASTOUND Business Model Canvas (BMC) workshops.


The website is an indispensable online portal of relevant resources, business tools, books and reports for creative content entrepreneurs working in digital media, film, television, gaming, transmedia, music and publishing. Featuring the ASTOUND “Best Practices” Tool Kit, it was created by leading content producers and investors to establish a common framework and language for the entertainment and business sector. For more information, please visit


The ASTOUND Business Model Canvas workshops train content producers to use the techniques of business model design by Alex Osterwalder and his associates, and evolved by the CFC Media Lab for creative producers and content-based businesses. The Business Model Canvas provides a single easy-to-use visual tool allowing participants to quickly map their productions and/or businesses, assess viability and re-imagine their business model. The workshops’ participatory and multi-method approach creates an empowering and interactive working environment that gives participants a tangible blueprint for current and future projects.

The BMC workshop is available to media organizations. For more information, please email with the subject Line: BMC Workshop Request.


ASTOUND encourages content creators to think entrepreneurially, explore their unique properties, revenue potential, and understand the multiple roles audiences play. It promotes a sustainable business model using a collaborative approach.

The intention of ASTOUND is to establish a set of “best practices” that support the transition from content producers to content entrepreneurs, as well as provide content investors with an industry standard for creative content evaluation to spark business and industry growth.

Each program component plays a significant role in meeting ASTOUND’s objectives:

  • Workshops dedicated to training content producers to use business model design
  • Salons provide a collaborative environment for knowledge exchange and networking between content producers and investors
  • Summit promotes audience engagement, discussion and perspective on audience integration models
  • Website functions as an information and resource hub

ASTOUND applies novel solutions from other sectors, a consultative, collaborative creative approach with stakeholders, and how these solutions can integrate the investment and creative content sectors.

The ASTOUND Salons create a unique forum bringing creative producers and equity investors together on a level playing field. The discussions focus on identifying gaps and finding appropriate solutions to bridge the divide between the two groups. The working group collaborates on a series of tools and resources that are adapted for the ASTOUND website.

The ASTOUND Summit: The Business of Audience Engagement is a one-day symposium for content entrepreneurs to explore the importance of connecting with viewers and users. The summit explores how to best integrate audiences and leverage these relationships to secure financing and investment. Participants and industry experts discuss strategies regarding crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and audience engagement, as well as interpreting and adapting user data.

The ASTOUND Clinics are designed to provide participants with a hands-on opportunity to play with audience engagement concepts and tools, including workshopping projects.

The ASTOUND Initiative is led by the CFC Media Lab in partnership with Hot Docs, OCAD U and a range of partners. The inaugural ASTOUND was made possible through The Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.


Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas techniques give entrepreneurs an opportunity to organize their business plans in a central place by putting ideas into key categories. It allows you to see a visual snapshot of your plans and connect the areas to see if they make sense, while being versatile enough to make quick changes, build on it, or make important decisions on whether to keep it, or scrap it.

The Business Model Canvas is a fun, visceral way of encouraging content-based businesses to answer these questions head on. More importantly, it sets out that business modelling is an iterative design process that is at heart “creative.” It underscores how business modelling should be integrated into the content-based industry’s creative process every step of the way.


Value Proposition Canvas

The goal of the Value Proposition Canvas is to assist you in designing great Value Propositions that match your customer’s needs to solve their problems. This is what the start-up scene calls product-market fit or problem-solution fit. The Value Proposition Canvas helps you work towards this fit in a more systematic and visual way.

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Strategyzer is an online application that allows you to electronically visualize your business model canvas, while going deeper by allowing you to be constantly connected and up-to-date with your team, understand if your business model will fail or succeed through a testing process, estimate your financial opportunities and more.


Sparkwise is a cloud-based metrics platform. The service, which is still in beta, takes data from a user’s various social media feeds and transforms the raw data into stories by incorporating video, audio and text.

Sparkwise gives meaning to your data and momentum to your goals. Visualize, compare and curate your data to tell your story and ignite your audience. Data can be a powerful tool for change. Tracking the right metrics in the right context can help us gain a deeper understanding of the communities we serve, so we can make a lasting impact.



Lead Partners

The ASTOUND Initiative is led by he tCFC Media Lab in partnership with Hot Docs and OCAD U and is made possible through The Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and Sport.

Tertiary Partners