DIGITAL MEDIA FROM THE INSIDE OUT: My focus is digital content -- production, distribution, collaboration, innovation, creativity. Some posts have appeared across the web (HuffPo, Tribeca's Future of Film, The Wrap, MIPblog, etc.). To receive these posts regularly via email, sign up for my newsletter here.


You Can’t Survive the InfoGlut without Filters. Herein I Share My Favorites

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the era of information glut, the crown goes to those with the best method of sorting, filtering, curating, prioritizing – in a word, ‘discovery.’

Five years ago I began to post my own favorites under the banner #NGIF – Nick’s Great Information Friday (bastardized #TGIF), a laborious curatorial chore that I could only sustain for a few months, suggesting that those who really cared about my info flow could follow @nickdemartino on Twitter.

Ironically, my clients at the Canadian Film Centre’s IDEABOOST have now asked me to provide a similar compendium called TLTR:BRA (too long to read: but read anyway) as part of a monthly newsletter. 

Until we get to the point where info discovery is entirely automated by AI robots, I find that I still spend a lot of time shaping the information flow that comes onto my screens every day. The good news is that there are some great tools to help – perhaps my own journey can help you save time and decrease anxiety. Let me know in the comments if you have better ways to find and sort.

By far the greatest improvement to my daily in-box has been my adoption of the Unroll Me app, which presents you with three choices for every email -- unsubscribe (that’s right!), leave in your inbox, or roll it up – the latter being a daily email you get that displays the front page in a scroll on mobile or desktop. On one account alone, I’ve unsubscribed to 316 accounts and rolled up 154 (though most don’t appear daily). It’s easy to manage and really unclutters my email life.

Aggregage offers a new way of finding content organized by vertical industries, such as these examples or Virtual Reality Pulse, a site and customized daily newsletter which showcases the best posts through a combination of peer engagement, machine learning, and human curation. I’ve subscribed to four verticals, and find that I no longer have to hunt down dozens of publications (even though I subscribe to many like VR Reporter, Upload VR, VR Scout)

Very few humanly curated sites are as useful to me as those in Jason Hirschhorn’s REDEF network, with daily blasts covering Media (most useful to me), Sports, Fashion, Music and Tech.

Click to read more ...


Prognostication: 2017

My thoughts about media and technology trends for 2017 as Chair of the IDEABOOST Investment Advisory Group.

Along with December’s holidays, the end of the year traditionally brings a predictable flood of prognostications and crystal-ball gazing from pundits and digerati. After such a tumultuous 2016, it may be advisable to exercise extra caution when trying to chart a reasonable set of expectations for 2017.

But chart we must, at IDEABOOST, which sits at the intersection of media, technology, finance and culture. Why? Because the entrepreneurial focus of our accelerator and related programs are all about the future – what opportunities will flourish in the near- and long-term future? What new markets will emerge that solve problems and disrupt old orders? What kind of innovations could propel a company’s success?

In recent years, accelerators around the work are betting on hot markets like the Internet of Things, big data analysis, SaaS platforms, financial technologies, and mobile apps --- reflected (perhaps coincidentally) among 2016 IDEABOOST investments.

Computer science and technology will power vast changes in the world’s business infrastructure with the growth of advanced machine learning, intelligent apps and devices, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain/digital ledgers and currencies, mesh systems and voice interfaces, and a host of new digital platforms. (See this post from Gartner and another from Forbes for more detail.) Buried within these “categories” are huge industry-disrupting developments like commercial drone and autonomous vehicles, peer-to-peer funds transfer, automated fish farms, and many others.

Click to read more ...


Looking for Community Partners for 'Pulse on VR' survey

My clients at the CFC Media Lab recently launched with OMERS Ventures and a host of partners, a study focused on the VR ecosystem in Canada and California. Titled Pulse on VR: A Workflow and Ecosystem Study, the study aims to identify the key players in this emerging industry and the primary workflows used to bring Virtual Reality (VR) to users. 

Click here to view and take The Survey

Click here to learn more about the study and to view the Press release

We would like to invite relevant organizations to become Community Partners of Pulse on VR. What this partnership entails is quite simple:

What you get:

  • Participation for your membership and stakeholders in a wide-ranging VR ecosystem study that will help put them on the map
  • Early access to findings of Pulse on VR
  • Early access to register for our new VR News Aggregator site called VIRTUAL REALITY PULSE 
  • Logo recognition as a Community Partner on most collateral materials, but most notably on the Pulse on VR website where we will publish an interactive map and/or visualization of our findings (Fall 2016)
  • Invitation to Pulse on VR events and launches

What we need:

  • Call to action email or campaign to your stakeholders and members to complete our Pulse on VR survey
  • Call to action social campaign to your followers to complete our Pulse on VR survey
  • Your LOGO
  • Information for at least 2-3 members of your organization so we can invite them to our events

If you are part of an organization that represents VR Content Creators and/or VR Technology Companies and think you would like to be a Pulse on VR Community Partner, please send me a note, and I'll set up a call with CFC chief digital officer Ana Serrano, who is spearheading this effort. 



The Here-and-Now of VR Innovation

Five great innovators in virtual reality from Canada joined me in New York for a great conversation, focusing upon the here-and-how of VR production during the Media Summit New York, a Digital Hollywood event.

“The VR Cutting Edge from Canada: A Look at VR, AR, and Immersive Entertainment from our Northern Neighbors” was a panel that lived up to its title. Here’s how I described the March 3rd event: As the market for new VR and immersive technologies explode, centers of innovation like Canada are making significant contributions, both creatively and technologically. With two of North America’s busiest film/TV production centers and arguably the deepest bench in 3D animation technologies in the world, Canadian artists, entrepreneurs and institutions are making waves in a market that requires both. Join Nick DeMartino, senior advisor to the Canadian Film Centre, and a stellar panel from north of the border to explore the cutting edge of entertainment.

Speakers all hailed from Canadian companies, with quite a range of experience.

C.J. is a senior member of the 60-person Toronto team that won the first Emmy given to a VR experience for its work on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. Ian is an innovative VR producer who joined the staff of the CFC, which is investing heavily in VR production (more details on that will become available soon). Kim is a legendary visual effects pioneer whose company Side Effects produces the industry-leading Houdini 3-D package, which is now being used not only for films, TV and games, but for virtual reality, as well. Les is a game designer whose passion for VR has led the production of some of the first VR experiences that leverage the Oculus social platform. Ben has jumped into VR to provide Globacore’s clients with amazing immersive experiences at trade shows, events, museums and other out-of-home environments.

These guys presented an engaging mix of theory and practice, which I found refreshing compared to many VR discussions, which concentrate primarily on monetization strategies and speculations on the market. 


2015: TV, Movies, Books & Digital - My year-end reviews all in one place

Over the past week, as has been my habit during the past few years, I've posted year-end reviews of my favorite media products (and trends) for 2015. If you missed the post, here are links to each of the blog posts. Bookmark, spread around, and send me your reactions, if you please.

Movies: 2015: A Fine Year for Cinema

Books: 2015: Great books that touched me

TV: 2015: TV’s Embarrassment of Riches

Digital: 2015: One Year in ‘Now’ Media

A milestone for me this year: honor from my peers.