Blogs

July 2019

CMC 2019: Report – Research 5 & 6

Posted on: Wednesday 24 July 2019 12:55am

Research 5 and 6 focused on the trends in familial co-consumption of content and possible ways to improve con-consumption experiences. In today’s media landscape, digital media dominate daily habits for both children and adults. Research 5 looked at how grandparents fit into the picture of children’s playtime. Additionally, it examined how the difference in play styles between the generations could be reconciled with today’s technology. Research 6 talked about trends in familial co-viewing of content and attitudes of parents and children in different activities. Takeaways: Grandparents are increasingly likely to join in on digital gaming Smart toys are a really good way to bridge that gap Parents are feeling guilty about not spending enough time with their children TV is…

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CMC 2019: Report – Are the Robots Coming for our Children?

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 1:01pm

There is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having an increasing impact across a wide range of industries. This session explored both the opportunities for AI in children’s industries, from robots to marketing campaigns, as well as the risks and ethical dilemmas this presents. In such an exciting and fast growing area, how do we ensure as an industry that we don’t cross the line? Takeaways:  Applications for AI across children’s media are fast emerging, from robots that support early language development to deep analysis providing audience insights However, there are also numerous potential risks and ethical concerns The panellists highlighted existing guidelines such as those from the European Commission and called for more research, discussion and rules both…

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CMC 2019: Report – Media Medicine

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 12:54am by Michelle Jones

Media Medicine used case studies to illustrate the various ways in which it's possible to make a difficult and sometimes disturbing topic not only palatable, but fun and engaging for the younger audience. Takeaways: Play is the best way to educate children of all ages and get these difficult facts across to them Kids don’t want information to be dumbed down and getting the right mix of fact / educational and Entertainment is a challenge and ever-changing. When kids are ill they age down slightly and are happy to cuddle a teddy bear – they want information to be simple to make them feel better….. Play, fun and entertainment can be used across all media – children learn in different ways and all information should…

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CMC 2019: Report – VR and AR Storytelling for Kids

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 12:38am by Jess Percival

The ways children interact with the world around them is changing fast. With many children preferring to watch content on a mobile device, such as a tablet, than they do traditional TV, there are a lot of new possibilities that comes with having a device in your pocket. Takeaways: Use music and audio to engage and guide Create an emotional connection with the characters Let kids interact, touch, stamp and more - they want to DO stuff The testing phase is crucial - you never know how kids will react Detail:  The differences between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are big. AR creates a little bit of magic in your reality, whereas VR allows you to experience a completely different…

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CMC 2019: Report – Merging Digital and Physical Experiences 

Posted on: Saturday 06 July 2019 10:51pm by Helen Dugdale

Merging Digital and Physical Experiences was a friendly and informal panel discussion looking at the way real-world play and digital play are now entwined. The panel discussed how to help some parents to overcome their resistance to the world of digital as it is now linked to many of their children’s toys. The panel explored the challenges, possibilities and experiences of working in this space. Takeaways: Children use coding to come up with real-world problems and digital solutions A big challenge is communicating to parents that digital isn’t evil. 70% of girls are more interested in learning to code which is a pattern replicated around the world. Detail:  To kickstart the hour, moderator Laerke Vindahl asked the panel: “Playing in the real world always…

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CMC 2019: Report – Research 1 & 2

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:52pm by Shannon Reeve

Research 1 and 2 focused on the content strategies being used by online video organisations and tech-giants to get into the children’s side of the growing online video sector. Takeaway: ● Netflix is looking for content for 7 to 9-year- olds, whilst Amazon is looking more for pre-school content. ● YouTube is the dominant content provider, with Netflix following behind. ● Only 10% of children go to live TV sources first, versus 41% of adults. Detail: The first of the research presentations, delivered by Fred Black of Ampere Analysis, examined what key SVODs have been commissioning and may be looking for in the near future. The focus of the research was on the contrasts between Netflix and Amazon, and where…

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CMC 2019: Report – China – A Creative Approach 

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:51pm by Cate Zerega

Connecting with the Chinese market can be difficult but very rewarding. With a lot of hard work you can create something very successful. This session gave advice to those looking at cracking the Chinese market, and was upfront about the challenges. Takeaway:  Creators acknowledge that they don’t know how China works or how they can develop better partnerships within China.  Everyone wants a successful show, however, the definition of success is different, which is where partnerships can diverge. There is Chinese market potential for voice software applications for remote parenting apps.  Detail: Moderator Alice Webb began the hour asking,  'What works creatively and what doesn’t work in China?  Manman Chen highlighted WeKids' search for properties from the global market targeting…

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CMC 2019: Report – Kids’ Media Connected

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:50pm by Jess Percival

MACKY, the Media & Audiovisual Creatives for Kids and Youth, is an international organisation of children's media professionals which gathers the insights of creatives and youth across platforms. Founded in Belgium, MACKY is now looking for partnerships abroad to put the collective on sound financial ground and develop supporters in neighbouring countries, so it can grow into an international creative association. Takeaways: MACKY was started because Charlie believes all youth deserves to be represented in all media. MACKY brings together many professionals who want to share their knowledge with those who want to learn. It is important to spark more conversations about what creators truly want to create - not just what they think broadcasters will like. Detail:  Audiences are…

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CMC 2019: Report – Gambling and Gaming: What’s the Difference? What’s the Harm?

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:49pm

Gambling within video games is a real concern for parents and kids alike. What is the nature of the relationship between gambling and game design, and what responsibilities do we have as a community? Takeaways: Awareness is key - gambling features are prevalent in 54% of the current top grossing mobile apps, of which 94% were deemed suitable for children. Loot boxes can take many forms in gaming and certain safeguards need to be added to games to make this feature much more transparent. There is a correlation between gaming and gambling, which exploits people who are more vulnerable to addiction. Detail: Tim Miller introduced the session and ran through some sobering statistics revealing that 14% of 11-16 year olds…

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CMC 2019: Report – Commissioner Conversations VoD

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:48pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaway: Online Safety, although viewed differently is a guiding principal in all commissioning. Content with high and forward thinking child discoverability is lucrative in commissioning VoD. Detail: Nico Franks of C21 Media kicked off the conversation asking what has worked for commissioners in the past, what they’re looking for next and how to get a pitch through. Estelle Lloyd programmes for Azoomee’s platform according to the premium nature and hand picked sensibility of the brand. Game content is as important to Azoomee as video content because games are the number one driver of engagement with the product. Games content also helps them differentiate themselves from Netflix. Azoomee is emerging from a fallow year of commissioning and so are thinking again…

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CMC 2019: Report – The Animation Skills Fund – Use it or Lose it

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:47pm by Vanisha Sumboo

New initiatives from the re-booted ScreenSkills Animation Skills Council will address animation skill shortages. Animation recruiters were invited to have their say on the priorities and approaches. Takeaway: How best to use the fund is open for discussion and the panel welcomed input and opinion on this. While it can sometimes be tricky in deciding which initiatives to move forward with, working collaboratively and collectively as a whole is the key element to drive the animation industry forward and address the skills shortage. A position is open for someone to chair the Animation Skills Fund and act as an ambassador who can help it move forward. Detail: In terms of skills shortages, this can vary from practice to practice. In Adam…

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CMC 2019: Report – Fresh Kids Tech

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:46pm by Sam Barlow

In this session, Stuart Dredge gave the audience an entertaining whistle-stop tour of the latest tech trends in the kids’ space. Stuart explained that his talk was definitely not intended to evangelise about tech - and that while there is much to be excited about, some developments are cause for concern too. Takeaway: Even within big tech companies, pockets exist of people who care and seek to do ‘good stuff’ for the kids audience. Tech is capable of more than just entertainment. It can positively impact on kids lives in all manner of ways. There are still discussions to be had about issues surrounding kids privacy and the tracking of their data. Detail: Starting with Augmented Reality, we heard about…

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CMC 2019: Report – Kids with Stones in their Pockets

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:45pm by Emma Boucher

With a focus on narrative and play, this session explored the importance of creative, open-ended play to children’s development and how media experiences can encourage self-expression and self-discovery. Takeaway: Children need the space to explore ideas through creative play, with the room to try and fail. Open narratives encourage children to explore self-expression through play. Adults don’t need to teach children how to play! Detail: Alison Norrington introduced the session by telling the story behind the title of the session, which comes from her year of research into VR - best practice, narrative and experience design, and psychology and play. A boy collected stones and put them into his pockets. Every day his mum threw them away. Eventually he asked…

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CMC 2019: Report – Don’t Mention the C Word!

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 3:59pm by Gabrielle Smith

This session explored the way in which class and socio-economic background is (and has always been) an important driver of diversity on and off screen. This panel discussed personal and professional experiences of why inclusion is imperative at all levels. Takeaway: Ask young people what they need? They won't ask you - so be prepared to have a conversation in order to push past the barriers. Class is not visible - don't assume anything about anyone! Encourage young people to develop innate skills without obsessing about demonstrable qualifications. Detail: This session saw four speakers who were united in their passion for eradicating inequality across various media industries. By changing the way our young people are taught to think about how…

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CMC 2019: Report – Commissioner Conversations Channels

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 1:28pm

First, Changemaker Brandon Relph, opened up the event with a smile and youthful enthusiasm about his knowledge of Generation Z and his Yentrepreneurship - which stemmed from YouTube success with Minecraft videos, but now sees him advising companies as to heir relationship with Generation Z. Session: Industry veterans, those just starting out, or somewhere in between, gathered to hear what commissioners have to say. In an ever-evolving media landscape, we heard what’s new with Sony, Turner and Viacom, what they’re looking for and how best to approach them with the next big idea. Takeaway: Nickelodeon. “Everything we do is defined by the child”. Sony are looking into other platforms to build the audience around television screens. Projects (format and length) can…

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CMC 2019: Report – Alexa, How should Youth Brands Use Audio in 2019?

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 11:44am

As audio’s influence importance grows, and podcasts, smart speakers and audiobooks are increasingly part of family life, children’s brand strategies are placing audio at the heart of their media mix. This session explored how brands hope to capture the ears and interests of young people around the UK, and how they are coming to grips with these exciting new audio experiences. Takeaway: Fast  growth across all audio experiences, with unmet demand. Audio and Voice family offering needs to be better. ‘Nothing not to like’ -  Audio and Voice offer something exciting and new for a child’s media world. A fertile ground for innovation, but quality and detail are essential. Detail: BBC research suggests 32% of homes with kids have smart…

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CMC 2019: Report – Staying Local

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 11:26am by Jenny Kane

This session asked what is the place of local drama - in a world where the streaming ‘giants’ are able to throw huge resources at international stories? The key question put to panel experts was how ‘kid focused’ drama can flourish during times of change. Takeaway: Children need and have a desire to see their lives reflected on screen back at them. The BFI Young Audience Content Fund is a new funding stream to encourage producers to make the local dramas they haven’t been able to before. International programmes do not necessarily mean glossy and expensive. A mix model approach should be adopted by broadcasters when it comes to local vs international - "for every 'Stranger Things' there is a 'The…

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CMC 2019: Report – The Last Word

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 10:52am

With the advertised contributor, Nikki Lilly unable to attend CMC due to illness in her family, CMC moved quickly to put together something inspiring and challenging for the final thirty minutes of the Conference.   Who better than the Changemakers (and friends)?  A group of young people who had never met before, some from this year's Changemaker team, one from last year's (now moderating a session of her own at CMC) and one of the much-appreciated CMC volunteer team who had been in the Changemaker support crew. and got to know them through the course of the conference. The panel closed the event by discussing their opinions of the conference and industry, and what they hope for the future of media…

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CMC 2019: Report – Going Global

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 10:38am

Changemaker Finlay Pringle is an Ullapool Shark Ambassador, at only 11 years old. He inspired the audience in the session to “Think like a mountain”. What he suggested using this quotation is that people shouldn’t just think about the top of the mountain, but try to think about the other aspects surrounding it. Session Takeaway:  “No beach you’ve ever stood on will be there in 35 years-time”. Keep your eyes on the horizon. Life’s a journey, and what you experience in yourself. You give children the right access to the right tools and they absorb it. Detail: After Finlay Pringle’s inspiring Presentation, Professor Stephen Hepple asked Finlay to join the panel to give a young person's perspective on education. The…

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CMC 2019: Report – The Incredible Playable Lunchtime Show

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:42am by Peter McGrath

An award-winning video-game styled comedy show where the audience take to the stage! The Incredible Playable Show draws on elements of clowning and improv. comedy to blend gaming with performance. Every person in the room should feel they made the show unique. Each performance is different and, with the audience as the stars, there’s no telling what might happen. Takeaway: The whole show is interactive. Team building and bonding are encouraged and promoted. The emphasis is on problem solving in a fun inclusive way. We are all ‘big kids’ at heart. Detail: Alistair Aitcheson introduced himself as a showman and immediately put the wheels in motion. This was the second iteration of the Show at CMC - the previous lunchtime and…

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CMC 2019: Report – The Art of Voice & Song

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 9:37am

This session was split into two parts. The first  was Joss Peach and Ellie Wyatt and focused on the importance of song for children.  Marc Silk ran the second part of the session and focused on the work of the voice-over artist. Part 1: Takeaway: Music is an important part of children's development. A programmes music has a powerful emotional effect on the audience and can change the tone of a scene. It is a collaboratarial process that requires flexibility and understanding from producers and composers. Details: Joss Peach began  by saying the session was designed to be fun and informal which was achieved thanks to audience participation at every opportunity. Together with Ellie Wyatt they explained the importance of…

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CMC 2019: Report – Cultivating Community

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2019 8:52am

This panel focused on the pivotal importance of the relationships between fans and brands, with a broad range of speakers. Moderated by Joshua Davidson, the focus was all about ideas to inspire and engage with brand-loyal audiences. Takeaway: Build a relationship with your fans. Allowed fans to feel like they have a voice, and they are being heard. Know your audience. Detail: Dan Berlinka began the session with an interesting case study on 'Dixi'; an interactive fictional social platform allowing user interaction only through moderated comments. Kids engaged as if the characters were real, talking as though they were friends. An element of self-moderation within the community began to emerge as users realised that certain types of comments would be…

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CMC 2019: Report – Online Killed the TV Star

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 10:34pm by Cate Zerega

5 BILLION YouTube videos are watched EVERY DAY. With 430, 000 hours of content being uploaded to the platform every day, it’s no surprise that we all fear the demise of TV as we know it. Takeaway:                            Recognize the snobbery that dismisses the online star. Creating a crossover success is best served with a holistic, talent first approach - can’t plug just any talent into any show and expect audience success. Detail: Presenter Leah Charles King started the session playing three clips and asked the panel and audience which clip had the most views. A clip of Kylie Jenner’s daughter won with over twenty-seven million. Influencer Lewys…

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CMC 2019: Report – Immersive Journeys in Education

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 9:58pm by David Hodgson

This session set out to immerse attendees in how kids today are being given the opportunity to learn from via augmented and virtual reality experiences. Takeaway: Augmented and Virtual Reality technology is not the future. It is here, and ready to be put to good use in the classroom. The panelists all agreed that these technologies can be most successful when they exploit their unique abilities to grab even the most challenging children’s attention. Such moments of amplified experience are not in themselves enough for learning – it requires the context given by good storytelling and teaching before, during and after. Detail: Moderator Dr. Carlton Reeve framed the opportunity presented by augmented and virtual reality as bringing the world to…

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CMC 2019: Report – Unconscious Bias

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 3:12pm by Cate Zerega

Increase your awareness of your bias... One way to do so is to take an implicit association test. Practise good self-care so that you can free up brain space to better challenge your implicit bias. We can help change a child’s brain structure by what we show them. Takeaway: Only 1% of children's books feature a BAME character. Despite being in starring roles, animated female Disney characters  have less dialogue than males. Why do we like cats over rats when both are furry animals with pointy ears? Detail: The HUBS Hideout filled with delegates for Luise Usiskin's talk on unconscious bias. Luise started with how humans learn to categorise. She shared the story of when her daughter was small and…

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CMC 2019: Report – Commissioner Conversations PSB

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 2:55pm by Sarah Darling

Before the PSB reps began we heard from Ruda Santos, the young Changemaker who discussed storytelling, why we do it and what young storytellers can bring to the table. We then began what was almost a shopping list from the broadcasters. Takeaway: The Young Audience Content fund has opened broadcasters up to take chances with content that they previously wouldn’t have risked. PSBs are commissioning as a result of the fund Each has their own wish list Detail: Simon Tomkins of CITV showed their reel including lots of commissioned animated content due to be broadcast in the autumn. His wish list for commission mainly included live action, including scripted comedy or drama series, a game show and live action make…

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CMC 2019: Report – The Note Behind the Note

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 2:49pm

Stephanie Wahlstrom, Kidzilla Media, introduced this panel about the importance of sending and receiving notes for script development and exploring the issues writers have when dealing with good, bad and conflicting notes. Takeaway: It’s less about winning and losing a note and more about the benefits for the show. Never say no to a note but always ask questions and communicate. There’s a difference between a better note and a different note. Detail: The panel began discussing issues on how notes can delay a project. Getting agreement with writers in advance is important, to organise the re-writing process so that all parties can stick to schedules and deadlines set for notes. There was discussion about what makes a good note…

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CMC 2019: Report – True?

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 2:43pm

Braydon Bent (FYI) energetically set the stage for a fascinating session moderated by Zoe Daniel (Guardian/Reuters) on kids and fake news. He demonstrated how the impact of false reporting – from Russian spy Whales to fake Obama speeches – is increasing as it becomes more prevalent and complex, with digital technology and AI making it easier to generate and harder to distinguish. Takeaway: Fake news changing how we think, what we buy and how we vote. This is making kids anxious. Kids care about the news, and they are savvy, but network effects make it easy for Chinese whispers to abound and fake news to get amplified Kids need support in learning to spot fake news – only 2% of…

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CMC 2019: Report – Successful Pitches – The Secret History

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 2:31pm by Vanisha Sumboo

Tim Patterson from T1M Consult introduced the panel and invited them to share their experience with pitching and their tips on what it takes to make a pitch successful. A strong recurring theme throughout the session was tenacity. Takeaway: Keep it simple: have a sense of humour and be tenacious! Commissioners have many things they need to navigate internally, put yourself in their shoes. Pitching is a relationship that takes time, commitment and nurturing in order to make it work. Don’t get attached to one idea, be flexible and develop a very thick skin – there’ll be a lot of no’s before you get the yes. Detail: Chris Dicker reflected on how 'Becca’s Bunch' came to fruition. He discussed how…

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CMC 2019: Report – China: Business & Partnerships

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 12:45pm by Tim Collins

Doing business in China is entering a golden period – there appear to be more opportunities than ever before.   So what should we be looking for and how do we approach China? Takeaway: China is a huge market, with over 360m children, including 180m pre-schoolers. There is a projected animation spend of $34bn by 2021 China is investing in and creating IP and is actively looking for foreign partners. The Department for International Trade, BFI and others can help with regulations, censorship, quotas on foreign content and IP protection. Detail: The session started with a comprehensive scene setter from our host Louise from the DIT.   The UK Government is working very hard at our relationship with China and the recent…

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