Canada’s Digital Strategy… still waiting…

Digital media has become a major platform for delivering content to users and audiences. While television is based on a one-to-many distribution platform, digital media is about one-to-one and interactive experiences for users.  Audiences today are watching TV shows on their computers, tablets and even smart phones, and interact with other users through related websites and social media.

Digital media content producers come from a diverse range of disciplines and deliver their content across multiple platforms.  Currently, TV  producers are required to incorporate a digital media strategy within their production applications for the Canada Media Fund.

Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy

In May of 2010, the federal government announced consultations on a ‘digital economy’ strategy for Canada. It identified five priority areas: a world-class infrastructure; business adoption of digital technologies to boost productivity and innovation; a digitally skilled workforce; successful Canadian companies supplying digital technologies to the world; and Canadian content on all digital platforms.  A number of interested parties, including content creators and distributors, participated in the discussion through submissions and consultations.

Yet more than 2 years later, we are still waiting.  Canada’s “digital economy strategy” has emerged as a source of considerable discussion and debate but so far few tangible results.  One of Canada’s leading academics in this area, Michael Geist notes that most of Canada’s trading partners have had digital economy strategies in place for years, developing policies to set goals for connectivity, guide investments in networks and digital infrastructure, and establishing legal frameworks to provide privacy protection and promote consumer confidence in electronic commerce.

However, in Canada, plans for the upcoming spectrum auction, which promises to bring new competition into the wireless and mobile broadband markets, has yet to be fully revealed. Legislative initiatives such as new privacy rules are stuck in neutral in the House of Commons. Anti-piracy laws are in limbo and the government faces pressure in implementing copyright legislation.

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