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This article was published 14/3/2011 (3746 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
MANITOBA'S interactive digital media industry has embarked on an ambitious three-year project aimed at growing the industry and helping local firms establish a bigger presence on the world stage.
The three-phase effort is being undertaken with the help of $433,000 in federal funding announced in Winnipeg on Monday by Lynne Yelich, federal minister of state for Western Economic Diversification.
New Media Manitoba (NMM), a not-for-profit association that supports the interactive digital media industry in the province, is spearheading the effort.
NMM executive director Kevin Hnatiuk said the industry in Manitoba is fragmented, with a lot of one- or two-person firms.
He said no one knows for sure how many firms and workers there are -- NMM estimates 300 to 350 companies and 900 to 920 workers -- what their specialties are, or even what they get paid.
So the first phase, already underway, involves an industry survey to get a handle on all of that, he said, and to identify strengths and any gaps in services.
The second phase will be to develop a strategy for building on those strengths, filling the gaps and growing the industry. It will be developed with input from industry players and representatives of government, business and education.
The third phase will involve implementing the new growth and marketing strategy and helping local firms grow. That includes helping them with training, with commercializing their products and services, improving their business models and practices, and becoming export-ready.
"What I love about this is we're creating our own destiny," Hnatiuk said. "The new media in this province is entering a new phase... "
An official with one of the province's largest new media firms -- Tactica Interactive Communications -- also hailed the project.
"The best way Manitoba companies can compete internationally is if we have a focused provincial new media strategy that emphasizes economic development, skills development and collaboration," said Kevin Glasier, Tactica's producer and creative lead. "It will mean big things for Manitoba for years to come, and Tactica can't wait to be a part of it."
Glasier said Tactica collaborated with two other local firms -- Merit Motion Pictures and Complex Games -- in developing an award-winning interactive video game for the CBC documentary miniseries One Ocean.
While there are plenty of talented firms and workers locally, Glasier said it's often difficult to identify the right ones to collaborate with on big projects like the One Ocean game.
"We don't know everybody who's out there," he said, so it will be a big help if NMM can develop a comprehensive list of industry players.