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Canada Media Fund’s Trendscape blog has moved! You can now follow us directly on CMF’s webpage, at http://www.cmf-fmc.ca/about-cmf/industry-intelligence/trendscape/1/?setLocale=1.

See you there!

 

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The IBM 2012 CEO Study unveiled at C2-MTL

C2-MTL

C2-MTL

Opening day at C2-MTL featured the unveiling of the IBM 2012 CEO Study. This biennial initiative surveys corporate leaders around the world to gauge the latest business management trends. This year, more than 1,700 chief executive officers took part in interviews. Marc Chapman, Managing Partner with IBM Global Business Services, presented the results of the study to an enthusiastic audience at the New City Gas building in Montreal.

The findings centre around three key strategic orientations that the individuals surveyed say will be critical to the growth of their companies in the coming years.

  1. Empowering employees through values. The CEOs believe that as a first step, a portion of control must be entrusted to employees by encouraging them to adopt the company’s values. This thinking was prompted by the increasing need to decentralize. The phenomenon, fuelled by social media, encourages employees to embody and share their employer’s mission and vision.
  2. Engaging customers as individuals. The IBM 2012 CEO Study also recommends that to foster a stronger bond with consumers, brands would be well advised to view them as individuals rather than as an indistinct mass. Moreover, the study reveals that the CEOs interviewed predict a 256% increase in the use of social media as a means to interact with consumers and say it will come at the expense of the more “traditional” communication channels.
  3. Amplifying innovation with partnerships. The study suggests that innovation must be approached in a more open manner and should target multiple partnerships that reach beyond the organization itself, including competitors. According to Chapman and his team, this “co-opetition” is particularly important during the phases leading up to exploration, research and development. Only 4% of the CEOs believe their organizations are capable of running operations by using internal resources alone. This recommendation is no doubt more difficult for corporate leaders to introduce. The highly competitive business market has spent years protecting patents, copyrights, and other industrial secrets. However, the information gathered by IBM indicates that companies actually have everything to gain from becoming more open and seeking collaborations previously viewed as unusual.

The three orientations presented in the IBM 2012 CEO Study share one common denominator: placing people at the centre of a company’s potential success. The trend is now shifting towards a philosophy where employees live-out the company’s values; individuals adopt brands and products, which in turn, ideally are personalized. Human relations are forged through collaboration and co-creation.

—Gabrielle Madé, CMF Watch Squad

Advice on best crowdfunding practices

Crowdfunding is fast becoming a serious alternative to traditional financing sources for the production of content. It’s an indisputable fact.

The Social media monthly covers crowdfunding in its May 2012 issue

For a number of months, Kickstarter, the applauded American crowdfunding platform, has been making the news. First came the Sundance Film Festival , which announced that 10% of the films in its official selection had been fully or partially funded by Kickstarter. Next, two video game producers grabbed the headlines in quick succession: surpassing $1 million in their financing quests. A more recent case is that of the fledgling company that designed the Pebble watch and raised an impressive $10 million in under 30 days becoming the “richest” project in the short history of crowdfunding.

What until lately was a relatively marginal phenomenon that enabled a certain number of project promoters to launch modest initiatives, crowdfunding can no longer be ignored. The recent decision by the U.S. Congress allowing start-up companies to access crowdfunding is one obvious example of the attention the practice has been garnering.

Closer to home, Canadian project developers are also hoping to benefit from this new funding mechanism. While crowdfunding platforms exist in Canada(Haricot, Smallchange, Touscoprod), many Canadians are drawn to high-profile Kickstarter. In fact the recent HOTDOCS conference offered a few tips to anyone considering this alternative.

During a presentation entitled “Best Practices in Canadian Crowdfunding,” Richard Hanet, a partner at Lewis Birnberg Hanet LLP, recommended the following:

  1. Pay close attention to the type of contributions you receive. This aspect is central to the crowdfunding strategy. Canadian content      creators must understand that any funding received via a platform such as Kickstarter will be considered as taxable income as soon as it enters the country. In addition, under the federal law governing tax credits, this kind of      monetary injection into a financial structure is considered as      “assistance,” which obliges the producer to reduce the contribution of  these tax credits accordingly in the organization’s financing structure. Therefore, what may be gained on one level could be lost on another.
  1. Ensure you have a chain of title in accordance with      Canadian requirements. As part of the incentive exchanges between producers and their “contributors,” on-screen credits or even certain rights may be granted. Such exchange strategies should be avoided, not only because of rights issues but also due to the CAVCO certification rules that Canadian productions are subject to.
  1. Ensure you have a valid contract for your American “antenna.”    A site such as Kickstarter requires that the project developer have a U.S. address, bank account, and business number. Therefore, Canadian producers  must establish an agreement with an American entity. Hanet warns against      partnering with ‘friends or in-laws.’ Instead, he recommends establishing  a legal contract with an American entity—ideally a distributor. In this way, the money raised via crowdfunding will be considered as a  distribution advance, and the problems noted above could be avoided.
  1. Lastly, give careful thought to the cost of your exchanges.  Hanet emphasizes that it’s all well and good to offer a t-shirt for a $10 contribution to your film. But if the shirt costs you $4.50 to make, $17 in postage, and $10 in customs fees to send it to your contributor in Austria, it’s a losing proposition.

A Harmonized Way to Measure Digital Media Projects

This is an exciting moment for the Canada Media Fund: earlier this week, we launched the Digital Media Performance Measurement Framework.

It’s a product of extensive research that aims to simplify how we rate digital media success. We spent many months in back-and-forth consultation with industry stakeholders. We also developed a complete process to validate our classification and measurement methodology.

Speaking for both myself and Julie Look, Director of Research and fellow co-director of this project, I wish to thank all the content producers, broadcasters, industry associations, other funding agencies and analytics experts who were involved. The challenge we faced ranking success of digital media projects across our different groups was colossal, a fact we all knew from the start. While digital media lets us track and measure almost anything, there is no common language that we can use to interpret the resulting numbers. Nor is there a unique data source – something comparable to television’s BBM ratings – that can give us an industry-wide baseline for data collection.

We wanted to “keep it simple,” but the system had to be flexible enough to encompass all types of projects supported by CMF. We think the projects we fund – whether in the Convergent or Experimental Streams – are fairly representative of the digital media landscape. That means that projects from different genres are available to users across multiple access points, including PCs, tablets, consoles and smartphones. We also allow for various delivery formats, some content arriving online and others embedded in applications or as packages downloaded and run offline.

A classification system forms one part of the Digital MediaMeasurement Framework (DMMF). This helps producers define projects and lets the CMF compare different ventures through data segmentation. The other part is powered by five widely used metrics that are standard in analytics software. The CMF will use these metrics to calculate Key Performance Indicators based on audience and consumption.

Today’s release is just the first step, an encouraging move towards much needed common measurement practices for screen-based digital media. The DMMF must keep up with our fast-paced and ever-evolving industry. Consultations will continue throughout the year, along with ongoing optimization of the framework. We will also form working committees to continue the development of the DMMF.

For more information, please see the related Digital Media Measurement Framework documents.

Catalina Briceno
Director, Industry and Market Trends

Update on Review and Trends 2012

Duncan Stewart is one that needs no further introduction in Canada when it comes to discussing media and telecom trends as well as upcoming technologies. Since 2001, he’s been touring around Canada with Deloitte’s TMT predictions (this year’s schedule of upcoming presentations is available on their website).

We were in the fully-packed room at the Scotia Bank Theatre in Montreal last week to hear what Duncan and his trends analysts are foreseeing for this upcoming year. Here are some highlights:

Big data gets really big…

Although still marginal in terms of money (roughly $1.5 B compared to $3.4 T for global IT), big data gains importance in terms of quantity and traditional database management and analytics tools reach their limits. It’s time for ground breaking innovations. Not surprisingly, more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies will be on it one way or another in 2012, but 50% of these projects will be pilot projects.

Near field communication (NFC)

It’s a growing trend but 2012 should still be another “transition year”; the NFC technology will be used for payment but now also more and more for other uses (fast and easy way to exchanging data without relying on Wi-Fi or phone networks, one answer to these increasingly crowded networks).

Moving from HDD to SSD (solid state drive)

SDD are pricy (about 10 times the cost of their HDD counterparts) but they are convenient if not mandatory for portable devices (smartphones, tablets, ultraportables). They also become important for data centers (cooler, less energy-demanding). About 10% of the new centers to be built in 2012 should use SSD hardware.

Two tablets per household…

People used to move around their houses carrying their lights with them. Nowadays light is ubiquitous. Tablets should follow the same trend, transitioning from one tablet per household to one per person. On the longer run, it’s one per room or even more than could be the norm. Ubiquitous…

Portable devices as portable DVRs

Streaming being not always possible or the best solution (think of commuters in a train), tablets may turn into handy portable DVRs where users could catch up on the shows recorded the day before (30 B hours watched last year).

The caps are back

As the networks reach their capacity limits, we should see the end of the “All you can eat” wired bandwidth plans. Average cap is expected to vary between 150 and 250 GB per month, more than what most average users should need. This trend should last until fiberglass networks kick in (timeframe: 10 years).

TV schedules are still king

Viewed as dying not long ago, live TV is getting back stronger as interactions on social networks favour live shows. The latest stats (Nielsen report) speak loud: In the US, people watch on a weekly basis an average 32 h of live TV. Timeshifted comes second with… 3 h per week.

Neuromarketing

More and more companies are using MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) technology to improve products and user experience. It’s something getting big but kept hidden by companies using it (competitive edge).

Online advertising: Emotions matter

Brand advertising online is gaining momentum and should catch up with TV where it is predominant. Less focused on click-through rates and the likes, it will focus more on brand and image building, such as illustrated in an online Chipotle (Mexican grill restaurant) commercial showed during the presentation. This long commercial (over 2 minutes) is all about emotions, with the name of the company only showing up – briefly – at the very end of it.

More links

To read our own review 2011 and trends for 2012.

Technology for the imaginative mind

Initially posted in French on 01/20/2012

Amid the constant flow of technological changes and the ever-changing ways that media space has been used over the past 15 years, it’s become difficult to know which came first—the chicken (technology) or the egg (the new uses). However, one thing is clear: we are witness to an uninterrupted process that seemingly knows no bounds. Today’s technological possibilities are paving the way to the public’s adoption of new behaviors; and communication appetite and the augmenting expertise of users (particularly digital natives), are stimulating continuous innovation in technology.

Mashable offers us its post-CES 2012 recap where we get the feeling that this year’s show can be summarized as “evolution, not revolution” while TechCrunch categorizes its winners and losers of the year.

While the CES was in full swing in Las Vegas, we were invited to travel to France to make a presentation on the Fund’s policies and programs at the FORUM BLANC cross-media (TV+Web) industry conference. A certain amount of technology prospecting was also part of the event, with the technologies presented targeting opportunities for producers of audiovisual and multiplatform content. And therein, we believe, lies the interest. Therefore, to complement and expand on what has been widely reported about the CES, we wish to present a few discoveries made by Emmanuel Rondeau, Project Manager, Innovation, at Imaginove.

Kolor Eyes

Kolor Eyes is a video player for images recorded using a 360° camera. The device offers originality and an added advantage: an HTML5, WebGL-based device, it was not developed using a proprietary language (and therefore needs no extra plug-ins) and will eventually run on all platforms. Currently, however, it is only supported by Firefox 4 and Chrome.

To learn more:

Klynt

Flash-based and developed by Honkytonk, Klynt is an editing and publishing application for Web-based narratives. The tool enables even non-specialized users to easily produce a complete documentary and broadcast it via the most popular social channels. One of its greatest assets is that it offers users the possibility to effortlessly produce non-linear and interactive narratives, opening many new creative avenues.

To learn more:

Shapeshot

Shapeshot is an integrated process that enables the user to capture an element (usually a face) in 3D and reproduce it as a virtual model (visible via the Shapeshot app or a WebGL supported browser) or as an object (a bust, for example). Users must contact Direct Dimensions, the product developer, to capture the model using four off-the-shelf digital cameras, but the potential is there, and it bodes well for the future of personalizing the user experience, notably through the creation of avatars.

To learn more:

Geopositioning applied to fiction

Fictional literary works now exist that take a highly innovative route, exploring the possibilities that geopositioning offers, adding a new dimension to storytelling, and in doing so providing the reader with an entirely new experience. While the process itself is still in its infancy and seems sometimes to harken back to the old “you be the hero” books, its potential is clearly evident. Examples include a story integrated into Google Maps and the personalization of a story based on the location of the reader. Both use Foursquare data.

To learn more:

  • The 21 Steps, part of a six-story series published by Penguin
  • Wanderlust Stories by Six to Start; app is available on their site
  • Interactive walk using the app developed by Walking the Edit

Send us your own discoveries.

TRENDS 2012: All together now

(Read introduction: Coming up next, review of the 2012 media trends.)

This Beatles favorite makes for the perfect title of the final chapter in our series 2011 Review >> 2012 Trends. The best summary of the current effervescence in the digital media sector (and the best stimulus for a discussion that goes beyond mere year-end predictions) can be found in a recent article by Erick Schonfeld, in which he compares the unprecedented proliferation of technology start-ups to the Cambrian explosion and makes this enlightening observation:

“The internet is today’s steam engine. Anyone can tinker and build an app or a web business. The pace of innovation is similar to what was seen during the tail end of the industrial revolution in the late 1800s (…) Today’s most productive machine is the computer. But that machine is increasingly useless if it is not connected (…) It’s not just that the network is the computer. The network is society, the market, and politics all rolled into one.”

In all activity sectors and particularly that of media creation and distribution, this evolution will continue until society (the user) merges with the market (right-holders, producers, distributers) and politics (legislative machinery, regulation). In fact, the past few years have seen the user begin to climb back up the hierarchical ladder, moving from passive receiver to active transmitter.

As far back as 2006, TIME named “YOU” person of the year. Yet five years later, a division remains. Business is prepared to “listen” and “dialogue” with the user and even integrate user-generated content, provided users not alter the editorial or marketing trajectory of the company. User-generated content remains distinctly separated from that created by the professionals, and only rarely does anyone venture into co-creation terrain, where developers, authors and users unite to form a nucleus of inventiveness.

Granted, this year saw the progression, albeit timid, of such phenomena as crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and the alternate reality game (ARG), which involves the user (online and offline) in an interactive narrative. But many industry players see these initiatives as just more ways for companies to lose control. Transmedia storyteller Lance Weiler views co-creation with the public as a chance to bring “happy accidents” into a project. The Japanese example of Hatsune Miku is an astounding illustration of how a new economy of collaborative creation can turn into a phenomenal business success.

Control is not lost, but it must be distributed…fairly.  

In the case of Hatsune Miku, creation is communal and users have the right to change and disseminate intellectual property (within certain parameters), but all contributions by the public must be not-for-profit. However, when the company uses the creation of a fan, a contract and remuneration are arranged. To not pay contributors would be an injustice, as demonstrated by the recent Voir vs. Huffington Post affair in Quebec(1).   Such should also be the case for the giant platforms that feed off of the data they collect on their users, turn this data into profits on the markets, and use it as an asset to capitalize their business on the financial markets.

The past year has also been particularly active in terms of legislative review, regulatory upheaval, legal battles, patent wars, and privacy issues. This fight for control will take on new vigour and will confirm that in a world of quasi-continuous connectivity, society, the market, and politics cannot just co-exist…they must cooperate.

Returning to Schonfeld’s evolutionary metaphor, only those species that are able to adapt to this environment will survive. The Cambrian explosion began in Canada; there’s no reason why our talent, culture and politics cannot contribute to shaping the world of digital content tomorrow!

(1) The upcoming launch of a Quebec edition of The Huffington Post recently caused quite a stir in the blogging community when the weekly VOIR revealed that influent Quebec bloggers would contribute to the site without being paid.