The Wrap: Top Takeaways of CMC 2012

Posted on: Friday 06 July 2012 5:51pm

Blogged by Tina Boonstra

Anna Home opened the final session of CMC 2012 with a big thank you to all who’d organised, worked at, spoken or participated in the conference in every sense. She then handed to David Kleeman who had a small team of Conference regulars to outline their top takeaways from the entire event.

Genevieve Dexter (Consultant, Serious Lunch), Marc Goodchild (Director, IpDipSky Blue Interactive) and Sarah Muller (Head of Acquisitions and Drama Development, CBBC) each gave their three top tips, brought up to a nice round 12 by David’s own obesrevations.

Genevieve:

  1. The realisation that funds are coming available – such as the Screen Yorkshire Fund – for cross-platform and interactive development, which might finally make the creation of true cross-platform experiences around TV brands financially viable as well as desirable. In the new scheme the funds need to be matched (like the Canadian model). It’s a promising trend. Broadcasters should take note – they need to fund their cross-platform activity.
  2. Commissioning – There’s lots of new faces in commissioning, at CBBC, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, – a lot of relationship building to be done over the next year.
  3. Crowd Funding – It has been done in children’s, but not much and its not easy. The challenge is on having loyal communities. Instead of pre-selling to broadcasters, crowd funding is about pre-selling to communities.

Marc:

  1. Apps apps apps. The economics of apps are developing rapidly. It would seem that the way to make money is not by pursuing the long tail – but in “value clients” – people who will make high spends. but the ethics of making money in the apps space are highly fluid and examples of barrow-loads of Smurfberries in the Apps session just concluded are concerning apps developers who want to make an honest living from their work, as the rogue traders threaten to damage the marketplace.
  2. The importance of Family and Kid content economically and in new platform contexts. E.g. the new Worldwide iPlayer for kids was announced in the VOD Inquiry session.
  3. Touch and gesture. For the first time we have interfaces that are intuitive to kids, instead of having to be “learned”. It’s frictionless, seamless, and very engaging – they are drawn into content faster and more simply. It changes their relationship with the content.

Sarah:

  1. Learning about Dyspraxia – a condition which affects 10-15% of kids and affects their movement abilities. In shorthand they can use an App but can’t tie their shoelaces. Getting them and all children up and moving using a variety of methods on a variety of platforms was discussed in the “Let’s get Physical” session – fascinating – and particularly exciting if you combine the physical encouragement with stimulating creativity.
  2. The Future of Family Film. The readiness of the market is extraordinary, the room was full of producers keen to get involved in feature film – the lack of any activity in the last 10-15 years is disheartening but with the arrival of Ben Roberts the new Director of the Lottery Film Fund at the BFI, who in the session showed enthusiasm for the audience and interest in specific children’s and family films, there seems to be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel, especially as BFI is re-examining its film-funding priorities. Now maybe the BBC needs to think about what it does for children’s film too.
  3. Child-Safety and Protection Online. We’ve made a good start, in increasing internet safety, but more work is needed. The Habbo Hotel disaster proves that there are still real threats out there and the potential risks to children and to our brands and reputation are enormous. So how are we going to keep our audience safe?

David:

  1. Parents are back on board. An observation that the word “parents” seems to come up much more than in previous years. They seem to have been welcomed back into the considerations of children’s media makers – both in policy and in programming terms.
  2. We seem to be moving towards a more functional understanding of the words transmedia and cross media. There has been so much discussion as to what they e mean but a new generation of producers and content creators who have grown up in cross platform environments is resulting in a much more natural understanding of cross media, and how best to utilise these opportunities.
  3. We’re in danger of accepting truisms. And there’s a real need for research to clarify things. On children – for example – that they haven’t changed, that play is the same, that media consumption is essentially the same though wider, that stories are consumed in the same way. And on storytelling – that essentially the activity is the same across different platforms – sessions like Never Ending Story explored whether this is really the case. There’s a need to research “change” in more detail to discover if we are stuck in old grooves.

David concluded by saying he was very envious of one new development which was the creation of the Children’s Media Foundation,who held an event on July 6th. Its plan to be an audience advocacy body, while bridging the gap between the industry, academic and commercial research, and regulators and policy makers – essentially from the industry’s perspective to be a “critical friend” was fantastically useful – and something which isn’t currently possible in the U.S. due to the fragmented nature of the various bodies. It will be invaluable in creating good policy decisions, campaigning for funding and sensible regulation.

Photo: Jennifermargaretbooth@gmail.com

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