Hunting, Finding, Caring, Sharing – Report

Posted on: Tuesday 05 August 2014 1:45am by Lucy Beckett

While young audiences embrace new and exciting ways to connect with content, what are the implications for the content makers and broadcasters? This session explored the big changes that lie ahead…


  • The impact and opportunities of the rapidly changing digital landscape over the past five years has seen a seismic shift in the way that kids consume content and the way it’s affected TV’s linear ratings
  • Over last four years over 20% of linear viewing has declined, with 50% of that happening in the last 12 months.
  • As more viewing is being done, on more devices, the profitability and rights ownership situation for creators threatens to make their role in the industry unsustainable.

Session Details

This session explored some of the key trends in how today’s children are accessing content, and sought to understand what the opportunities and challenges are for content makers, broadcasters and IP owners. BT’s Sarah Aspinall suggested that that growth of digital platforms in the last year has been hugely beneficial for VOD services, with the popularity of YouTube and iTunes producing an increased understanding of On-Demand broadcasting. The last three years have seen BT’s views-per-customer treble, an increase Aspinall directly links to “more understanding from parents and children…they’re no longer scared.”

Russell Miller added that the shift to less expensive online content means that you don’t need huge audiences to remain sustainable, which allows viewing to be personalised, providing content to “different kids who are interested in different things.” It allows content providers to break away from the concept of “The Average Child”, so that their content can be made available in a way that is more like a library than a TV channel – empowering children to find the content that suits them.  As an example, he explained that he is currently looking into making Keaton and Chaplin content available to his young viewers  because “kids will like that stuff and no one is offering it to them.”

For content creators, Julie Kane-Ritsch explained that the biggest impact has been to “eliminate the gatekeepers” so creators can get their stuff out to the public more easily, “But” she warned, “people have to find it.”

As the session continued, it became clear that the real problem lies in how to measure ratings and success on these new platforms, and that the lack of this measurement will have direct impact on the production companies and creators. As Aspinall explained, “VOD is a problem”, with services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix currently unmeasured, and facing no obligation to supply ratings/stats to their content creators.  Kane-Ritsch described the absence of this data as “dis-empowering” for creative people during negotiations. Miller elaborated that “it’s important that creators need to see how well their content is doing… if it continues to go the way it is going with the current revenue algorithms, the nature of content will become smaller” … although it was uncertain whether he considered this a negative consequence, or something that might lead to an influx of newer, more interesting content from smaller teams, “Not everyone will be in need of ‘hits’ anymore, people will be able to work in a way they want, and they won’t need huge success, or to sacrifice their creative goals to survive.”


Event Reports

Lucy Beckett

About the author

Lucy Beckett

CBeebies, Content Producer

Lucy Beckett is a Content Producer at CBeebies. She has 10 years’ experience creating digital content for children, and produced Tiscali TV’s ground breaking VOD channel ‘Scamp’. Having worked on digital content for Cartoon Network, Disney, Chorion, Bookstart and Lego, Lucy now creates website and app content for BBC Childrens,… Read more