Blogs in "Blog"

July 2022

CMC 2022: Report – Bright Young Things

Posted on: Friday 08 July 2022 12:37pm by Hannah Boursnell

Takeaways: You need to be where your audience is. If you're making kids' content, that means TikTok and YouTube. Brands should be wary of jumping on TikTok trends. They need to earn the 'right to play' in an online space. If you want to make brilliant content for young people, you should probably be hiring them! In this panel, a group of under-25s working in the industry discussed emerging trends in tech, audience behaviour and marketing.  The session began with introductions: moderator Zamil Zareen from KidsKnowBest was joined by his colleague Estelle Dragan, Thierry Ngutegure from Journey Further and Brandon Relph from Studio BE. The first topic under discussion was social mobility in the online space. Social media has democratised content, creativity and skill, allowing opportunities to…

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CMC 2022: Report – Commissioner Conversations, Teens

Posted on: Friday 08 July 2022 9:50am by Simon Bor

Takeaways E4 looks for larger-than-life characters that leap off the screen. With the Welsh government wanting a million new Welsh speakers by 2050, S4C needs more Welsh-language content for teens. BBC Bitesize is accessed by 80% of children at least once a month, going up to 87% for 15-16s. Channel 4 Digital is led and fed by the creators they work with. Harriet Williams (BFI Young Audiences Content Fund) introduced the final session of this year's commissioner conversations with a look at the teen market. On the panel were Evie Buckley (Channel 4 Digital), Helen Foulkes (BBC), Sioned Geraint (S4C) and Karl Warner (Channel 4). Sioned has recently taken up the post of content commissioner for children and learners at…

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CMC 2022: Report – The Art of Preschool

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2022 8:45pm by Yosr Saber

Takeaways: Know your audience, both commissioners and potential viewers. Nail the creative. The ideas and characters are key. Aspire to make a difference. Host Michelle Jones started the session with introductions and a recap of the careers of both Andy Mundy-Castle of Dochearts and Lynsey O'Callaghan of Paramount Kids and Family. Lynsey regularly reviews pitches for preschool shows and said those that stand out have really done their homework and are not pitching something that is already out there. They know what their audience watches, what they find funny, what's important to them and what's reflective of them. They also know what truly resonates with an international audience, not just a UK-based one. She looks for a story that is…

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CMC 2022: Report – Comissioner Conversations, 6-12

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2022 6:31pm by Simon Bor

Takeaways CBBC's move to digital will not affect commissioning hours or spend. Nickelodeon is looking for ideas that are bold, messy and punchy. CITV is actively looking to work internationally, to cover the gap in funding left by the end of YACF. Original programming for the Sky Kids platform should complement rather than be competition for existing programming. Joe Godwin introduced this year's panel of children's content commissioners, who were optimistic about the future of the sector despite the recent news about CBBC going online and the end of the Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF). They were Sarah Muller (CBBC), Chris Rose (Paramount), Paul Mortimer (CITV) and Ian France (Sky Kids). CBBC had just been named Channel of the Year…

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CMC 2022: Report – Understanding Kids in the Metaverse

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2022 6:25pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways Kids use the metaverse for play. Kids showed us during the pandemic how they want to use the metaverse - when they hit a barrier they'd figure out a way to hack it. Children's media needs to be consistent in putting children over and above profits. Host Gary Pope began today's session by using four questions to define, discuss and discern what's next in the metaverse. 1. What is it? David Kleeman answered that we don't know what it is and it's not here yet. However, if we don't talk about the way we want it to exist, we run the risk of letting other people develop it for us without kids in mind and then we will have…

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CMC 2022: Report – UK Creativity – Talent-Driven and World Beating

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2022 6:00pm by Yosr Saber

Takeaways: There is a huge opportunity for growth in the sector and the UK should be taking a bigger share of the global market, which is a £260bn industry. A strategy for skills training on a large scale is required. Tax relief is a great scheme for investments but needs to be revised to be more competitive. This session discussed how UK creative talent is attracting international investment, with leading businesses flocking to set up studios in the UK or work on co-productions. What does this mean for the local landscape for kids' content in the UK? After introductions by the panel of speakers, including Sally Marchant, Walid Omar, Mark Taylor and Kate O'Connor, host K. J. Yossman kicked off…

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CMC 2022: Report – The Young Audiences Content Fund, What Next?

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2022 2:05pm by Cate Zerega

John McVay, OBE, was absent and sent a statement on behalf of Pact.  Takeaways The next step for the children's media industry is to craft a single objective that captures the value of children's content for its many stakeholders, including government, parents, institutions and teachers. Once this has been agreed upon, an ecosystem can begin to take shape. A large number of children don't have broadband access - accessibility needs to be part of the next steps. Avoid too much doom and gloom. Focus on analysing and celebrating the achievements and successes of the YACF. Host Faraz Osman began today's session by discussing what comes next for children's media after the cessation of the Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF). What…

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CMC 2022: Report – Bringing Books to the Metaverse (or is it the other way around?)

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2022 1:01pm by Hannah Boursnell

Takeaways: Children's publishing is buoyant, with sales up year on year. But more than 400k children do not own a book of their own (National Literacy Trust). Immersive, multi-platform storytelling is already here. Digital can be a bridge to reading for those with limited literacy. There is an appetite within traditional publishing to embrace storytelling that blends print and digital, but funding is a barrier. A panel representing both traditional children's publishing and innovative digital storytellers discussed where printed books sit within the digital ecosystem and whether the metaverse will help or hinder the children's literacy crisis. Moderator John Lomas-Bullivant of Kickback Media began by asking Alyx Price, from Macmillan's Children's Books, to provide an overview of the children's book…

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CMC 2022: Report – Creative Keynote, Joseph Coelho

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 10:39pm by Lorna Partington Walsh

Takeaways Creativity flourishes when freedom meets structure. Children need permission to play with words without fear of breaking so-called 'rules'. Wait for no one! If you want to create something, do it. Everyone has the means to succeed in this digital age. This session began with the double-act of Ollie Ball and Jacob Pasquill, who are TikTokers with an ability to make everyone laugh. They talked about the power of social media, which has changed their lives and allowed them to share themselves with the world. They then introduced the new Waterstones Children's Laureate, Joseph Coelho. Joseph treated the audience to an interactive writing exercise using one word to create a poem (the secret is to have a long title…

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CMC 2022: Report – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 10:12pm by Yosr Saber

Takeaways There is a need to engage children more with content about environmental conservation. Detective mysteries are on-trend now with a need for a new comedic detective TV show. Mental health issues in children are on the rise and using media to address those issues can be very impactful with more reach being achieved. CMC this year is all about 'whats next' and what is needed next are more diverse, inclusive, funny, entertaining, and warm shows. TV Presenter and Entertainer Joanna Adeyinka-Burford, together with TV Presenter, Entertainer and Podcaster, Nigel Clarke were joined by a panel of US judges via Zoom that included: Adina Pitt from Warner Bros. Discovery, Eryk Casemiro from Nickelodeon, and Rick Clodfelter from Disney. The panel…

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CMC 2022: Report – Are Your Ears Burning?

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 9:52pm by Lorna Partington Walsh

Takeaways Interest in audio is booming, boosted by the pandemic and parents' concern about kids' screen time. Audio is highly inclusive of all kids and offers great creative opportunities for writers and creators. Think about audio in terms of a mixed economy: from audio to TV or TV to audio. Though money may be tight at this time, the opportunities to monetise audio content will grow over time. Moderator Carla Herbertson began the session by outlining the growth in audio content recently. Downloads of audio in the UK has grown 14% in total and by 20% since 2019 for kids and family listeners. In the US, 61% of parents say their kids listen to audio books. Carla invited the panel…

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CMC 2022: Report – Mentor Me, Mentor You

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 9:19pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways Resilience & Gentle Persistence: There’s one yes out of twenty no’s. Lead with your voice - it’s better to know the writer’s voice for effective feedback & advice Learn the rules but don’t be bound by them - Each show is written on differently, down to the script font. Download this resource: https://www.thechildrensmediaconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Mentor-Me-Mentor-You_Toolkit.pdf Host Ciaran Murtagh started CMC’s session on mentoring by asking the panel for their experiences of mentoring. Mariama Ives-Moiba completed formal mentoring schemes as a mentee and now manages the relationship via an informal, annual email. Mariama’s found the most success by being friendly and willing to learn. Tim Compton mentors when he reads a script and thinks, ‘Let’s try you out’, and several relationships evolved…

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CMC 2022: Report – Animation Assemble!

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 9:05pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways Invest in concrete disability training for all people and talent teams to see the rewards. Children need to know there’s a world worth saving. When you invest in children, you invest in the future: don’t trivialise the work of investing in children. Host Beth Parker began CMC’s panel about animation as a force for good using Andrew Kavanagh’s Kavaleer cartoon ‘Adam Loves Adventure’ as a case study. Andrew reacted to Adam King’s wish to go to space, even though he uses a wheelchair, by asking, ‘Could I make a cartoon about this kid?’ Andrew has since worked with people with a variety of disabilities who wouldn’t have been on his radar if disability hadn’t been an objective from the…

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CMC 2022: Report – What Next for Kids?

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 8:24pm by Simon Bor

Takeaways Imagine being a child in the 21st century, having seen and experienced so many difficult situations. Don’t turn 10-year-olds into 13-year-olds. We need to help children express their innate kindness and empower them to make a difference. Emma Scott (Chair, World Book Day) introduced the session’s Changemaker, Inspiring Vanessa, an award-winning, 15-year-old motivational speaker, talkshow host and actor. ‘We are going back in time with history continuing to repeat itself,’ said Inspiring Vanessa, who asked the audience to imagine being a child in the 21st century, reminding us what today’s children have witnessed in their short lives. She asked content creators to ‘reflect and detect’, to ensure inclusion was not just on screen but in the boardroom, and to…

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CMC 2022: Report – The Art of Young People’s Theatre

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 6:19pm by Yosr Saber

Takeaways Even if the material is dark, difficult, or challenging, ask yourself whether joy sits at the heart of the play. If you ever deny hope to children, you are really doing them a disservice. Working in theatre really helps you to understand the audience; there is much to be learned from engaging with a live audience in a room. Speaking first, Vicky Ireland, chair of Action for Children’s Arts (ACA), explained the charity’s mission: to campaign for children’s right to the arts, to connect children’s arts practitioners, and celebrate children’s arts in the UK. Vicky stated the importance of culture to children and that the greatest resource a nation holds is that of its imagination, which prospers from the…

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CMC 2022: Report – Creative Masterclass with Holly Phillips

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 5:50pm by Lorna Partington Walsh

Takeaways Spend as much time developing characters before you begin writing; it will pay off. Diversity in the writers room is key to a rounded cast of characters that speak to a wide range of teens. New writers need more opportunities to develop their skills on the job. This inspirational session began with a screening of the ‘Get Even’ trailer, a CBBC/Netflix co-production from production company Boatrocker, and an intro to Holly Phillips, showrunner. Throughout the masterclass, Holly touched on a range of creative issues. But first she outlined her background. She grew up in a small village where there was nothing to do, so TV was a big deal to her and the characters were her friends. She later…

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CMC 2022: Report – Commissioner Conversations, Pre-school

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 2:53pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways The best commissions are child-centred. ‘Broadcast sensibility’ is still important across platforms. Kids are brilliant at self-curation and are good at discovering ‘known’ IP. Shows that stand out on busy platforms are more likely to win commissions.   Host Tiernan Douieb asked the panellists to begin by summarising their commissioning priorities: Paramount’s Louise Bucknole began with Channel 5’s Milkshake!, which provides kids content for two- to five-year olds every morning with 60% of the productions coming from regional producers. Additionally, Nick Jr. commissions franchise IP content that will ‘grow with kids from nappies to baggie jeans’. Sean Henry of Warner Bros. shared that Cartoonito reaches 160 million households globally. The platform is increasing investment in the Middle East and…

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CMC 2022: Report – Question Time

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 2:21pm by Simon Bor

Takeaways The loss of YACF may have significant cultural implications for children’s programming. The sell-off of Channel 4 also represents a major challenge for indie production companies. The changes at CBBC could have a big impact on diversity and inclusion, especially if there is a cut to live-action production. Streaming platforms still offer exciting opportunities for British-made content, and Netflix is where the 13-16 audience is right now, with shows like ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Heartstoppers’. C21’s Nico Franks chaired a panel consisting of Maddy Darrall (Darrall McQueen), Marc Goodchild (Connected Ideas), Seetha Kumar (ScreenSkills), Franz Osman (Gold Wala) and Mikael Shields (Acamar Films). The questions, from both the live and virtual audience, ranged from concerns about the ending of the…

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CMC 2022: Report – First Timers’ Reception

Posted on: Wednesday 06 July 2022 10:43am by Yosr Saber

Takeaways: The Conference is known for its friendliness, so don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. Make use of the speed meetings, as they are a great opportunity to get business done fast. Make sure you have fun too! After two years of a global pandemic and social distancing, getting together at the Head of Steam pub in Sheffield at the First Timers' Reception for drinks and the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people in the UK’s children’s media industry was a refreshing way to kick start The Children’s Media Conference 2022. The room was buzzing with many conference first-timers eager to establish contact and have inspiring and meaningful conversations with individuals who share their passion for children’s media. Equally…

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CMC 2022: CMC 2022 Report – Opening Keynote, Ben McOwen Wilson

Posted on: Tuesday 05 July 2022 9:45pm by Lorna Partington Walsh

Takeaways Think about young people’s passion for environmental issues when commissioning content. Honour kids’ interest in conservationism by being ecofriendly in your production processes. The industry will need to take its responsibilities to young people even more seriously in the next few years. The industry will need to respond with positivity and creativity to the forthcoming regulatory and funding challenges. Sue Nott and Tim Patterson welcomed delegates back to Sheffield for the first time since 2019 before introducing CMC Changemaker, conservationist, and Britain’s Got Talent star Aneeshwar Kunchala. Seven-year-old Aneeshwar spoke to the audience about ‘Inspiration’. He explained that his inspiration comes from the natural world, declaring that all animals have a superpower. He described how he was inspired by…

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June 2022

CMC 2022: Preview – Mentoring

Posted on: Wednesday 29 June 2022 3:23pm by Chitra Soundar

Is mentoring just for newbies trying to break into the industry? Or do we all need mentors throughout our careers? If so, how do we find them? Chitra Sounder outlines the plan for her session in the Crucible Adelphi Room that explores the potential of being a mentor and being mentored. Our panellists will answer these and many other questions in CMC’s first ever session on mentoring. Don’t miss it.  As a little teaser, we asked our panellists about their experiences of mentoring. Ciaran Murtagh Back in 2008 my writing partner and I were asked to perform on a CBBC talent contest called 'The Slammer'. Although we didn’t win, or come second, or even third – ahem – the producer, Steve Ryde, liked what…

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CMC 2022: Preview – Live Changemakers at CMC

Posted on: Tuesday 28 June 2022 5:55pm by Amy Rich

CMC Changemakers are young people (usually under 25) with something to say to the children's media industry. They are all achievers in their own fields, some are campaigners, some are media personalities already.  In this year's CMC, four Changemakers will be live in The Crucible Theatre, while five others are featured in videos in the on-demand library.  Amy Rich outlines the live Changemakers and how they'll feature at CMC.   Ever since the legend, Whitney Houston, sang ‘I believe children are our future’ in ‘The Greatest Love of All’ circa 1986, us olds have known it’s only a matter of time before we’re kicked to the kerb to fester in the gutter, while the kids take over. So, before we’re too old to…

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CMC 2022: Preview – The Future of Education?

Posted on: Tuesday 28 June 2022 3:13am by Jo Redfern

There’s been a trend growing for a while that sees kids and young people search for information and learning online, outside of their formal schooling. For a myriad of reasons they’re looking to the internet for everything from information on finance (What is a mortgage, how much is the average salary? etc) to DIY (How do I hang a picture, what is a Phillips head screwdriver?) to basic cooking tips and innovative ways to learn coding. While this habit is nothing new amongst kids, the speed at which it increased during the pandemic was something never before seen, and the indications are that it continues even now schools are open. Video has replaced text as Generation Alpha’s preferred way of…

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CMC 2022: Preview: What Next for Kids?

Posted on: Wednesday 22 June 2022 6:57pm by Becky Jones

Becky Jones has produced many sessions for the CMC Learning Strand in recent years. But none are more important than What Next for Kids?  Following the CMC 2022 them, and reflecting on the state of childhood as we emerge for Covid, but into war, inflation, widespread childhood poverty and the education deficit caused by the last 2 years. What’s Next for Kids focuses on our responsibilities as content makers, broadcasters and platform operators, and learning providers  for the young audience today. In a post-pandemic world, our kids are entering a new phase of global unravelling – the war in Ukraine, failure of government, environmental destruction, poverty, inflation, fake news... the list is long.  Young people are being characterised as “behind” - educationally, disconnected socially and their mental well-being under…

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CMC 2022: Preview – Learning: Innovations in Literacy

Posted on: Wednesday 22 June 2022 5:57pm by Emma Boucher

The Learning Strand at CMC brings together the mainstream children's media industry and those professionals engaged in creating and distributing content directly focused on learning outcomes.  Emma Boucher, producer of the CMC video  Perspective on Learning: Innovations in Literacy outlines the plan behind her view for CMC's Learning Strand. Literacy is key to children enjoying and absorbing creative content. This video brings together some exciting and innovative approaches to tackle the literacy deficit, asking  What Next for children’s literacy. Children’s reading achievement has been hit hard by the pandemic with the impact seen across age groups, and younger children in particular the most affected. Our contributors, and their innovative projects to tackle the literacy deficit, span three mediums – television, games,…

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CMC 2022: Preview – Why Families are Asking for Diverse Media

Posted on: Wednesday 22 June 2022 1:51pm

This video in the Inclusivity Now strand The media we consume play a critical role in shaping how we make sense of ourselves, our identities, and the world around us. It can perpetuate stereotypes and bias, exacerbating injustice and inequities. But it also presents an opportunity to reduce bias, end division, and be a gateway to a more inclusive future. Research from Common Sense Media shows parents and caregivers agree that the media their kids are watching still largely contains stereotypes of people of colour. Most feel that White people are often portrayed in a positive light in the media their children are exposed to; one in four believe that portrayals of Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQIA+ people are more likely…

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CMC 2022: Preview – The Modern Black Fairytale

Posted on: Tuesday 21 June 2022 7:01pm by Chloe Lansley

The Inclusivity Now strand at CMC aims to offer practical solutions that delegates can use in their own working lives to improve access, representation or inclusion.  Chloe Lansley produced a case study of a surprising literary conversion and the powerful affect it had on both participants and viewers.   At the end of the Q&A session at Sky Kids’ and Sky Cinema’s Little Darlings premiere, a tiny voice popped up from the crowd: “I’ve never seen my kind of hair wet before on TV”. It was a moment of total delight for the show’s creative team, whose hope was to bring an authentic, positive, and uplifting Black story to the small screen for kids and parents alike. In this CMC panel, Executive…

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CMC 2022: Preview – Animation that Sustains

Posted on: Monday 20 June 2022 5:25pm by Amy Rich

Perspective on Animation and Sustainability is part of the "Animation for Good" strand of content at CMC 2022.  Video producer Megan Bryant gave CMC Blogger Amy Rich the low-down. When it comes to recycling and reusing, kids are majorly clued-up. After all, when there’s a kid around, a loo roll inner rarely makes it straight into the bin without being turned into something else first. But what about the adults who are responsible for creating their favourite content on-screen? Are they as savvy and green as the people they create content for? In this session, we take a look at the importance of sustainability on-screen and off-screen, and discover ways to make your animation production as sustainable as possible. Lucy Murphy, Director…

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CMC 2022: Preview – Going, Going, Going….. Live

Posted on: Monday 20 June 2022 1:46pm by David Kleeman

Remember the title sequence for Going Live? You will when you watch this video. But Perspective on... Going Live in the Metaverse has nothing to do with Saturday morning TV...  Or does it.  it's about the intersection of  entertainment, participation.  celebrity, music, brands, for kids.  but now we're in the virtual space.  David Kleeman outlines what this timely and relevant video covers.  Wouldn’t you love to go see your favourite performer, with a guaranteed front row seat and plenty of room to dance? Or you could have a spot right on the runway to preview the newest fashions, with the chance to try them on yourself? How about inviting your fans to meet your brand or characters in a playable world…

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CMC 2022: Preview – The Art Of… the Art Of…

Posted on: Friday 17 June 2022 3:06pm by Alison Stewart

The Art Of... sessions are some of the most popular that CMC offers each year. This year there are two live “Art Of... “sessions at The Crucible in Sheffield and two video presentations. people can watch at their leaisure. Alison Stewart regularly Execs the Art Of strand.... “The Art Of . . . “ sessions have been running at CMC since 2017.  These are not panel discussions, but are more informal mini-masterclasses, hosted by one or two experts, who talk about their career journeys, explain the scope of their current roles and give plenty of tips and takeaways for those interested to learn more or pursue a similar career. Past sessions have included The Art of the theme tune”, The…

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