Meet the Commissiomners: Commmercial
Blogged by Tom Webb.
Introduced By: David Jenkinson, Editor-in-chief & Managing Director, C21Media
Speakers: Louise Bucknole, Programming Director, Disney Channels UK & Ireland.
Beth Gardiner, VP Production & Development, Disney Junior, EMEA
Anthony Lukom, VP and MD UK and Ireland, Turner Broadcasting
Jamila Metran, Programme Manager CITV
Tim Patterson, VP Scheduling, Nickelodeon UK
After meeting the commissioners of the commercial arm of children’s television, it’s impossible not to feel excited about what the future holds. With bundles of energising new commissions and acquisitions, and some old faces including Winnie the Pooh and Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, this high profile panel certainly had much to show off and be proud of.Kicking off was Louise Bucknole and Beth Gardiner from Disney. Boasting a proud and strong relationship with UK talent and production companies, Disney celebrated and showcased their outreaching programs to children through. With mentoring initiatives from sport stars developing kid’s skills on Disney XD to the chance to choose character names for the preschool shows, Disney have developed their relationships with their audiences. After calls from parents to make more bed time shows to put their children to sleep, Disney have responded with a brilliant adaptation of Winnie the Pooh in the form of bed time stories read by an unintentionally hilarious Robert Webb. Though it works, one can’t help expecting him to say something utterly coarse. With more savvy kids accessing shows through ipads and phones, Disney is geared up to respond to this demand. Their emphasis on encouraging a more happy, social and friendly audience, this move forward has never been more important.
Jamila Metran from CITV then followed with a whole host of new programming for children for all ages. Although, admittedly, a large part of their pre-school market is already catered for by Cebeebies, it’s clear that CITV are excelling in their older bracket with more live action programming. With a gap for factual shows after Disney took over the flagship “Art Attack”, it’s clear that CITV will welcome back something similar in the future.
Nickelodeon’s Tim Patterson then presented a focussed “kids first” initiative. With an array of American shows, the direction of the company is clearly heading towards catering for the pre-school market. “Open to business” was Tim’s recurring theme.
Exciting times for Nickelodeon await; with 44% of all kids viewing coming from a pre-school age, the desire for a new and original long-running show that identified closely with Nickelodeon’s brand burns strongly. Recently acquiring “Driftwood Bay”, it seems the gears are already in motion with this beautiful mixed-media show.
Finally, Cartoon Network’s Anthony Lukom took the stage demonstrating that humour lies at the soul of the channel….and boy is this something that is truly working for Turner Broadcasting. Catering for a sense of humour encompassing almost every generation, “Ben Ten” and “The Amazing World of Gumball” stand strongly to the huge envy of other broadcasters, with CITV and Disney both desiring to be its output.
Narrative driven comedies with real kids in real settings are seen just as important to the channel, but also a highly successful and representative format. So what if the kids in the shows aren’t as cute, aspirational or charming to a Disney standard…they are reflective of who the audience is. With more and more children discovering themselves through play, Cartoon Network have ramped up their live action programming and cleverly incorporating old British Favourites amongst their schedule. Why? Because parents love introducing their kids to the shows they used to watch…simple, but greatly effective. With Mr Bean and Harry Hill rearing their gurning faces for the children’s market, where on earth can you go wrong?
With all channels demonstrating a keen interest in new programming, working in children’s television has never seemed so exciting.
Vice President and Managing Director
Media & Distribution Consultant
Disney Junior EMEA
David Jenkinson Editor-In-Chief & Managing Director
Disney Channels UK & Ireland
Director of Programming