Blogs

March 2019

CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2019: The Gruffalo 20th Anniversary – from Book to Global Brand

Posted on: Sunday 17 March 2019 2:02am by Simon Bor

Moderator Juliet Matthews (Harper Collins Children’s Books) Speakers Nick Hall (Boxine) Belinda Ioni Rasmussen (Macmillan Children’s Books) Toby Mitchell (Tall Stories) Michael Rose (Magic Light Pictures) Daryl Shute (Magic Light Pictures)   Takeaways Axel’s challenge was to create a monster that was frightening but not terrifying. Michael Rose wanted to be true to the book and not change a single word. They wanted a character that would last for fifty years.   Can it really be twenty years since we first met The Gruffalo? Juliet Mathews of Harper Collins Children’s Books asked the panel of some of those involved the Gruffalo’s continuing success: ‘How did this go from a thirty-two-page picture book to what it is today?’ Current publisher at…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF: Changes and Challenges Confronting Licensing

Posted on: Sunday 17 March 2019 1:13am by Simon Bor

Moderator Tim Collins (The Brand Director) Speakers Susan Bolsover (Penguin Random House) Trudi Hayward (Trudi Hayward Licensing) Ashley Holman (Riverside Brands)   Takeaways Peppa Pig took three years to work. A property has to work in six weeks now. Live and experiencial events bring consumers into a dedicated space with a gift shop at the end. If kids leave a platform you have to catch them somewhere else.   The changing nature of how children find content is creating new challenges for the licensing industry. Tim Collins, MD of The Brand Director asked: ‘What has been the evolution of the business model?’ Susan Bolsover of Penguin Ventures, the licensing arm of Penguin Random House Childrens, handles the classic characters owned…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2019: The Future of Toys

Posted on: Sunday 17 March 2019 12:42am by Simon Bor

Moderator Tim Collins (The Brand Director) Speakers Sam Ferguson (Jazwares) Yesmin Kunter (Consultant) Billy Langsworthy (Mojo Nation) Richard North (Wow! Stuff)   Takeaways Video games can be amazing but it depends how the child is playing, why they are playing and how they are playing. In five years the toy industry will be looking at ethics in the way that the adult car industry is now. Selling toys through 3D printers has never been economical. It’s a dream.   Tim Collins, MD of The Brand Director, introduced the session saying that the $80 billion global market for toys was going through interesting times. He asked: ‘What will the toy business look like in five years time?’ Tim first asked play…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2019: Experiencing the Story

Posted on: Sunday 17 March 2019 12:33am by Simon Bor

Moderator Tim Patterson (T1M Consult) Speakers Joshua Davidson (Night Zookeeper) Alexander Parker (Selladoor) Alison Warner (Technicolor) Jenny Worton (Roald Dahl Story Company)   Takeaways The Deep goes from comic book to global success. Children can contribute their own creatures to The Night Zookeeper Elma the Patchwork Elephant follows Roald Dahl to the stage.   Tim Patterson told the audience that this session would look at how stories can leap off pages of a book to film, TV, stage and beyond. How to broaden out the brand and maybe, even make some money. First to speak was Alison Warner of Technicolor, to talk about their hit CBBC series, The Deep. They have achieved in just five years, the transformation of an…

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CMC Exchange @LBF: CMC @LBF 2019: Knowing your consumer – Does the Future look Bright

Posted on: Saturday 16 March 2019 11:58pm by Simon Bor

Moderator Mara Alperin (Wonderbly) Speakers Sam Clough (SuperAwesome) Jelena Stosic (Kids Industries) Duncan Shearer (Seymour Distribution) Nick Richardson (The Insights People)   Takeaways Kids have a sense of regret that what we have now will go, but they see the future as bright. How many words are needed before a game becomes worthy? The magazine industry is worth £1 billion, despite the digital age.   Mara Alperin of Wonderbly introduced the first session of  CMC @LBF 2019 and wanted to know if today’s children saw the future as bright. Sam Clough of SuperAwesome talked about research on the future of shopping with ten to seventeen-year-olds. One view from a twelve-year-old saw a world with no shops, just one app, maybe Amazon. There…

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November 2018

Manimation 2018: Report – ScreenSkills

Posted on: Tuesday 13 November 2018 7:21pm by Helen Dugdale

Speaker Gareth Ellis-Unwin gave an insight into the new ScreenSkills. Who are ScreenSkills? Merged with the Indie Training Fund (ITF), Creative Skillset has been restructured and ScreenSkills is now the national agency for screen training. It has a new and easy to use website that can be found here: www.screenskills.com.   Services include:  Lobbying for skills and training on the national agenda. The outreach team will hold events - everything from open door sessions to bootcamps. There will be Continuing Personal Development (CPD) for people already in their career. Up to £600,000 will be available for training skills. Regional hubs will be created and the first one in Leeds will be a Centre of Excellence. There will be new mentoring opportunities.…

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Manimation 2018: Report – Welcome and Keynote

Posted on: Tuesday 13 November 2018 7:00pm by Helen Dugdale

What is the future of the business of animation? Olivier Dumont from Entertainment One shared the secret ingredients of what made 'Peppa Pig' and 'PJ Masks' the massive international brands that they are today. The Secret of 'Peppa Pig': 'Peppa Pig' went from simple sketch to an international smash. The five minute shows are easily digestible with a strong sense of humour running through each episode. The humour stays with the audience long after they have grown out of other pre-school shows. Humour in preschool is rare, so it is the secret to Peppa Pig’s success. The stories deal with the family unit making it relevant to any kids anywhere in the world. When broadcasters aired the shows back-to-back it caused…

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Manimation 2018: Report – Roundtable 1: Get Real

Posted on: Tuesday 13 November 2018 6:50pm by Helen Dugdale

Takeaway: Delivery and consumption of storytelling is changing. We are seeing a convergence of animation games and technology emerge. Aardman have ventured into games with 11/11. They are attracting a new kind of gamer who wants to play as a one-off, like how you watch a movie. No skills are needed for playing and tiny choices have an impact on the story and how the narrative unfolds. Detail: This informal roundtable session was produced and hosted by Paul Bason, discussing the future of storytelling using real time engines. Ben Lumsden – Epic Games Using Epic Games technology and expertise, they are creating content from outside the gaming world. Unreal Engine Technology software is initially free to use, then Epic takes 5%…

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Manimation 2018: Report – Roundtable 2: Skilling Up

Posted on: Tuesday 13 November 2018 6:45pm by Helen Dugdale

A roundtable discussion about how education and training providers are supporting the industry to improve recruitment. Top Takeaways Katie Lander - Brown Bag Films Brown Bag Films doubled their workforce this year with 70 new staff members - 45 per cent of new recruits are on short-term contracts and from the EU. The industry is facing a staggering issue around talent and we need to future-proof the problem. Employers need to take responsibility and help to shape apprenticeships as there is no consistency between each company and each apprenticeship scheme. There are no animation apprenticeships offered in the North West. Apprenticeships are not just for people looking for their first jobs. They are also for individuals already within their career.…

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Manimation 2018: Report – Roundtable 3: Agencies for Change

Posted on: Monday 12 November 2018 10:31pm by Catherine Trewavas

Takeaway: Research data analytics and brand activation can help create the best solutions for clients Interesting and unusual visual styles and animation techniques can enhance advertising projects Clear communication helps production to be as efficient as possible Detail: In this session produced and hosted by Westley Wood from BBC Creative, a panel of experts explored case studies in working with creative agencies and the use of animation in advertising campaigns and marketing strategies. The panel consisted of Tom Box from Blue Zoo, Jo Whitely from IF Agency Manchester, Jamien Middleton from The Animation Guys, Damien Lynch from Dock 10 and Tim Jones from BBC Creative. Working on creative projects Jo Whiteley explained how IF Agency Manchester uses data analytics, brand…

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Manimation 2018: Report – SODA

Posted on: Monday 12 November 2018 9:07pm by Catherine Trewavas

Takeaway: Manchester Metropolitan University is opening a new school of digital arts, named SODA The school will provide an interdisciplinary approach to media education that will serve the needs of the industry The school aims to close the skills gap and prepare the next generation for careers in a variety of specialisms including UX design, sound, animation, filmmaking and more Detail: In 2021, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) will be opening SODA - a new £35 million School of Digital Arts. Paul Bason from the university explained how the new building has been designed to respond to future changes in technology so that it can develop over time. He said that the school will progress and provide an interdisciplinary approach to…

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Manimation 2018: Report – Opening Panel: The Future of Animation Business

Posted on: Monday 12 November 2018 8:41pm by Catherine Trewavas

Takeaway: Storytelling remains at the heart of projects Technology can be used as a tool to build narrative and speed up production Using multiple platforms can boost brands to reach new audiences Detail: Kate O’Connor from Animation UK introduced this session, asking how we can create and secure the future of animation business. The panellists included: Andy Wood from Cubic Motion, Benjamin Donoghue from Blackstaff Games, Olivier Dumont from Entertainment One and Jackie Edwards from BBC Children’s Acquisitions and Independent Animation.   Working Together Collaboration is important in securing a strong future for the animation industry. In this session, Andy Wood highlighted the positive impact of harnessing technology to speed up pipelines and Benjamin Donoghue explained that creating interactive products…

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July 2018

CMC 2018: Report – De-risk

Posted on: Saturday 14 July 2018 5:29pm

This session, hosted by Gareth Cotton from La Playa, broke down the easiest ways to protect against copyright infringement, as well as intellectual property and libel issues. Takeaway This session covered: ·     Risks companies face on a daily basis ·     Legal implications ·     Insurance of these risks Detail Sunny Kang from Nine Lives Media explained some of the challenging risks he had to consider and deal with on a number of projects. The first project discussed was 'Learning to Fly', a documentary about air cadets flying for the first time. Around the time of filming there was a near collision in which a photographer and pilot were flying and the camera fell out of the photographer's hands, causing the pilot to make…

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CMC 2018: Report – Research 3 & 4

Posted on: Monday 09 July 2018 9:45pm by Sian Reed

This hour-long session was split into two half-hour research presentations: 'Beauty & the Beast' and 'The Kids’ Ecosystem, Under the Microscope'.   Beauty & The Beast The main focus for this session was to explore how tween and teen girls feel about the beauty industry. Although the sample of Razor Kids’ study was relatively small (76 UK-based girls aged between 8-16 were interviewed), the qualitative research meant that those girls interviewed were a real insight into how they view themselves and the media they see. These children are more clued-up than you would think. They appear to be bound by positive, unifying values and behaviours such as diversity, inclusivity, social conscience, individuality, empowerment and independence. Although they still have the…

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CMC 2018: Sticking to your Dreams

Posted on: Sunday 08 July 2018 9:23pm

Hi there!  My name's Theo Sparks.  I do animation stuff. So it all started with a doodle, a wacky little idea I had bobbing around in my brain for some time, and it was time to make it happen. Two years ago I attended the Meetup event, 'Frames’, in Camberley, held by the local animation studio, Fudge. At the time I had just finished creating the concept for a brand new style of animation - something that needed to be made, because it had yet to exist. And here it is. I premiered sticker-mation at this event, to get my idea out there and see what people thought. The response was fantastic, everyone was really impressed, particularly the good people at Fudge…

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CMC 2018: Report – Steps to Retail Success

Posted on: Saturday 07 July 2018 12:29pm by Simon Bor

Sarah Fletcher (Maximum Licensing) asked the question: 'Is it tough for new IP to break through?' Takeaway: • Amazon must help to police licensing better. • Licensed products help reluctant readers get a book in their hands. • Licensing is not about exploiting but extending a property. Detail: Ian Wickham (Licensing Link Europe) was first to answer. 'Yes, it is difficult for new IP to break through'. With major retailers going and others in trouble, the market place is tough. Consolidation is a further problem, the proposed merger of Sainsburys and Asda especially. It’s the discounters who can be used to launch products now, as Warners have with Lidl and Aldi. ‘It’s tough at the moment but you have to…

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CMC 2018: Report – Focus On Chinese Kids and Family

Posted on: Friday 06 July 2018 10:24pm by Michelle Jones

Takeaway: Chinese parents are young and want to educate their children. Chinese children are under pressure to achieve.  Content makers want to strike the balance between fun, play and education. “Family”, “Food” and “Sharing” are really important. Western animation is well known to Chinese children and parents. Content for China can’t be overtly sexual or violent. Humour is international. Detail: Sarah Baynes from The Creative Garden and Alex Chien from A4 Studios welcomed and introduced the panel and said that we needed to dig a bit deeper into how China works - the largest country in the world. So what are the differences and where are the opportunities? Raymond So from DaYe Transmedia Group explained that children born under the 1982…

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CMC 2018: Report – Birthday Brands

Posted on: Friday 06 July 2018 10:13pm by Gabrielle Smith

Takeaway: Enjoyable and recognisable brands are usually those that are also trusted by parents. It is important to constantly strive for new ways to make audiences laugh and do appropriate market research to find out what children today want. Brands that stand the test of time are ones that can keep using their characters but are willing to be contemporary. Detail: Today’s panel invited conversation and of course, a celebration of three British brands that are famous for their longevity on and off screen. For decades, iconic characters like Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, the Beano Studios and Sooty and Co have entertained the nation’s children, our parents and us, thereby producing a truly intergenerational audience. But today’s big…

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CMC 2018: Report – Commissioner Conversations: Disney and Sony

Posted on: Friday 06 July 2018 9:46pm

The session began with a presentation by changemaker Holly Churches, a post production coordinator working on Thomas and Friends. Holly works with charity KEYPR (Kids Entertainment Professionals for Young Refugees), raising money for children’s charity UNICEF. Takeaways: The commissioners and acquisitions teams are keen to hear about great content and have open door policies The main focus is on animation but commissioners are open to live action content. Detail: Sarah Muller from Sony was the first speak at the session, discussing her new role at Sony, running their three channels – Tiny Pop, Pop and Pop Max. Sarah explained that her vision for the channels will always revolve around content, as they want to offer their audiences the absolute best.…

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CMC 2018: Report – Research 1 & 2

Posted on: Friday 06 July 2018 4:35pm by Monica Siegenthaler

Sadie Buckingham the Associate Director of Giraffe Insights, Stephen Murfet the Head of Insight at Sky within the Sky Media team and Emily Keaney the Head of Media Literacy Research at Ofcom, discuss their research on what kids watch and why. 1. Kids and the Screen: Changing the Channel Takeaway: Analysis of data around viewing habits of young viewers. Kids are navigating through the content maze, this supports the concept that “Content is King.” Now it is up to the TV provider to make navigating to this content as easy as possible. The data identified patterns in viewing behaviour during holidays, half term and term time. This data revealed if there is a true change in viewing behaviours or if…

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CMC 2018: Report – The Last Word: Toby Thompson

Posted on: Friday 06 July 2018 2:57pm by Simon Bor

The final session was opened by former changemaker, Jeremiah Emmanuel BEM (EMNL Consultancy), now a member of the advisory committee of the CMC. Takeaways: There were 239 speakers and 1100+ delegates at CMC 2018. Next year’s theme is ‘Limitless’. Toby Thompson evoked childhood wonder and made us think about 'freedom'. Detail: ‘There’s no limit to creativity,’ said Jeremiah, youngest ever CMC Advisory Committee member and a former CMC Changemaker, as he announced the theme he has chosen for next year’s conference: Limitless. Jeremiah then introduced us to Toby Thompson. Originally from Bath, Toby is based in London. He’s a 24-year-old performance poet, a Glastonbury Poetry Slam Champion who has performed not only at festivals, but at the Natural History Museum,…

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CMC 2018: Report – Building An Audience – What’s Next?

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 10:35pm

Takeaway: There is a consolidation of the average number of devices in households. Average number of smart phones means children “own” one more device than they did three years ago. Total time watching videos is up. Children are still watching linear and doing so on TV, smart phones and tablets. Video content consumed is different depending on the device on which that content is being consumed. Detail: The panel for this session comprised of Adam Woodgate from Dubit Trends, Sarah Muller VP Children and Youth at Sony Pictures Television and Simon Ragoonanan Brand and Communication at Hopster. Adam gave a compelling snapshot of audience trends backed up by compelling data and statistics.  One such revelation was that the 8-10 year…

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CMC 2018: Report – The F Word

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 10:22pm

Steve Jobs, James Dyson, Walt Disney and Marilyn Monroe all have one thing in common, they are all ‘failures’. The panel discussed how to embrace failure, welcome risk and find opportunities when it all goes wrong. Takeaway: Innovation cannot happen without failure. Reframing failure, learning from it and moving forward can lead to success. Don’t be afraid to seek support and take on board feedback. Detail: Shari Donnenfeld opened the session by joking that most people are happier saying the other F word than failure, before introducing the panellists: Cathal Gaffney, Managing Director/COO of Brown Bag Films, Biren Ghose, Country Head at Technicolor, Linda Simensky, VP of Children’s Programming at PBS and TV presenter, mind coach and author, Anna Williamson.entitled Biren…

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CMC 2018: Report – Commissioner Conversations: Branded Content

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 9:44pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaway: Do your brand homework. New IP has to fit with the brand voice to make an impact. Think more kid - qualitative child research is at the forefront of Beano Studios.  CMC Changemaker Femi Owolade-Coombes said it best: the future is inclusive and collaborative. Detail: Moderator, TV presenter Nigel Clarke, kick-started the conversation asking his panel about the opportunities for content creation. Hasbro’s Finn Arnesen seeks IP internally and externally that fits a global audience and has strong merchandise potential. The other end of the spectrum is Gina Costelloe with Lego. Lego’s content focus for the last ten years serves to amplify the Lego play system. On the digital front, Hayley Granston of Beano Studios seeks IP that matches the…

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CMC 2018: Report – Commissioner Conversations: Nickelodeon and Turner

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 9:25pm

In a session sponsored by A Productions, the ‘big cheeses’ of animation from Nickelodeon and Tuner got together to discuss how to get your project on their desks, and once it’s there, what it takes to seal the deal.  Takeaway: Nickelodeon and Turner generally look for content that is character driven, non-prescriptive, and communicates a sense of adventure. The companies are very interested in the production of local content with ‘global legs’. Be creative: there are no set rules on how a piece of content needs to manifest itself. We have entered the era of the ‘networked society’ and content is no longer restrained to a linear series - games, clips, shorts, etc...are all options as well. Detail:   As per…

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CMC 2018: Report – The Making of ‘Gudrun: The Viking Princess’

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 9:16pm by Louise Lynch

The session opened with a showreel from Children’s Media Network Scotland followed by a conversation between Alix Wiseman from 9 Story Media Group and the programme’s writer and producer at Maramedia, Simon Parsons.   Simon explained how the commission came about after a casual conversation with Kay Benbow, CBeebies Controller at the time. Natural History producers Maramedia were making a series for PBS about the Vikings.  They were able to piggyback a pilot shoot for Gudrun during some PBS filming scheduled with a Viking boat and the show was commissioned from the pilot.   Kay explained that she “liked the idea of a strong female lead who was a princess but not the princess you might expect".  It was a…

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CMC 2018: Report – The Art of Storyboarding and The Art of Puppets

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 9:04pm by Monica Siegenthaler

This session was jam-packed full, with two mini sessions combined as one! The Art of Storyboarding captured the task of creating storyboards in the process of filmmaking, meanwhile the Art of Puppets revealed how puppets can lead us down the road less travelled. The Art of Storyboarding takeway: Know the script back to front. Everyone follows behind the storyboard, it is the jumping off point for the rest of the film. Explore every aspect you can. There is always time for one more joke. Care about what you do. Find something that sparks your imagination in the script when you storyboard. Detail: Chris Drew a Series Director for Blue Zoo Animation Studio walked us through the process of storyboarding as well…

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CMC 2018: Report – Podcasts – The New Big Thing?

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 8:43pm by Catherine Trewavas

Takeaway: Podcasts are on the rise. They can offer entertainment, escapism and learning and can really enrich the lives of young listeners. Technology such as smart speakers and the new Google podcast app offer exciting opportunities in audio content creation. It is important to create and uphold top quality content and high production values. Detail: “Podcasts are becoming a big deal”, opened Bex Lindsay from Fun Kids Live, the host for this session. Why are podcasts so important? Johnny Leagas, Executive Producer from CBeebies Radio, highlighted that podcasts are on the rise and said that this generation are taking content with them on the go. CBeebies Radio podcasts allow the audience to listen, download and take away. He said that…

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CMC 2018: Report – If we can’t Measure it, how can we Manage it?

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 3:54pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaway:     Kids don’t see their viewing as fragmented because they are adept at navigating to get to the programming they want.     Visual appeal, ease and the impact of voice as interface are all important factors in the future of children’s programming.     Qualitative data is immeasurably important to capture the child’s television experience. Detail: How do you capture children’s cross-platform viewing habits? Moderator Matthew Macaulay of MTM began by asking the panelists what the current data tells. Turner Broadcasting’s John Conlon says a more tablet-like experience provides a gateway to other services and devices. He said investment in good interfaces is important. Emily Keaney of Ofcom challenged the tendency to talk about TV as being replaced by…

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CMC 2018: Report – The Influencer’s New Clothes?

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 3:43pm by Sian Reed

Takeaway: Engagement is much more important than numbers: fans who engage with the content an influencer puts out are valued more highly than the most followers a channel/account might have. The power of word-of-mouth should never be underestimated. When looking at which influencer to use for your brand, ensure they fit the brand and actually are fans of the product/service! Detail: The world of influencer marketing is a minefield. This session took a look at the ever-changing landscape of 'kidfluencers' and how you can use these macro-influencers as part of your marketing and branding. Host Maddie Moate, YouTuber and CBeebies presenter of Do You Know? kicked off proceedings by introducing the panellists and asking them about their roles and take on…

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