Four Canadian digital media companies will be among those in the spotlight at MIPTV. Secret Location, Félix & Paul Studios, MiiScan and Zandel Media will showcase their latest innovations in immersive storytelling at the world’s largest TV and digital content market, which runs from April 13 to 16 in Cannes, France.
According to a study (PDF) published by the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) in March 2015, Canadian content creators are now producing innovative digital media to increase discoverability of content, and therefore reach new audiences that consume content on various platforms. Canadian productions are also garnering critical acclaim. On the international digital media stage, most notably, Canadian productions have earned seven International Digital Emmy Award nominations, including three wins, since 2010.
“Canadian companies are at the forefront of digital innovation,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada, “developing technologies that are transforming the way we interact with stories. Embedded digital codes, immersive second-screen platforms, virtual reality interaction, social media integration—these bold, groundbreaking approaches to content engage viewers in ways that would not have been possible only a few years ago. The competition for any given person’s decision to watch and pay attention to a particular production, is fierce. We live in an attention economy. The Canadian industry must also be creative in how it connects with audiences.”
Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the Canada Media Fund, added: “For the past five years, a Canadian production has been nominated every year for a prestigious International Digital Emmy Award. This attests to Canada’s leadership on an international scale in regards to creative storytelling and is a reflection of the environment in which the Canadian audiovisual production industry is thriving. Canada’s digital media success stems from the entrepreneurial skills of our content producers, the creativity of our artists, and the financial resources and supportive public policies that encourage Canadians to create and share content to be enjoyed by Canadian and international audiences.”
The following Canadian companies and projects are among those featured at MIPTV this year:
- Are You on the Blacklist? — Secret Location, Toronto – Nominated for a 2015 International Digital Emmy Award in the Digital Program: Fiction category. Award winners will be announced at MIPTV on April 13. Are You on the Blacklist? was developed by Toronto- and L.A.-based Secret Location in partnership with Sony Pictures Television and NBC Entertainment Digital, to generate audience buzz for the series premiere of the drama The Blacklist, starring James Spader. In Canada The Blacklist airs on Global TV. Secret Location created an interactive episode in order to draw audiences into the world of the show through custom-shot, face-to-face encounters with lead characters. The video experience utilizes Facebook connectivity and motion tracking of custom content to drive users to engage with the narrative in order to “clear their name.” Feedback was highly positive and demonstrated great confidence in the concept, breaking new ground in digital content for NBC and many international broadcasters. The Blacklist has been renewed for a 22-episode second season.
- Introduction to VR and Strangers with Patrick Watson — Félix & Paul Studios, Montreal – Montreal-based Félix and Paul Studios, a leading producer of 3D 360° cinematic live action virtual reality content, was recently commissioned by Samsung and Oculus VR to create Introduction to VR for the launch of Samsung’s Gear VR head-mounted display. The two-minute cinematic experience transports viewers high above the clouds to the summit of the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii, lets them join a Mongolian family in their yurt, experience a gravity-defying Cirque du Soleil performance, and view the Earth from outer space. Félix & Paul Studios have also earned raves for their five-minute Samsung Gear VR production Strangers with Patrick Watson, which invites the viewer to spend an intimate moment with Montreal musician Patrick Watson at work in his studio loft. The production was an official selection at this year’s Sundance and Hot Docs festivals and winner of the Best Live Action Experience award at the 2014 Proto Awards.
- SmartTones — MiiScan, Toronto – SmartTones uses inaudible sound codes embedded in broadcast or theatrical video as triggers to a mobile device, delivering rich interactive media content directly to the viewer—including bonus material, games, voting, interactive media, coupons, instant purchases and other media experiences—precisely when they are watching and engaged and regardless of PVR or time shifting. SmartTones enables television and film directors to direct the second screen user experience, creating new revenue opportunities for broadcasters and filmmakers as well as creating detailed Return on Investment for advertisers.
- Missing: An Interactive Thriller — Zandel Media, Montreal – Missing: An Interactive Thriller, offers a unique entertainment experience by bringing video game and crime television together. After he is kidnapped for no apparent reason, Dave Newcastle, a man lost between his work and his home, has to prove his will to survive and fight back to take control of his life and see his family again. Missing is a 45-minute, single player, interactive live-action thriller where the player assumes the role of Dave in a unique format accessible on all mobile devices (Android, iOS and Amazon). Starring Quebec actors Roy Dupuis and Patrick Hivon, Missing achieved the rank of the number-one paid application for iPad on iTunes Canada in November, 2014. Additional episodes and platforms are slated for 2015.