Report – So Over Unboxing – What’s Next?

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 4:54pm by Sid Sloane

The full session is available here as a podcast:

Guest blogger Sid Sloane puts his slant on the experts’ view of what the next big thing in digital will be.


  • The best way to prepare for ‘what’s next’ is to be clear about where you, and your audience, fit into the digital world
  • Digital will always be a two-way process
  • The future is now!


Just lately my mantra has been don’t dwell on anything be present, which takes a lot of in-the-moment thinking. So when it comes to the question ‘what next?’, the answer is now. It takes a lot of now to be present. The now is exactly what our panel of committed content providers who formed an impressive array of audience views and expertise in the digital field were framing for this session.

It started with a brief introduction and quick look at the changing digital output trends, from the first ever YouTube post to Zoella to stunts to PewDiePie (who works out in my gym!), to imaginary light saber duals. With each question from Nellie McQuinn, our host and producer, insightfully met, we were treated to answers on what is the difference between digital and linear, the current trend for digital as opposed to linear, what is good digital content, what makes digital go viral – and of course the elusive ‘what next?’.

The key message that our gurus agreed on is, as Paul Nunn (SuperAwesome) put it, that in terms of output all linear is ‘one-way’ and digital is ‘two-way’. All content by definition is digital, so matching your content to your platform is critical – to decide if it is right for YouTube, or Facebook, or elsewhere, you need to know who your audience is, what your intention is, whether you are promoting a brand or trying to sell a product. Unboxing, Paul added, is essentially not about the product, it’s about story-telling and interaction.

Mind-set in production creation is important, said Hopster Founder Nicholas Walters, and you should take an ‘action approach’ for your digital idea as it’s much quicker moving than linear.

Again, think about the platform, find the nuances of your audience, get the right fit said BBC Children’s Digital Development Editor Rachel Bardill, especially after the BBC announcement at last night’s keynote of all that dosh for digital development, which is a welcome and wise move as far as the panel were concerned.

In fact that is the future they equally agreed. A cash injection. The movement of monetisation in digital. Now is a great time to be involved. Content-wise, something between the Octonauts and unboxing would be interesting, said Andy Taylor of Little Dot Studios, while Paul Nunn said whatever the big four or five tech guys (don’t ask me!) are doing for families and kids will determine the future.

Samreen Ghani of Wildbrain says that for up to six year olds content is very much parent-led. She also offered that the surprise of unboxing is not that surprising when you think about the lack of much else available five or six years ago when it took off.

Other points of prediction for the future were:

  • Viral is virtually dead
  • Don’t underestimate the workings of the algorithm
  • Building for a 360 degree approach is a totally flawed strategy
  • Toy play and stop motion is an interesting future

There were some serious nuggets flying from the hips of these cats! They were by and large being in the now. And it seems to me unboxing will also always be here in the now. Ever changing with the way the audience emotes, which is more and more the information they all are increasingly interested in. My tip is to focus on the now. And contact these dudes, they are super interesting!

CMC 2017 Blog Event Reports audience BBC children's media CMC digital digital media Media production social media viral trend vloggers YouTube

Sid Sloane

About the author

Sid Sloane

Presenter, Performer & Producer

Sid Sloane is an actor, TV and radio presenter, and voiceover artist. He is best known as the energetic and international host of CBeebies, appearing in both the UK and Africa. He also stars in the children’s dressing up adventure series 'Let's Play'. As a voice artist Sid's silky tones can be… Read more