MaRS Library Digital video & music
MaRS works with the definition of digital video and music as video and music content and environments delivered via the Internet, mobile networks or media storage devices for entertainment or informational purposes. Although there is some overlap, digital media businesses that focus on video and music generally take one of the following two forms:
- Startups that create the end-user experience―i.e., the content creators
- Startups that design the applications that deliver the content and digital environments to the users―i.e., the content enablers
The resources and links provided on this page cater to both types of entrepreneurs.
On this page, “digital video” encompasses video apps, animation, special effects and post-production. Similarly, the term “digital music” is also broadly defined and encompasses music apps, podcasts, radio and audio post-production. In some cases, digital video and digital music may be broadly referred to as “digital media.”
This resource contains the following sections:
I. Business of digital video & music
The following resources highlight opportunities for funding and mentoring, and feature organizations and associations specific to the digital media industry.
Accelerators and Incubators
These digital media programs are based in Ontario, but in most cases are open to all Canadian startups. Be sure to check out our general listing of Accelerators and incubators.
The C100: This program sends Canadian entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley so they can gain experience collaborating with developers and participating in mentoring, partnership and investment networks.
Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN): The CDMN is a network of 26 nodes, each supporting startups to commercialize digital media technologies through providing entrepreneurs with technical, legal, financial, marketing and business resources. Their interactive map can be used to find a hub near you.
Canada’s Compendium of Hubs for Digital Media Content Creation (Cultural Human Resources Council, 2010) (PDF): This document from the CHRC, lists a variety of resources marked as either “people,” “products” or “processes,” and includes accelerators, incubators, mentor programs and angel and VC investors. The list has not been updated since 2010, but still proves a good resource for finding local hubs.
Canadian Film Centre Media Lab (CFC Media Lab): Founded by the CFC in 1997 to address the growing digital media industry, this facility provides a training, research and production environment for emerging digital media content developers. The CFL Media Lab also includes IdeaBOOST, an accelerator program.
Canadian Technology Accelerator Initiative in New York City (CTA @ NYC): Canadian digital media entrepreneurs can apply for this program that offers co-working space at Grind, mentorship and introductions to angel and venture capital (VC) networks.
Generator at one: nGen is a digital media incubator located in the Niagara region that supports both content creators and content enablers. Their digital media facility, Generator at one, is designed to assist entrepreneurs with digital technology research and with pre- and post-production.
These funding programs are available to all Canadian digital video and music startups. Be sure to check out our Funding your startup page for links to general funding programs and opportunities.
Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC): OMDC is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, which provides support to various Ontario-based media companies through advocacy, funding, tax credits and innovation. The various funds available are grouped according to medium:
OMDC also has a list of tax incentives for which many Ontario-based startups (those operating in Ontario and filing Ontario corporate tax returns) are eligible, including:
- Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit
- Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit
- Ontario Film & Television Tax Credit
Bell Fund: The Bell Fund invests in new media projects associated with television productions with the mandate of advancing the Canadian broadcasting system. Some of the funding programs include:
- Production Program ―for producers of digital media content that complements and enhances television programs. Successful applicants can be awarded a grant of up to 75% of the cost of production and will match broadcaster cash contributions to a maximum of $100,000.
- Performance Accelerator ―for digital media producers to evolve and iterate on their existing projects. Successful applicants can be awarded a grant of up to 75% the cost of production to a maximum of $75,000.
- Digital Media Development ―for independent producers creating content for digital media projects tied to a TV program or series. Successful applicants can be awarded a grant of up to 75% the cost of development to a maximum of $50,000.
- TV Development Online ―independent producers creating new online television programming are eligible for this fund. Successful applicants can be awarded a grant of up to 75% the cost of production to a maximum of $100,000.
Canada Media Fund (CMF): The Canada Media Fund offers various funds and programs categorized by its two “streams”:
- Convergent Stream, which supports television and digital media content creation
- Experimental Stream, which supports the development of interactive digital media content and software applications
CMF’s annual report details the various projects that have been funded in the past year and highlights success stories, recognition, and achievement awards handed to funded projects. The report also provides information on CMF operations.
Telefilm Canada: Telefilm Canada offers many different funds for digital video content creators. Check their funds and programs tab on the homepage.
CDMN Soft Landing Program: The CDMN Soft Landing Program helps startups establish themselves anywhere in the world, get connected to local business accelerator programs and qualify for up to $4,000 to reimburse travel expenses.
Canada Music Fund: This fund supports musicians and music entrepreneurs. Check out New Musical Works component of the fund, which is targeted at music creators and entrepreneurs and designed to aid Canadian sound recording firms. The fund also provides three Music Entrepreneur sub-components to support music entrepreneurs achieve success both nationally and internationally.
Independent Production Fund: This set of funds is for content creators interested in producing a digital web series or independent film and television. The Independent Production Fund provides various helpful templates and frameworks for digital media creators.
The following links provide funding listings and highlight tax incentives available to digital video and music entrepreneurs:
- Canadian Art Directory: This directory lists funds available for music and visual arts.
- The Big Table (PricewaterhouseCoopers): PricewwaterhouseCoopers (PwC) provides a set of tables that instructs users on Canada’s tax incentive landscape for digital media and film projects.
II. Digital video & music trends
Canadian Digital Media Network Trends (CDMN): CDMN provides infographics showing Canadian digital media trends.
GRAND: This research network and commercialization engine pursues many projects across the wide spectrum of digital media, including graphics, animation and new media. Their annual reports are available for download.
Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC): OMDC provides many great resources, from their Ontario Production Guide to their online research library (where you can find reports from organizations on film and television, interactive digital media and music).
Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC): The ICTC has a robust e-library of reports on the digital media industry.
Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) Profile Report: Each year the CMPA releases a report giving a snapshot of the screen-based production industry in Canada.
2016 Entertainment & Media Industry Trends (Deloitte, 2016): This whitepaper examines the state of the entertainment and media industry and identifies key emerging trends, such as the shift to direct-to-consumer content.
Transmedia is a form of storytelling that crosses various platforms and formats to tell a single storyline. It usually involves a strong interactive component.
Interactive Ontario: Interactive Ontario is a non-profit industry trade organization dedicated to supporting the interactive digital community and transmedia producers in Ontario. You can find industry reports, news and events listings on their website.
For more information on transmedia, visit the following website:
Digital media marketing
Video ads are increasingly used in various marketing strategies, from banner ads to pre-roll, post-roll and mid-roll ads, on content as diverse as YouTube clips, video-on-demand entertainment and live online events. More precise ad metrics can be gathered from online video than from traditional broadcast or cable television. As technologies continue to evolve, more and more platforms will deliver video ads along with digital audio ads.
IAB Canada: IAB Canada is a resource and communication forum for marketers, publishers and practitioners to evaluate and shape the direction of the Internet advertising industry in Canada. Equivalent IAB sites also exist for the US and the UK.
Video Ad Spend Study (IAB, 2016): This survey of 360 marketing and media buying professionals provides statistics on the growth of video ad spending. The survey was conducted by Advertiser Perceptions on behalf of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Tubular Insights: This site instructs entrepreneurs and marketers on optimizing their videos for search and discovery. The site also has an extensive library of helpful insights and guides.
The following websites will also update you on the latest in Internet advertising news:
Digital music rights management
If your startup is in the business of distributing, appropriating or sampling music, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with digital music rights management. This is the practice of music publishers, copyright holders and software and hardware developers of limiting the use of digital music after sale.
Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN): SOCAN is a non-profit organization that provides music licences to businesses so that they may use it legally and ethically.
Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA): This trade organization represents the independent sector of the Canadian music and sound recording industry. This website includes a primer on industry legal issues.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF): Dedicated to protecting the public’s interest in the areas of privacy, free speech, copyright, transparency and innovation, Electronic Frontier Foundation is a non-profit membership organization.
III. Digital video & digital music statistics
Media Technology Monitor: This paid service provides reports on demographics and user profiles, technology benchmarks, and digital media adoption and usage across Canada in the domains of television, video, radio and the Internet.
Canadian Media Directors’ Council: The Canadian Media Directors’ Council (CMDC) collects statistics on media distribution, market share and company profiles. It compiles the information in an annual publication, CMDC Media Digest:
2016 Global Digital Future in Focus (comScore, 2016): Highlighting the year’s leading industry stories, this report details the prevailing digital trends of 2016 and their implications for the future.
Invest in Canada – Digital Media 2014 (Government of Canada, 2014): This report from the Government of Canada examines the digital media landscape and looks at the key strengths of Canadian cities in comparison with other international digital media hubs.
Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2015-2020 (Cisco, 2016): This white paper forecasts annual global IP traffic, the technology that will enable this traffic and the types of media users will consume.
Neilson Wire Blog: Although this blog from the Nielsen Company does not drill as deep as its parent publication, it supplies reports and statistics that give insight into consumer behaviour. Entrepreneurs can access reports and news articles that shed light, for example, on ad spending, what audiences are watching and how new trends may affect audience behaviour and demographics.
IV. Tracking latest developments in digital video & digital music
These websites and events will help keep entrepreneurs up to date with the latest developments in digital video and music.
News sites and blogs
Digital Media Companies: This website focuses on new media and entertainment segments with a strong focus on Canadian content. Their regional directory enables users to search for digital media companies across Canada by province or territory, and city.
Canada Media Fund Trendscape: This comprehensive blog from the Canada Media Fund reports on the latest industry and market trends. Categories within the blog include news, case studies, business practices, industry transformations and coverage of the latest technologies.
Digital Media Wire: Digital Media Wire emails subscribers a daily briefing of the important news stories on the business of digital media and the convergence of media, entertainment and technology. Its website also provides news on video, music, digital media events and more.
Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC): The Cultural Human Resources Council provides resources on finding success within the digital media industry. Resources such as industry reports and tips on project management and production accounting require a fee or paid membership to CHRC.
The following links provide information on music technology news:
- Digital Music News ―news on digital music trends and technologies
- Hypebot ―posts on music, technology and the new music business
- MusicRadar ―music technology developments, from software applications to electronic music hardware
Toronto Digifest: Showcasing Toronto’s digital media creativity, this festival includes presentations, hands-on demos, interactive exhibitions, workshops and panel discussions from digital professionals and academics.
Digital Media Summit: The Digital Media Summit attracts delegates from the worlds of entertainment, marketing, digital media and venture capital. This event focuses on effective branding, technology trends and digital media strategies for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Other prominent digital media conferences include:
- BanFF World Media Festival―a festival where media professionals can make contacts, find production partners and green-light new projects.
- Future of Television―an annual industry forum held in New York
- Future of Music Summit―founded by the Future of Music Coalition
- Digital Music Forum―a conference in New York for digital music thought leaders and music industry professionals
- Story World Conference―gathering of content creators, platform providers and entertainment industry leaders dedicated to exploring new business models and working across media boundaries.
- Thought leadership as a tech startup strategy.
- Education technology.
- Build a technology sales team that supports your market strategy and sales process.
- Using sales metrics to assess your sales performance and competitiveness.
- A strategy canvas: A tool for developing a differentiation strategy for technology products.