Toronto: CFC Embracing Start-Up Culture

Canadian Film Centre's new-media accelerator IdeaBOOST is helping early-stage ideas get off the ground -– such as one that would turn your smartphone into a broadcast radio station.

Slicon valley may be a global magnet for tech entrepreneurs and investors, but the Canadian Film Centre is positioning itself as a start-up machine for digital content breakthroughs.

A case in point is Kevin Kliman, a Toronto dentist-turned-digital producer looking to turn your smartphone into a broadcast radio station with an app called Instaradio. Kliman launched Instaradio via IdeaBOOST, a business accelerator that underpins the CFC’s digital strategy and international focus.
It’s the job of CFC chief digital officer Ana Serrano to ensure Kliman and other individuals and companies with early-stage ideas participating in IdeaBOOST reach consumers with a viable go-to-market product and strategy.

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“All of a sudden, for the first time, it’s about content creators being asked to have a relationship with their audience,” Serrano says of IdeaBOOST’s start-up culture, which uses social media and consumer feedback to define business models.

Shawn Hardin, the tech-focused founder and CEO of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Mind Pirate and a member of the IdeaBOOST board of advisers, agrees that digital media is more than apps and gadgets.

It’s really about how to think about designing new kinds of online experiences, applications for mobile experiences, and how to create a sustainable and high-growth business out of these new areas of opportunities,” says Hardin.

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That twin digital content and tech focus aimed at a global market has tech titan Google and Canadian broad-casters Shaw Media and Corus Entertainment already on board as early IdeaBOOST backers.

Elsewhere at IdeaBOOST, The Path, a fantasy web series from indie SmokeBomb Entertainment is examining how to best target a 16-to-34-year-old female audience. Says Christina Jennings, CEO of Smokebomb parent Shaftesbury Films: “What’s really great is the objective of IdeaBOOST is to test our creative assumptions for this demo with an audi- ence and a market, and to be flexible enough to adapt the creative by what we hear from the fans.”