OMDC SUCCESS STORY: marblemedia
Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg wanted to build something new—a company that would think differently about how to connect with audiences and do so in a different way than traditional broadcasters. Long before anyone had ever heard of YouTube or the iPad, marblemedia was born.
In 2001, Bishop and Hornburg were already thinking about what handheld devices and tablets were going to do to television. Invited to the Banff Television Festival's Future Watch panel in 2001 to talk about it, they got a mixed reaction. Some audience members, Bishop recalls, thought they were crazy. Why, they asked, would anyone ever want to watch a film on their phone?
Who, indeed. Today, mobile media viewing is simply a fact of life, and marblemedia continues to look for new opportunities to connect with audiences. Yet despite all of the technological innovation in recent years, their vision is of content that is supported by innovative technology rather than vice versa. The ability to experience stories in new ways delights audiences young and old, but quality content is what keeps them coming back.
marblemedia's ideas were put into action in its 2006 project The Art of Seduction: Shorts in Motion. This mobile anthology of ten “micro-movies”, designed to be played on a mobile phone, lets users participate by creating and sending e-card messages. It also features built-in quizzes, advice columns, and guides. Co-produced with the National Film Board, Sundance Channel and presented by Bravo!FACT the project was nominated for an Emmy.
A great company starts with a great team. Having access to a superb talent pool in Ontario, and being able to work with other great companies and academic institutions that are based here, has benefitted marblemedia immensely. On any given day, Bishop and his team can connect with like-minded individuals in academia, broadcasting, finance, and government who see the value of cross-sector collaboration. This has enabled marblemedia—and the sector it's a part of—to thrive.
While government has been supportive at all levels, Bishop believes that Ontario “gets” new media and the other cultural industries. The province is forward-thinking, and agencies like OMDC are willing not just to go along with but to actively facilitate the kind of cross-collaboration that has made marblemedia so successful. Tax credits and supports provide needed continuity to keep the company's fifty staff employed full-time, rather than contracting on a project-by-project basis. Keeping the team's growing experience and skills within the company makes it stronger, allowing marblemedia to compete not just in Ontario and Canada, but abroad.
Co-founders Bishop and Hornburg still believe that technology may change, but good storytelling will remain. That vision, which launched a company from a dining-room table to an internationally-successful content creator, is a success story in itself.
“These are new times. We are pioneering new ways of connecting with audiences. We are really trying new things, and getting someone to invest that first dollar in an unproven idea is tough. But that's where great ideas come from! Having a supportive government who recognizes the value of incubation and collaboration allows companies like marblemedia to create those opportunities.”
Mark Bishop, Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia
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