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Reinventing Digital Media in 2017: StudioMDHR, Prodigy Game, BroadbandTV & Diply

Always a leader in technological innovation, entertainment and media industries around the globe provide consumers with great escapes, hours of fun, insightful commentary, and a place to spark conversations.

Plenty of entertainment is chalked up as “ways to spend time”, but many larger companies—like those on this list—are striving to bring more meaning, more thought, and better quality to the media and entertainment we ingest.

They take aim at leveraging the power of new technology in order to provide immersive and meaningful experiences for audiences though mobile experiences, virtual reality, gaming consoles, and in-person.

These are the 2017 finalists for the Canadian Innovation Awards’ Media & Entertainment category, representing outstanding achievement in media and entertainment innovation.

BroadbandTV

One thing that a life with social media has bred is an abundance of storytellers. There’s a lot of content out there, and some extremely talented creators will, unfortunately, go unnoticed in the crowds. This is why people like Shahrzad Rafati developed platforms and support systems with the purpose of propelling amazing content to the forefront.

Bolstered by a network of tens of thousands of content creators, and north of 30 billion monthly impressions, BroadbandTV recently opened a new space in Vancouver, B.C. for its 400 (and growing) employees. BBTV was even recently ranked as the third largest video property worldwide following only Google and Facebook.

“We’ve put ourselves at the centre of the communities and conversations that millennials are engaging with, powered it with our scalable technology and solutions, and built media brands that will shape the future of online video and entertainment.”

With their extensive platform of knowledge and abundance of creative resources to help grow a YouTube channel, BBTV is the network that has helped many big-name content creators reach the spotlight that they deserve. Made up of “diverse thinkers creating intuitive technologies and services for our partners,” BBTV has made an extensive impact on storytelling in today’s digital media market.

Along the way, BBTV has amassed a worth of at least “10 figures,” according to BBTV CEO Rafati, and the company sees itself heading towards amazing new horizons.

It’s no surprise that BBTV landed in the top 25 of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list and will continue to revolutionize the creation process of some of your favorite content producers the web over.

Diply

You’ve seen their work and you’ve probably replayed their recipe videos a hundred times. Well, you and over 68 million other social fans.

Diply dishes out fun and fresh stories, daily. Reaching upwards of five billion social media impressions and one billion video views monthly, they are, astonishingly, the 85th largest site in the United States.

But it’s truly their philosophy that sets Diply apart.

“At Diply, we are a community and we take pride in the fact that you belong to that community. It’s a place to laugh. It’s a place to inspire. It’s a place to share your best, most creative ideas. It’s a place where you belong. Who we are is because of what you’ve done.”

Noted as a “fabulous place to work”, Diply is on the leading edge of delivering both enviable careers and worthwhile social content. Diply was also ranked #1 on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list growing an astounding 92,881 per cent over the past four years.

Prodigy Game

Since the dawn of computers and digital entertainment, there has always been a strong focus on meaningful ways to entertain the youth of the world. Many will recall games like MathBlasters and ClueFinders cropping up during their malleable younger years, teaching us essentials in mathematics and problem-solving while also introducing the idea of “edu-tainment.”

Prodigy is the spark of a new generation and an evolution in how youth interact with games that can teach them new things.Not only does Prodigy play home to games that help grow over 1,200 different crucial math skills and cater to grades one through eight, but they also took care to ensure that their product didn’t fail any of its students.

“With a diagnostic test to place students in the correct grade, embedded assessments, and automatic differentiation, Prodigy ensures that each one of your students succeeds at their own pace.” 

What’s the most influential and important part of Prodigy’s program? It’s free, and “free forever” for teachers. It even boasts a built-in extensive reporting system.

In October of 2017, the Prodigy game reached over one million daily players and is used by 500,000 teachers for their grade one-eight students. The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 ranked Prodigy second—right behind the previously mentioned Diply—with a18,933 per cent growth rate over the over the past four years.

The minds behind Prodigy Game know that the course to a stronger math education is paved with knowledge-building activities and grand online adventures, so they want kids to get on their computer and adventure away.

StudioMDHR

What can be said about StudioMDHR (Studio Moldenhauer) that hasn’t already been said? It’s extremely difficult in today’s economy to make a hit video game. It’s even harder when your studio is essentially two people and a bit of their extended family.

Add to that equation the immensely difficult nature of their side-scrolling “shmup” multiplayer title, mix it with an aesthetic from a forgotten generation, and you might not have expected StudioMDHR’s Cuphead to be ranked as one of 2017’s most-anticipated and critically acclaimed games around the world.

The brothers Moldenhauer went to hell and back to ensure their vision came to life, and it paid off in a big way. During the 2017 Video Game Awards, Cuphead won awards for Best Independent Game, Best Art Direction, and Best Debut Indie, picking up five total nominations across the board. Even Canada’s Prime Minister got in on the action, sending a congratulatory tweet to the small team from rural Ontario.

“StudioMDHR is pushing the artistic production methods of creating video games by taking from the past and combining it with the future. By using traditional physical cel animation techniques from the 1930s, including hand penciling, hand inking, and colouring every frame at a full 24 frames per second animation rate, and combining them with modern filter techniques and fast twitch gameplay, we have managed to make what appears to be a seamlessly playable, instantly reactive, cartoon.”

In December, the studio announced that Cuphead had gone Double Platinum—selling more than two million copies across multiple platforms.

It was a phenomenal year for Canadian video game studios and Studio MDHR took the lead in proving that passion and effort breeds acknowledgement. Currently, Cuphead has a perfect 10/10 score on the massive gaming platform Steam, and boasts a 4.5/5 on Xbox, and a 4.6/5 on GOG. It also landed on shelves to rave critical acclaim, receiving more than a few perfect review scores, and has an 88/100 rating on Metacritic, a review amalgamator. Not too shabby from a couple of Oakville brothers.

Vote For Your Favourite

Which of these deserving, amazingly entertaining companies do you believe should win the 2017 Canadian Innovation Awards‘ Media & Entertainment Category? Make sure you vote for your favourites before February 2 at midnight to have your say in which companies should win in their respective categories.

The winners will be announced at a live gala on February 22nd at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

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