Digital Media at the Crossroads

An Annual Conference on the Future of Content in Digital Media

The DM@X Program on January 28, 2017

The program for the conference has been organized to be informative, wide-ranging and provocative. A major focus will be on the Heritage Minister’s pending consultations on strengthening Canadian content creation, discovery and export in a digital world. Keynote speakers will also address technological disruption in the digital media sector, how to find and measure digital content, consumption and dollars, and the development of creative clusters. Guest speakers include key figures involved in Canada’s digital startups and industry experts focused on digital public policy.

For Ontario lawyers, this program contains 7.0 Substantive CPD hours


Saturday, January 28, 2017

8:20 a.m.


9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Introduction: Don McLean, Dean, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto

9:10 a.m.

Keynote Address: "Cultural Strategy in a Time of Rapid Change"


Charles Falzon, Dean, Faculty of Communications and Design, Ryerson University

The Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) at Ryerson is home to some of Canada's most innovative schools in media and creative industries. Charles Falzon is not only the Dean of FCAD but also a thirty year media industry veteran. He is also a member of the Department of Canadian Heritage's Expert Advisory Group on the future of Canadian content. In this keynote address, Charles brings together these three perspectives to discuss the responsibility, the challenges and the value of public policy and cultural strategy in a time of rapid change.

9:45 a.m.

Exploring Policy Options in the Audiovisual Digital World

This panel is a follow-up to the keynote address and will feature a debate on the Minister’s consultations. Will the borderless nature of the Internet defeat any attempts to support Canadian content other than through subsidy? Should we loosen the rules for Cancon in order to seek global markets? What are the opportunities and pitfalls?


Grant Buchanan, Partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto


John Anderson, Principal, Anderson Consulting, Ottawa; Author of "An Over-the-Top Exemption" study for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, Canada Media Fund

Reynolds Mastin, President and CEO, Canadian Media Producers Association

11:15 a.m.

Refreshment Break

11:30 a.m.

Technological Disruption in the Digital Media Sector

With technological change, we may see new approaches to global problems, including the digital divide, the gender gap and the changing nature of jobs. Entrepreneurs in the digital space discuss these changes in the Canadian context.


Kenneth Rogers, Associate Dean of Research at the School of the Arts, Media, Performance, and Design at York University


Vlad Dascalu, Partner, Head of Strategy, Pinch VR

Tammy Johns, Co-Founder,

Allen Lau, Co-founder, Wattpad

1:00 p.m.

Buffet Luncheon (provided)

1:30 p.m.

Luncheon Address: "Strengthening Canadian Content Creation, Discovery and Export"


Julia Johnston, Digital Media Entrepreneur, Toronto

The Minister of Canadian Heritage's consultation on the future of Canadian content in a digital world is now well launched across the country. In this luncheon address, one of Canada's most experienced digital entrepreneurs provides a unique perspective on what should be done to strengthen Canadian content in the system. Julia Johnston has seen it from all sides – as a communications lawyer, as a business advisor, as a media executive, as a chief operating officer, and as the co-founder of two internet companies. She will provide a personal view as to what she would do if she was the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

2:00 p.m.

How to Find and Measure Digital Content, Consumption and Dollars

This panel addresses three central problems for digital content: How do you discover it? How do you measure its consumption? And how can you derive revenue from it? While the initial focus of the discussion will be on measuring music consumption, the panel will also address the general problem of discoverability, and the measurement of consumption and revenue for video content, particularly Canadian content.


Catherine Moore, Adjunct Professor of Music Technology & Digital Media, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto


Jim Lidestri, CEO, BuzzAngle Music, New York


Barbara Motzney, Chief Consumer Officer and Executive Director, Consumer Affairs and Strategic Policy, CRTC

Rachel Noonan, Entertainment & Media Specialist

3:30 p.m.

Refreshment Break

3:45 p.m.

Creative Clusters: Can Canada Compete?

Many economists have focused on the concept of “creative clusters”. Canada has such clusters in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. But all too often the components of the cluster (music, film/TV, books, games) operate in silos that never talk to each other. This panel examines the links between the sectors and the need and role for umbrella organizations to coordinate policy.


Trina McQueen, Adjunct Professor, MBA Program in Arts and Media Administration, Schulich School of Business, York University


Sara Diamond, President, OCAD University

Peter Lyman, Senior Partner, Nordicity Group Limited

Chris Unwin, Founder and Executive Director, Free: A Creator Studio, Toronto

David Wolfe, Co-Director, Innovation Policy Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

5:15 p.m.

Closing Wrapup: Don McLean, Dean, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto

5:30 p.m.

Termination of Program