4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture
While Canada has always been at the vanguard of developing and accessing new technologies such as cable and satellite, their rapid succession and use in creating, transmitting and receiving cultural content is both destabilising and invigorating at the same time. New technologies allow new players to enter the cultural marketplace, increase competition among traditional players and expose vast amounts of digital content to interested consumers. In order to remain competitive, cultural industries face the challenge of using new technologies to develop new products and accessible platforms to maintain overall corporate market shares in both traditional and new media modes. The introduction of new communication technologies in Canada has often complemented rather than displace existing media and cultural formats. In light of the growing impact and growth of new technologies on the cultural industries, an internal DCH task force on new technologies was set up in 2005 with a two-year timetable. The CRTC completed its report on new technologies in 2006 (see chapter 4.2.3) and is currently engaged in a New Media Project Initiative on the implications of new media for content and access, the two central policy and regulatory concerns in broadcasting. The key questions from the perspective of the CRTC are, "Is it necessary to regulate commercial broadcasting delivered over the Internet and mobile devices? If so, is it possible and how should it be done?"
Examples of policy related issues identified and addressed by the government include:
The Internet exemplifies the impact of new technologies with its rapid creation of new opportunities for the dissemination of cultural and other forms of content. Creators, producers and distributors of Canadian content are pressed to secure prominent places on the Internet in the face of rapid, massive and global information flows (Internet participation trends are discussed in chapter 8.2.1).
Cultural policies have been influenced by constant technological innovation providing the opportunity of expanding content diversity and consumer access. Some current initiatives, pursuant to recommendations of the influential Task Force on Digitisation in the late 1990s, include:
The Canada Council for the Arts supports artists making creative use of interactive information and communications technologies and / or audio production technologies. Priority is given to proposals from artists whose work demonstrates the development of an individual style or expressive approach, as well as a commitment to questioning and expanding the art form. Recent examples of artists' work in new media include, but are not limited to:
While the Department of Canadian Heritage does not have many mechanisms to directly support film and video artists in the media arts tradition (media arts includes film, video, audio and new media), it does provide support to Canada Council's Media Arts Section's programme. The Department's Arts Presentation Canada Programme and Cultural Spaces Canada Programme contribute to access by Canadians to media artists and works through the funding of Media Arts Festivals and by contributing to the improvement of creation / production, and dissemination and presentation spaces. Canadian Culture Online's Canada New Media and New Media Research Networks Funds and New Media R&D Initiative provide support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in the cultural new media sector and not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations.