nextMEDIA – The Future of Digital Content wrapped Sunday in Banff, Alberta, concluding two days and three  evenings of presentations, keynote addresses, workshops, and networking events. This was the fourth year for the event, which has consistently delivered a ‘look forward’ on issues affecting both the broadcast and digital media sectors.
“nextMEDIA continues to grow alongside the digital media industry,” said Mark Greenspan, Director of Digital Content at Achilles Media. “For the second year in a row, we have staged a sold-out event that has attracted players from across North America in all media sectors.”
This year’s event was all about content with nextMEDIA taking a leadership role with the launch of ‘nextMEDIA Exposed’, a video and blogging channel covering daily events at the three-day conference.
nextMEDIA also brought together Canada’s ‘digital media giants’ for the first time ever, part of a Saturday morning panel examining the impact of consolidations on digital strategies at ‘the big five.’ Collaboration and improving cooperation between creators, providers and delivery channels was a key theme among the participants, which included Dominique-Sébastien Forest (Quebecor Media) Kevin Bartus (Rogers Media), Maria Hale (Telus), Stephan Argent (CTV) and Steve Billinger, CBC/Radio-Canada. The moderator of the panel was Claude Galipeau from Astral Media.
While all five companies have been investing in original content since the mergers, Quebecor Media has lead the way with $5 million targeted across several platforms. There may be more opportunities on the way for Canadian content producers as CTV begins to monetize several Web properties acquired with the buyout of CHUM. Rogers, meanwhile, plans to focus its strategy on investing in digital media start-ups.
On Sunday afternoon, Telus drove home the idea of how to build a successful Canadian new media industry with a list of 10 recommendations that included “no content regulation of the Internet”, part of a formal white paper entitled ‘A Friendly Future for New Media’. The paper was the result of a collaborative effort between Alan Sawyer, Principal Consultant, Two Solitudes Consulting and Michael Hennessy, Vice-President, Wireless, Broadband and Content Policy, TELUS Communications, and was presented by David Neale, Senior Vice-President, Products & Services, TELUS. Copies of the document can be downloaded from the nextMEDIA Website
A highlight of the event included the launch of The Heavy Corporation. Corus Entertainment, a leading Canadian media and entertainment company, has signed on as Husky Media Canada’s anchor partner, deploying and promoting original, award-winning Heavy programming across its radio sites in a customized channel, through its male-oriented radio stations including 102.1 the Edge in Toronto, CFOX in Vancouver, Power 97 in Winnipeg and Q107 in both Toronto and Calgary.
nextMEDIA is considered the premier digital media event in Canada, attracting a vibrant mix of content producers, media executives and digital entrepreneurs. The nextMEDIA brand was recently expanded to include a Toronto event, and now incorporates the annual Canadian New Media Awards (CNMAs).
The Banff World Television Festival, sister event to nextMEDIA – The Future of Digital Content continues at the Fairmont Banff Springs through June 11th. nextMEDIA – Montetizing Digital Media  returns to Toronto, November 18 – 19, 2008 at CIRCA.