Blogs

July 2018

CMC 2018: Report – Disruption – What’s Next?

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2018 2:55pm by Sian Reed

As the landscape of Children's TV changes, what is next for the companies involved? Takeaway: • Diversifying platforms still need great content and engagement. • Most viewing is still done via traditional TV but binge-watching tends to be on-demand. • Knowing your audience and researching thoroughly is the key to making content that lasts. Detail: Jon Watts, MTM and host, jumped right in by asking the panellists to discuss changes to the UK market in recent years. All three panellists agreed that the resulting factor has been the way in which we consume content. Alison Bakunowich, SVP general manager at Nickelodeon, thought that there had been three main changes: a creative generation, portable devices and on-demand services. “We’re in the…

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CMC 2018: Report – Playground

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2018 1:31pm

Based at the Millennium Gallery, the Playground is a week-long interactive art exhibition held every year at the Children’s Media Conference, curated for 5-12 years olds (but enjoyable for all ages). The theme for this year’s Playground is Music and Response, with a host of auditory, interactive experiences to enjoy. Takeaway: • Projects focused on bringing together technology and play. • Games to encourage noisy play and music making. • Listen Manja Ebert’s immersive interpretation of internet culture’s impact on teenagers today. Detail: Open to all, and completely free, the Playground is part of the Children’s Media Conference that kids and adults alike will not want to miss. With work from a host of artists across the UK, there is…

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CMC 2018: Report – Opening Keynote

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2018 4:17am

Acclaimed children’s poet, broadcaster, columnist and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen took to the Crucible stage for the opening keynote, to ask how children’s media can encourage creative and inquisitive thinking and safeguard children in the digital world. Takeaway: Rosen expressed concerns that the education system teaches children only how to pass tests and minimises children’s ability to ask questions of the world around them. He discussed how the digital media world is largely unregulated and can be a dangerous place for children. He suggested that the children’s media industry needs to work together to find solutions and create safe spaces for children online. Detail: Rio-Leanna, winner of CBBC’s ‘Got What It Takes’ and one of the 12 changemakers at…

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CMC 2018: Report – First Timers’ Reception

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2018 2:42am

As sunshine poured through the windows of the Crucible Theatre, this year’s newcomers mingled over drinks, excitedly awaiting advice from seasoned CMC veterans on how to successfully navigate their first Children’s Media Conference—and perhaps something arguably more enticing: the opportunity to win one of four goody bags provided by Disney. Below are panel’s five top tips and insights into how to squeeze the best experience out of your short time at this year’s conference: Rick Adams: “Mix, meet and learn from each other’s presences, experiences, smells, whatever”. Christian Hughes: “Take every opportunity you can. Go out there and do it”. Sharna Jackson: “Go to a session you wouldn’t normally and go to the Mercure Hotel at the end of the…

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What’s Next for UK Kids? – A Message from Tom Watson MP

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2018 1:33am

Shadow Culture Secretary and deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson MP sent this message to CMC delegates ahead of the 4 July opening Question Time session policy debate in Showroom Cinema 4 at 9.30 am. Firstly, my apologies for not being able to attend this year's Children's Media Conference. The work you do is at the core of inspiring our young with wonderful tales, fantastical journeys and, so importantly, educational opportunities. It seems particularly poignant that this week saw the passing of Peter Firmin, one of the great creators of children's programming, who has inspired millions and millions of children. It was quite remarkable that just three years ago my all-time favourite of Peter's programmes, The Clangers, was…

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CMC 2018: Report – International Exchange

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2018 12:56am by Chris Colman

Each year the first day of CMC orbits around the International Exchange, an all day market event, divided into morning and afternoon blocks, in which UK and international buyers, sellers, broadcasters, distributors, producers, writers and everything in between collide for whirlwind 15-minute meetings. The 2018 International Exchange was the biggest yet, with 155 registered delegates, seeing it outgrow last year’s already sizeable Millennium Gallery and relocate to the historic Sheffield Town Hall.  On a beautiful sun-kissed morning, the Town Hall’s Mandela Room was already abuzz by 9am.  The CMC has a stalwart following, many of whom return every year, and these early conversations had a feel of old friends catching up, while newer faces collected their badges and found their…

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CMC 2018: Report – CMC SkillBuilder: Building a Pitch

Posted on: Wednesday 04 July 2018 12:30am by Tom Jordan

An esteemed panel of experts guided delegates through the daunting world of pitching, putting would-be pitchers through their paces in a round-table format and offering invaluable advice from a diverse range of industry sectors. Takeaway: ·     A good pitch is all in the preparation. ·     Pitching is about your idea, but it is also about you and the conversations that might develop. ·     Short is sweet – commissioners can sit through more pitches in a fortnight than you are likely to give in a lifetime.  Detail: They said this session would be ‘intensive’  – and they weren’t joking! Over the course of four hours, delegates were schooled hard in the art of putting together an eye-catching pitch. The process was simple, but hugely…

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CMC 2018: Report – CMC SkillBuilder: Building a Bible

Posted on: Tuesday 03 July 2018 11:24pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaway: ·     The best bibles don’t tease the broadcaster, they show that you can do the job. ·     Collaboration is about finding people who understand your style. ·     The most effective pitchers are magicians - they have passion, they have vision for the pipeline and most importantly they are adaptable. Detail: Alison Norrington, CEO of Story Central, kicked off the session on Building a Bible with a challenge to all workshop attendees. Think of your audience in terms of the literary archetype rather than the industry standard metric of age. Who is the hero? The trickster? The wise person in and viewing your story? Whilst the wise person stereotypically sports a beard like Gandalf, they might also be a six year old boy…

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CMC 2018: Preview: It’s Alive!

Posted on: Tuesday 03 July 2018 3:31pm by Lucy Gill

Wednesday 4th July 2018, 11:00 - 12:00 HUBS Common Room Artificial Intelligence – has it hit your radar yet? If not, it really should have! The opportunities are endless, exciting and inspiring. It’s definitely time to engage. I have to admit that until recently I’d really given Artificial Intelligence (AI) very little thought beyond the world of Sci-Fi movies. However, I don’t know about you, but in the last few months it just keeps cropping up, whether it was Alexa becoming increasingly commonplace or news of auto-generated inappropriate kids YouTube videos. It wasn’t just in techy spheres either, even my totally non-techy husband mentioned it which really did shock me into paying more attention. So, I took the only sensible…

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CMC 2018: Preview: Podcasts – The New Big Thing

Posted on: Tuesday 03 July 2018 3:26pm by Kate Ockenden

Thursday 05 July 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm HUBS The Stage Do you listen to podcasts? If so, you are definitely not alone. Podcasts are perfectly packaged parcels of audio covering a range of subjects and genres, that you can listen to whenever you like and wherever you like. They can be consumed wherever you go - a world of on-demand audio that many of us are falling in love with.  The upward trend for podcast listening is now being passed to our children, who are happily absorbing podcasts on car journeys, as part of daily school life, or sitting at the kitchen table doodling on scrap paper whilst the other half of their brain is engaged in a gripping sonic tale.  Podcasts are…

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CMC 2018: Preview: Is the internet really broken?

Posted on: Tuesday 03 July 2018 2:44pm by Nick Crossland

Wednesday 4th July 2018, 14:10 - 15:10 Showroom Cinema 2 Last year James Brindle wrote an article “Something is wrong on the internet", pointing out some uncomfortable examples of online algorithms going awry. The part that gained most attention highlighted the disturbing trend of thousands of YouTube videos containing favourite kids characters in inappropriate, disturbing and dangerous situations. Parents, producers and the tabloid press were understandably up-in-arms about how this could have happened. But was this a one-off error; an out-of-control algorithm; or was it symbolic of something more fundamental being amiss not on the YouTube platform, but with the internet as a whole? The commercial realities and sheer scale of the modern internet mean that human oversight of every…

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CMC 2018: CMC and Gender Diversity

Posted on: Monday 02 July 2018 6:02pm by Olivia Dickinson

Olivia Dickinson on CMC and Gender Diversity I’ve been involved with the CMC for over five years and this year I’m exec producing two panels: Learning – What’s Happening?and Learning What’s Next?  One of my key concerns is the visible representation of women and women’s voices in the learning and kids’ content industry in general and at the CMC itself. This year the CMC is nearly there with a balance of men and women: of the Changemakers 7 are women, 5 are men; there are 22 women moderators and 26 men; there are 106 women speakers and 118 men. But: gender equality is not just for Christmas. We need to be thinking about how we ensure that in ongoing years…

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June 2018

CMC 2018: Preview: What A Relief!

Posted on: Friday 29 June 2018 5:16pm by Chris Halliday

Creative Industry Tax Reliefs, have you heard of them? If not, you should’ve! The tax reliefs are easy and accessible, as well as being available to any size of project. The tax reliefs have been a welcome and successful incentive to bolster the children’s creative sector, helping to make the UK competitive in an international market and an attractive place to do business. As funding remains a tough battle to get hold of within the creative industries, the UK’s tax reliefs are a key source of finance to put into your programme’s budget. In this panel session on Wednesday 4 July (14:00 - 15:00) in the HUBS Common Room, we'll be joined by seasoned producers sharing their knowledge on using the tax reliefs for…

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CMC 2018: Preview: The F Word

Posted on: Friday 29 June 2018 4:41pm by Ed Moline

Failure: The Secret Ingredient Of Success, 2:10 Thursday 5 July - Showroom Cinema 3 Netflix was once struggling so much that a buy-out by Blockbuster seemed like the best option. Now it is reported to be worth more than Disney. Love Island was axed in 2006, 9 years later it came back to be one of the biggest shows in British broadcasting. And in 2013, Meghan Markle was losing at love having just divorced. It’s safe to say she’s bounced back on that front. Often failure is the prelude to a bigger success and yet instead of embracing it as part of the process on the path to achievement, we are conditioned to fear and loath failure. In 2018 during the…

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CMC 2018: Preview: The Making of ‘Gudrun: The Viking Princess’

Posted on: Friday 29 June 2018 2:24pm by Mick Cooke

Mick Cooke from Children's Media Network Scotland explains their choice of creative case study for CMC 2018 Q: How do you turn hundreds of hours of natural history footage into an award winning preschool series? A: Well you could start by adding a nine year old princess and 25 vikings… Such was the ingenious tactic employed by Maramedia when creating Gudrun: The Viking Princess for CBeebies. Gudrun…is Maramedia’s first foray into children’s media. The company are better known for producing natural history programmes featuring the talents of David Attenborough and Ewan McGregor. This transition to kids’ media was made easier by bringing in Simon Parsons, who was Head of Childrens’ at BBC Scotland for six years. After that he went on to…

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May 2018

CMC 2017: What has the CMC ever done for me? From BA to Ball Pit

Posted on: Tuesday 15 May 2018 3:24pm by Bethan Cook

Bethan Cook was a volunteer at CMC 2017, who won the Disney competition to visit for a day. During the summer of 2017, my second year working towards a BA (Hons) Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University was coming to a close. Only one year to go before it’s all over! As I was soaking up the sun and enjoying my last summer of freedom, it suddenly dawned on me…what do I want to go in to after I graduate? I’d had plenty of work experience, but the career opportunities when studying journalism is so vast - do I want to work in marketing or television? Social media or web? Communications or film? The opportunities were endless, however…

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April 2018

CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Don’t Forget the Creator

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 11:35pm by Simon Bor

John Lomas-Bullivant quizzed the people behind the new Disney Junior show: 'Claude' - a successful adaptation of the already popular series of books by the same name. He introduced the creator, author and illustrator, Alex T Smith, and asked him how he came up with the original idea for 'Claude'. Alex said that it came from a doodle in his sketchbook, a small plump dog in shiny shoes -  with a sock as his best friend. His influences were not only the comedy he was brought up with, such as ‘Allo ‘Allo and the Carry On films, but his accident prone grandfather. It all came i=out relatively fully-formed. He put together two pages of illustration and some written work and sent…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Disruptive Publishing

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 11:17pm by Simon Bor

The not so "tongue in cheek" title of the session highlighted two companies who have not taken the traditional route into publishing. Moderator, Stephanie Barton saw parallels between the two companies. Both have only been around for a few years, both have a direct root to their customers, both cater for the under twelves and both have been on 'Dragon’s Den'! Neither, though, had a background in publishing. Jonny Pryn was one of the founders of One Third Stories which is just two years old.  The idea was to publish a language picture book, where (originally French) words were gradually added to the English text throughout the story. A slick Kickstarter presentation was made and the company found it had…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Emotion Sells! Unlocking the Power of Family and Reading

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 11:05pm by Simon Bor

Even though children’s book sales are at a high point at the moment, Egmont’s Cally Poplak told us that their research indicated the figures for kids reading for pleasure were down on five years ago. Now 30% of children read independently and 36% are read to. The session gave us overviews of research being used or with potential to encourage the growth of the reading habit - from a variety of perspectives. Dr Barbie Clarke of Family Kids and Youth, and Jessica Bondesson, Children’s School Manager at IKEA, presented research conducted with children in Germany, China and the UK, that showed how the type of lighting in children’s bedrooms effected their moods.  IKEA take children seriously, calling children: ‘The most…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: Make an Exhibition of Yourself – Museums as Brand Partners

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 10:47pm by Simon Bor

Abigail Ratcliffe, Group Head of Licensing at the Science Museum, Helena Jensen. Head of Commercial Intellectual Property at the Natural History Museum and Lauren Sizeland, Head of Business Development & Licensing at the V&A, are three people who sit between the commercial world and the institutions they represent. Moderator, Tim Collins, from The Brand Director, wanted to know how these two very different worlds can work together. It seems there’s an increasing willingness for publicly-funded institutions to engage with the commercial sector - the popularity of characters and brands is valuable.  Abigail thought that  year-on-year reduction in funding has driven commercial cooperation. It has made the museums more outward looking. The example of Clarkes sponsoring an exhibition of shoes at…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2018 – Session Report: The Power of Brand Partnerships

Posted on: Sunday 15 April 2018 7:07pm by Simon Bor

Before introducing the panel, moderator Eric Huang, of Made in Me, said that the relationship with digital had already changed for publishing There was less panic about books being overtaken by digital content than a couple of years ago. In fact, the children’s sector of book publishing is bigger than ever. The first speaker was Julia Posen from Walker Books, one of the first publishers to have in-house licensing and media production divisions. When asked if this increased revenue, Julia said it was complex, because of the number of staff needed in house. However, their marketing budgets can be used across all areas of a property which was a bonus. Paul Denton has organised immersive exhibitions at the Southbank Centre that…

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November 2017

Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 4: Pipelines and Workflow

Posted on: Friday 17 November 2017 2:38pm by Kath Shackleton

How can studios manage their assets and workflow on ever more complex productions? The data generated by digital animation is limitless - there can be in excess of 200,000 assets on a production. This session attempted a whistle-stop tour of just some of the tools out there to help studios to manage productions. Andy Wyatt, from Toon Boon, a Canadian company, working across 120 countries, showcased their latest software. Toon Boon Producer helps studios to manage assets in a user-friendly way that's easy to set up without coding skills. Producer integrates effectively with Toon Boon Harmony and Storyboard Pro, but it can also work with other software. It offers production tracking and workflow control. The only limit on the software is…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Training and Skills

Posted on: Friday 17 November 2017 2:35pm by Kath Shackleton

Training and Development Consultant Belinda Peach, introduced the fantastic new array of opportunities for apprenticeships.  The government have set ambitious targets of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. There are ever generous incentives and subsidies on offer to help employers take on apprentices of all kinds. Apprenticeships provide an exciting opportunity, to develop new young staff tailored exactly to the needs of your company.  Apprenticeships are also great for those keen to advance the Diversity agenda, by enabling a different kind of young person to bring their voice to the Creative Industries. You can hire apprentices in all areas of your business including PR, admin and marketing. However, there are exciting new animation specific apprenticeship standards currently being developed, there are two new…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Case Study 2: What’s the Hook?

Posted on: Friday 17 November 2017 2:31pm by Helen Dugdale

What happens to your series once it's been signed sealed and delivered to a broadcaster? The panel used the phenomenal success of the 'Go Jetters' as a case study. Moderator: Westley Woods Speakers: Tim Jones, Creative Director for BBC Creative Kate Fawcett, Marketing Exec, BBC Marketing and Audiences Adam Redfern, Series Producer, ‘Go Jetters’ Takeaways: Make sure you create a back-story to your series, you don’t have to use it straight away, keep it on the back burner. BBC Creative brings all marketing in-house and makes it easier for all aspects of the team to work together to make stronger propositions. Go-Jetters is a co-production with the BBC Worldwide. It’s one of their biggest commercial products and a flagship brand…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 6, Ten Things You Need To Know About VR

Posted on: Friday 17 November 2017 12:06pm by Catherine Trewavas

An expert panel discussed the future of VR, the platforms it lives on and the opportunities it offers to the UK animation industry. Takeaway: Ensure storytelling is at the heart of VR projects Unlock creative possibilities as the technology develops Using additional technology such as SubPac systems can make experiences even more immersive Detail: Professor Andy Miah introduced the VR session on behalf of The University of Salford. He described the surge in activity in this area over the last year and encouraged members of the audience to test out the technology using Samsung VR headsets that were passed around. The panel then discussed the latest developments in VR and looked to the future, debating what may lie ahead for…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 3, Working With China

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 6:32pm

As the market in China begins to open up for UK writers, animation producers and distributors, the panel considered what the challenges are of working with this complex territory Takeaway: Meet in person and talk with companies to build strong relationships. Keep the relationship at the front of everything you do. Use an agent or advocate in China to aid discussions and negotiations. China has a genuine will to create high quality content, to spread their culture and have a fascination with Western culture. Commerce and government are completely intertwined. Enormous numbers of potential partners within a sophisticated market. Detail: The panel Tony Humphreys, DIT (Chair) – moderator Oli Hyatt, Blue Zoo Animation Jon Rennie, Cloth Cat Animation Helen Howells,…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Case Study 1: Print to Screen, Periodical to Platform: the Beano Story

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 6:13pm

Chris Rose describes the Beano journey from everybody's favourite comic to a modern media brand and a platform for entertainment content. Takeaway: The UK's longest running comic has harnessed its digital platform to increase print sales. How updating the characters of Dennis and Gnasher have aligned them with today's world. Unity between the comic team, digital team and trend-spotters create strength and success. Detail: Moderator and writer Alex Collier introduced the session by describing the huge impact the Beano has had on him. "I absolutely loved the Beano and all I ever wanted to do was work for the Beano," he said. "I worked for Viz which owes a huge debt to the Beano." He said that he recently wrote…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 2, State of Play: Games Up North!

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 4:49pm

This session discussed how programmers, animators, artists and musicians are coming together to once again create world class games in the North Takeaway: 2016: Global spend was £100bn on games industry in UK. Manchester is the biggest city outside of London for game developers. The North has a strong heritage in making games and is a hub of world class creative talent. UK universities need to offer specific courses – there are very specific skill-set shortages. Marketing skills should be built into courses so graduates know how to make money. Analytics systems are vital in order to make money from game developing. Visibility and exposure of games as well as putting the right tools in the right hands will see…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Cosgrove Hall Archives

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 2:41pm by Helen Dugdale

The Cosgrove Hall archives are now on display, thanks to curator Westley Wood – and he's looking for support to continue the project. Takeaway: The Cosgrove Hall Archive is made up of 200 complete production pieces, figures and sketches from forgotten shows, and is currently on display at Sale Waterside Centre. In 2018, Cosgrove Hall Archive is set to become a charitable trust and is looking for deep-pocketed donors! Westley is now looking for designers, filmmakers and app developers to get involved. It’s part of our collective culture – so, support it! Detail: The Cosgrove Hall Films archive is one of the most significant contributions to the development of British animation and children’s television, and is currently housed at Sale…

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Manimation 2017: Report – Panel 1, Europe: Potential & Pitfalls 10.05-10.45am

Posted on: Thursday 16 November 2017 1:21pm by Helen Dugdale

A discussion about Brexit, what’s known, what’s suspected, what’s feared and where the opportunities lie. Takeaway It’s about early planning and scenario planning to try and predict the negotiations in Europe. Animation UK is leading the case to increase our tax breaks with key competitors. Creative industries in the UK is worth £87 billion. European culture is much better at putting emphasis on art, culture, and creativity. We have to do a lot of work with schools and getting kids into companies to raise the standard of the talent pool. Detail Moderator: Kate O’Connor (Animation UK) Speakers: Phil Chalk (Factory) Louise Cornally (Brown Bag) Phil Dorbee (Jellyfish Pictures) Tom Van Waveren (Cake/Animation in Europe) The panel gave their insight and opinions…

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Manimation 2018 Sponsors

Manimation is supported by National Lottery funds awarded to ScreenSkills from the British Film Institute to deliver its Future Film Skills programme.

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