Driven by efforts at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, Canada is becoming a leader in the global Digital Media (DM) and technology space. Canada is already recognized as a world leader in video-game development, animation and visual effects, and is poised to expand into other merging sectors. In a 2012 profile, the interactive digital media (IDM) space in Canada was estimated to employ 50,000 people and generate $6.5 billion in annual revenues.
Calgary is home to 118 head offices, the highest head office concentration per capita in Canada (FP500 2019 Database). Our HQ culture means that your services are in demand. Calgary’s corporate landscape creates consistent demands for digital advertising and e-learning services, as well as commercial digital content creation. Our diverse industry leaders will be your partners as you unlock the potential of doing business in Calgary.
Get more for less. Calgary is one of the most cost-competitive major cities in North America for operating in.
Calgary has a growing pipeline of technical and digital media talent. We have the talent you need and our education institutions are constantly evolving their programs to meet the needs of the New Economy. Our workforce is young, smart, productive and active.
Our current labour force:
|Occupation Description||Labour Force|
|Computer engineers (except software engineers & designers)||1,225|
|Information systems analysts and consultants||15,700|
|Database analysts and data administrators||1,600|
|Software engineers and designers||3,200|
|Computer programmers and interactive media developers||7,000|
|Web designers and developers||1,600|
|Graphic designers and illustrators||3,500|
|Graphic arts technician||125|
|Total Labour Force in Calgary||33,950|
|Category||Occupation Description||Labour Force|
|Visual and applied arts||
Original visual art
|Audio-visual and interactive media||
Film and video
Source: Statistics Canada 2017; Statistics Canada Calgary CMA, Census 2016
Maclean’s Magazine ranked the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary among the top ten universities for best computer science programs in Canada for 2018. The institutions and companies below are all playing a role in Calgary to develop top talent for an evolving technology-based economy.
|University of Calgary||SAIT||Mount Royal University||Bow Valley College||Alberta University of the Arts|
|St. Mary's University||Ambrose University||University of Lethbridge||ComIT||EvolveU|
|Lighthouse Labs||RoboGarden||Making Changes Association||Npower||Momentum|
Learn more about the institutions offering interactive digital media programming:
There are a multitude of resources to help companies accelerate growth. We’ve compiled a list of more than 30 angel investors and venture capitalists, plus over 45 grants, financing and funding opportunities in our business resources guide. Here are some key ones to look at:
High-speed connectivity is a key part of the infrastructure required for IDM companies. We have extreme bandwidth via a not-so-secret underground network of dark fibre that is available for lease. With high-speed city permitting and internet, you’ll be online in no time.
Video game development is a multi-billion dollar industry and it isn’t slowing down any time soon. The Entertainment Software Association of Canada reports that 23 million Canadians were playing video games in 2018. As a nation of gamers, we are well-positioned to promote the benefits of video games and video game technology.
Alberta is home to a wealth of small studios and indie developers in the gaming industry. The industry was put on the map in 1996 when the Edmonton studio BioWare released Shattered Steel, the first commercial game title to be made in Alberta. BioWare was one of the largest independent studios in Canada and was purchased by Electronic Arts (for $620 million) in 2017 (one of the largest tech acquisitions in Canadian history).
Other Alberta industry leaders include New World Interactive, QI Software Inc., Smartly Dressed Games, Mammoth XR, Red Iron Labs, Zugalu, Beamdog, Serious Labs, CodeHatch and XGen. Alberta Makes Games reports that there are more than 230 Alberta indie video game design and development members on Twitter alone (view the list). The Alberta Game Development Industry in 2015 report - stated that as of 2015 Alberta had grown to support 28 studios, employing over 425 full-time employees and was driving $52 million dollars in direct economic activity for the province, with the potential to grow much larger.
The Government of Alberta recognized that the video game sector was a vital subsector in the media production industries in Alberta and launched the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit in March 2018 to support the growth of the industry.
Calgary’s gaming ecosystem is experiencing rapid growth. From developers to players, here’s how the numbers stack up:
Get up to 165% cost savings on a gaming facility in Calgary. Learn more about the operating costs of making games in Calgary, contact us.
Calgary Expo Comics & Entertainment is a four-day pop culture convention held annually each spring in Calgary, AB with tens of thousands of attendees, celebrating animation, film, television, science fiction, fantasy and more.
Reboot Develop Red is the boutique game developers and games industry conference of North America, being held for the first time in Banff, AB this Fall 2019.
Interested in a career in game development or design?
You’ll be among good company. See some of the gaming activity coming out of Calgary:
Whether it’s feeding, fueling, healing, or moving, Calgary is helping solve the world’s problems through the adoption of transformative technologies. Digital transformation is quickly becoming the largest driver of new solutions and technology investments among Calgary businesses. It’s projected that Calgary’s Creative Industries sector will spend $1 Billion on digital transformation from 2019 to 2022 and Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR), AI Systems and Machine Learning have been labeled as some of the engines of growth.
There are over 25 companies in Calgary that are experts in immersive technology applications and VR/AR content creations, including Serious Labs, Red Iron Labs, VizworX, MAMMOTH XR, Scope AR, ZeroKey, DIRTT, Veerum and more.
In the global marketplace for digital media (video, music, games and e-publishing), revenues are estimated to reach US$115 Billion by the end of 2019, which does not included advertising – the fastest growing digital media (DM) category which is estimated to surpass US$300 billion by 2019. Alongside digital advertising – in another growing global sector also thriving in Calgary – the value of digital or ‘smart’ education is expected to grow from US$105 billion to US$447 billion by 2020.
In 2016, it was estimated that $489 million in GDP was generated in the province of Alberta by the Digital Media (DM) sector in Calgary. The sector supported 5,500 FTEs and generated $280.44 million in labour income. The DM sector is experiencing rapid growth, with no signs of slowing down.
Or HQ culture means that your services are in demand. Calgary’s corporate landscape creates consistent demands for digital advertising services and commercial digital content creation. Plus, the cost advantages and access to skilled talent, mean you’ll see the ROI on your CRO campaign in no time.
You’ll be among good company - our existing world-class digital media companies like Critical Mass, Evans Hunt, Robots and Pencils, AdFarm, NUUN Digital, Venture Communications, RedPoint Media Group Inc., Edelman, McCann and others are a testament to the active and mature digital media sector in Calgary. In a 2017 Calgary Digital Media Survey, conducted by Nordicity, local firms report an average annual revenue of $572,000, with 14% reporting more than $5 million in revenues. The survey also found that all companies expected growth in the next year or two, more than 27% of which expected significant growth of 40% or more. In Calgary, you can grow your business in a mature market where you can succeed on an international scale for long periods of time.
Growth of the advertising and marketing labour force in Calgary nearly doubled over the past decade and on average, Calgary DM companies are looking to hire nearly seven full-time workers. From Film, Life Sciences, Construction to Energy - our world-class talent will have the opportunity to work with you on a variety of clients as our city continues to focus on diversification.
Calgarians are entrepreneurial by nature, with a “make things happen” attitude, which is reflected both in the companies and attitudes of their founders.
Alberta has an existing reputation for world-class education, with a large cluster of Digital Media companies working in the education space. Elearning is a sector that is expected to grow from US$105 billion in 2016 to US$447 billion by 2020 and Alberta will see their faire share of the market, with an estimated 100 companies expected to be working in this space already.
Calgary is ideally positioned to be a hub of innovation in digital education thanks to its history of eLearning from organizations like Cybera, a provincial innovation leader, and Leara, who has experienced continued global success.