Closing Keynote: One More Thing – Report

Posted on: Friday 03 July 2015 7:22pm

Dylan Collins, CEO of SuperAwesome, tells the kids industry it needs to grow a pair…

The closing keynote of  CMC 2015 began with the feeling that a row was brewing. Dylan Collins, a self-proclaimed bully, challenged the bastions of the kids’ industry to form a veritable Wu-Tang Clan mentality and collectively develop new models for revenue generation – especially in the digital sector.

Dylan Collins
Dylan Collins

In his opening keynote for the 2014 CMC, Dylan proclaimed to the industry that he would work to fill the gaps he saw in the industry from both the development and advertising sides.

He stated today, “We rather arrogantly stood up here and said there are things to be fixed. Since then, we have built tools for developers and advertisers as well. If you like, we are the plumbers, builders, …[and] butlers of the industry. We have been working to have tools to help us make a change – tools built by us and for us.”

Since 2014, SuperAwesome launched both KidAware, a marketing and advertising agency certification programme that specialises in training for marketing to individuals under the age of 13 and Kid Web Services, a set of tools for the creative end of the industry which guarantees safe registration for kids, parental verification, and safe content parameters for users under 13.

He also announced that he would be launching the AwesomeAds Initiative which will place a watermark on advertisements that are 100% kid-safe, COPPA and EU compliant, and safe-to-tap for users under 13. After explaining that these tools consist of multiple internal review processes and that they have evaluated hundreds of millions of ad-moves per month, facts and figures gave way to pointing fingers.

“So, what are you doing? Nothing that is incremental is an acceptable answer.”

While Dylan acknowledged that there is a lot of talk around making incremental changes from television to digital content, he pulled comparative data that showed digital spending in the kids industry matches only one percent of digital advertising spending in other sectors. Dylan asked rhetorically “Are we going to wait for other people and other companies, who don’t have kid DNA baked into them, to lead our digital industry?”

Seeing some squirming in the audience, Dylan clarified how digital content is so vastly different from television content. “Digital content is inherently more commercial because the digital ‘public service broadcasters’ are themselves commercial. We are challenged with trying to control our platforms and infrastructures to keep kids safe while remaining economically viable. We are going to be the metaphorical frogs boiling to death.”

He believes that it is incumbent on us, as change-makers in the industry, to be radical in our approach to creating, marketing, and regulating digital content. Dylan stated bluntly, “We need the industry needs to grow…a pair of balls.”

During the Q&A, Alison Stewart, Head of CBeebies Production, Animation, and Acquisition, rose to this challenge saying that given Alice Webb’s Big Digital Plan, BBC Children’s would be playing in this space and they agreed to meet and discuss it.

Dylan was questioned on whether he would stake his reputation on the Awesome Ads initiative, given the insecurity of the internet for under 13’s.  He said he staked his reputation every time they launched a service. He was confident of their vetting system and the manual and automatic screening processes they had in place.

He predicted that he would be able to increase the size of the kids’ industry’s digital advertising revenue, from £10m  now to £100m in two years time.

So, are you up for the challenge? How will you help the industry grow? We are looking forward to hearing your radical changes and striking successes at next year’s CMC.

And Dylan has promised to return in two years time to be held to account…

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