A night to celebrate the cream of digital

A SUPERHERO with a collection of sky rockets, the dusty outback of Northern Australia and a series of podcasts from North East historians all played their part in helping the region’s top new media firms win recognition for their digital excellence last night.

A SUPERHERO with a collection of sky rockets, the dusty outback of Northern Australia and a series of podcasts from North East historians all played their part in helping the region’s top new media firms win recognition for their digital excellence last night.

Leading lights from the region’s digital sector gathered at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle for the North East Digital Awards 2008.

Categories were separated into Digital Users, Suppliers and Innovators while titles included Best not-for-profit website, Best use of online film and Best example of game development.

And the far-reaching and large-scale nature of the projects which were recognised left no doubt in the minds of the few hundred people who attended, that the North East’s digital sector has the talent and expertise to compete on an international stage.

Sunderland-based Leighton Group won the Best online learning award for work on its contract with Tourism Australia’s Northern Territories arm.

In its entry to the award, it cited the smooth collaboration between Leighton’s in-house team and Tourism Australia’s staff – both at opposite ends of the earth – as a key factor to its success.

Meanwhile, Teesside University spin-out Twisted Studio won the Best example of game development award for its Sky Rockets to the Rescue game featuring children’s TV character Captain Mack.

The game was developed through a contract with kids TV brand CITV to promote its website and has since been completed by over 100,000 players. Tyne and Wear Museums proved it has taken history into the future by winning the Best podcasting/webcasting campaign award for its Culture Cast podcast magazine. The magazine features information on exhibitions, interviews with artists and delves into local history – the latest episode explores the origins of the rivalry between Newcastle and Sunderland.

The three flagship awards were all won by businesses which have prospered this year despite tough market conditions. Digital Innovator of the Year was awarded to Stockton-based e-commerce specialist Visualsoft, student rental firm StuRents walked away with the Digital User of the Year title while the flagship Digital supplier category was won by creative agency Different.

Alastair MacColl, head of Business Link – which supported the awards – told a packed-out conference hall: “Our finalists really showed that this region has an enormous amount of talent, we have a wealth of great businesses doing really great things here. Let’s really bang the drum for the talent we have in this region.”

Other winners included Newcastle- based Orange Bus, which won two awards for its use of online film and video and also for its use of rich media marketing.

The awards were headline sponsored by The Journal and Business Link North, funded by One North East and managed by the North East Regional Portal.

PAGE THREE: The full list of winners.

North East Digital Awards 2008 - the winners

Digital Users

Website Awards

Best B2B website: Direct Holiday Bookings - Direct Holiday Bookings Website
Best B2C Website: StuRents - StuRents
Best eCommerce Website: Fifiefofum Ltd - FiFieFoFum website
Best Example of Accessibility: VONNE - VONNE website
Best Not-For-Profit Website: Teesdale Community Broadcasting Limited - Radio Teesdale
Best Public Sector Website: Nexus - Nexus Website

Marketing Awards
Best Search Marketing Campaign: Makoosh - Makoosh Search Engine Optimisation
Best Social Media Optimisation Campaign: Metro Radio - Sweet
Best Podcasting/Webcasting Campaign: Tyne and Wear Museums - Culture Cast
Best User-Generated Content: Which Interventional Device - Which Interventional Device

Creative Awards
Best Use of Online Film and Video: Orange Bus - Orange Bus Promo Video


Digital Suppliers

Website Awards

Best B2B Website: Website Promotions Ltd - Durham Lifting Ltd - Web Development & Marketing
Best B2C Website: Pearsons - sector 1 jobs website
Best Public Sector Website: Different - Visitor Facing Regional Tourism Website*
Best Not-For-Profit Website: Thap Ltd - TJFA League Website
Best eCommerce Website: Website Promotions Ltd - Old Mill Apartments - Web Development & Marketing
Best Example of Accessibility: EAGA - Switchover help scheme

Marketing Awards

Best Search Marketing Campaign: Mediaworks - 4Golf.com - Online Travel
Best Mobile Marketing Campaign: Mobious - Coors Light Pitcher and Piano
Best Internet Marketing Campaign: Twisted Studio - Advokate Project
Best Social Media Optimisation Campaign: Better Brand Agency - Connecting with people through our digital footprint

Creative Awards

Best Online Learning: Leighton - Tourism Australia Northern Territories (Red Centre / Kakadu)
Best Software Solution: Thap Ltd - Take Publishing Tool and Take Comics Website
Best Use of Online Film and Video: Leighton - Sage 50 Payroll Product Tour


Digital Innovators
Website awards: Best Use of Advanced Practices in Web Development
Profile Analysis - i-snapshot: Best Example of Interactive Website

Marketing Awards
Best Use of Mobile Phone Technology: Barnard Castle Vision - The Box
Best Use of API: Visualsoft - Goofbay - Utilising eBay API
Best Use of Rich Media Marketing: Orange Bus - Cinemoi

Creative Awards
Best Advanced Online Learning: North Tyneside Council - North Tyneside Learning Platform
Best Innovative Use of Internet Communication: Applaud Web Solutions - Vestri Extranet Platform
Best Online Security Solution: Rozmic Wireless Limited - emailcloud
Best Example of Game Development: Twisted Studio - Captain Mack - Sky Rockets To The Rescue



David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer