Study Finds Canadian Interactive Digital Media a Growth Industry, but is the Data Already Outdated?

A study of Canada's Interactive Digital Media (IDM) industry paints the picture of a continually growing sector held back largely by the unavailability of affordable money and skilled workers.

The nationwide Canadian Interactive Industry Profile 2011 (CIIP) released by the CIAIC, now in its third edition, found that IDM revenues increased 17% from 2008 to 2011, while conceding that the study's own definition of IDM has been revised and narrowed since its 2008 edition.   

The IDM sector in Canada is concentrated in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, supporting 26,700 full-time equivalent employees, with a total gross annual revenue of $3.8 billion.

While the IDM companies surveyed were bullish on their prospects in 2011, with 80% projecting at least 10% growth in the next one to two years and just over half projecting growth of 25% or more, certain core companies pointed to a lack of affordable capital in Canada as a limiting factor for more aggressive growth. These same companies also pegged a dearth of skilled management and sales personnel as a secondary factor limiting growth. The full 79-page report includes a chapter on skill gaps and other human resource concerns.

CIIP 2011 turned up some other interesting data points:

  • video games were the largest bread-winner for Canadian IDM companies, at 43% of total 2011 revenues;
  • the most popular development platforms were mobile devices, which were targeted by 75% of the companies surveyed;
  • with 57% of revenues in 2011 relating directly to export sales, Canada is a world-class exporter of IDM products and services   

It's not clear why the study bears a nearly two-year-old "best before" date from 2011, particularly when it profiles a rapidly-changing industry that mutates on a monthly basis; the 2006 edition of CIIP was released in 2006, and the 2008 edition was released in 2009. The study was released this week during the X-Summit component of the nextMEDIA conference, and was funded by the Cultural Human Resources Council, the Canada Media Fund, Canadian Heritage, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation.


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