Canadian firm sold on cell phones

IThentic takes short-form content to next level

TORONTO — Watching her teenage daughter favoring her mobile phone over TV convinced Canuck producer Catherine Tait that it was time to go digital.

That was in June 2006 when Tait, former senior executive at Salter Street and co-founder of New York-based TV producer and consultant Duopoly, joined with two other longform producers to launch iThentic, a mobile and Internet content company which, rather than seeing digital media as a TV add-on, are making short-form content the main course. The other founders are Duopoly co-helmer Liz Manne and 1409 Entertainment prexy Al Cattabiani.

In May, Toronto-based Barna-Alper Prods. bought a 50% equity stake in the company for an undisclosed sum.

IThentic, which streams short-form content online and onto mobile phones via Cellfish Media in the U.S. and Telus in Canada, is unveiling a 2007-08 slate that includes series “Global Mobile” produced with San Francisco-based ITVS Intl., “Green Minutes,” co-produced with ASCAP, and such inhouse fare as “Hot or Not?” and “Reel Stand-up,” featuring comics like Margaret Cho and Erin Foley.

All episodes are three minutes or less. Most are professionally produced, either inhouse or by partners like the Canadian Film Center, Independent Feature Project, ITVS, LinkTV, and SXSW.

The company also accepts third-party work, but Tait says the big difference between iThentic and sites like YouTube or Heavy.com is iThentic’s higher quality and rights clearance threshold.

“We’re trying to be what Miramax was to theatrical distribution 25 years ago,” she says. “iThentic aspires to be a tastemaker in the mobile and video space. Rather than the platform that everyone goes to, like YouTube, we are more of a boutique destination site with quality content that someone else has already sifted through.”

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