Blogs in "Blog"

July 2021

CMC 2021: Report – The Last Word

Posted on: Saturday 10 July 2021 2:49pm by Lorna Partington Walsh

Takeaways Adults shouldn’t assume young people will trust them; many young people have been let down by adults who must work to regain trust. Adults must take a genuine interest in young people and not just pay lip service because it’s part of their job. Young people must be consultants in whatever adults produce for them for it to have authenticity and value. Adults must put themselves into positions where they must trust young people. Only by showing trust can we get the best from young people. Sue Nott thanked the delegates, supporters and sponsors of the CMC and summed up a theme that emerged during the conference as trusting young people and enabling them to make a difference. She…

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CMC 2021: Report – Commissioner Conversations Channels

Posted on: Friday 09 July 2021 11:26pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways The priority for both brands is being where kids are.  Projects that have local content with global legs are a fit across platforms.  Exciting pitches have diversity baked into the idea and the team and helps brands reach and reflect all children and voices. Zia Bales is open for pitching year round. The pandemic caused WarnerMedia to add virtual and email pitching to supplement the in-person process. The pre-buy process depends on the needs of the series and the slot available. They try to begin collaboration early in the project’s development process and secure a broad scope of rights. WarnerMedia is a good fit for projects that fill local needs and have global intentions. Zia would like to continue…

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CMC 2021: Report – Write On

Posted on: Friday 09 July 2021 7:01pm by Simon Bor

Takeaways ● Everyone in the writers’ room has permission to talk nonsense and say things that aren’t going to be broadcast. ● Nobody really knows what a show is until halfway through the first series. ● In the writers’ room, you need detonators who also bring solutions. ● If you are a wallflower, make sure you’re the first to speak. Host Julian Scott asked us to guess which of the panellists had chased Gordon Brown down the street dressed as Mr Spock, stood in for Rowan Atkinson, given Ralph Fiennes elocution lessons or got a KGB officer drunk, all to be revealed at the end of the session. Julian started by asking the panel how you make writers welcome in the writer’s room. ‘Wine and…

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CMC 2021: Report – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Posted on: Thursday 08 July 2021 11:33pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways The platform landscape is impacting show development and creating exciting opportunities for experimentation and out-of-the-box thinking.  This is a great time for projects championing diversity on screens and behind the scenes.  It’s a great moment for projects about mindfulness. The dragons heard diverse and vibrant five minute pitches from Jemma Gross of Fly High Stories, Author Chitra Soundar, Kath Shackleton of Fettle, and game designer Irwin Fustec.  Jemma Gross pitched ‘Poppy & Mo’, a show for ages 4-7 that mixes animation and live action to explore mental health and feelings in eleven minute episodes. Fly High Stories used emergency funding during the pandemic to transition their live events into an animated show and discovered their love for animation. The…

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CMC 2021: Report – Commissioner Conversations VOD

Posted on: Thursday 08 July 2021 11:21pm by Simon Bor

Takeaways: Sky Kids looks for content that complements rather than competes with their partner broadcasters. Kidoodle should be regarded as a new revenue stream. The UK is now a top-3 provider to Netflix, and in the past year, the platform spent a billion on UK production across the board. Children should learn that it’s okay not to be okay, sometimes. Two recurring themes cropped up in Tiernan Douieb’s discussion with VOD commissioners.  The first was the importance of their educational content during the pandemic, the second that their commissioned content often complements the global brands offered by some of their partners. Lucy Murphy, Director of Kids’ Content at Sky, said that everything changed as the pandemic hit, but they still managed to get an…

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CMC 2021: Report – The CMC Debate

Posted on: Thursday 08 July 2021 9:42pm by Lorna Partington Walsh

Takeaways Regulation is coming! CMC delegates should play a part in the debate and be open to all ideas at this stage, however controversial. The definition of PSM must evolve to be fit for purpose in the new algorithmic viewing environment. Kids must be included in the conversation about the future of PSM and be involved in commissioning. PSM must figure out its place in the ‘metaverse’ and consider ‘context’ alongside ‘content’. Moderator Pat Younge began by promoting the launch today of the Children’s Media Foundation report ‘Our Children’s Future: Does Public Service Media Matter?’ (also available to download in the CMC Delegate Bag). He then introduced one of the contributors to the report, Lord Vaizey. Ed Vaizey offered a…

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CMC 2021: Report – Commissioner Conversations BBC

Posted on: Thursday 08 July 2021 6:51pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways BBC Children’s has moved to an open-door pitch policy, and ideas can be pitched when ready, no need to wait on the calendar.  The team welcomes ideas rooted in British culture that reflect the variety of lives of kids growing up in the UK today. New and platform-agnostic voices/projects are welcome. Patricia Hidalgo and her team announced the Ignite initiative during this session. Ignite seeks to fund animation from both established and new voices with ideas rooted in British culture and relevant to British children growing up today. Sarah said she was eager to get started leveling the playing field with real funding for British animation from different voices.  Patricia stated that the biggest change during her tenure at…

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CMC 2021: Report – Creative Keynote: Dani Harmer and Jacqueline Wilson

Posted on: Thursday 08 July 2021 12:42am by Simon Bor

Takeaways ● Tracy Beaker is back, all grown up and bringing up her own daughter. ● Dani Harmer: ‘Unless you’re in a soap, you don’t normally get this kind of role.’ ● Mobile phones have ruined so much for writers! ● Children love naughtiness and recognise that Tracy has learnt to be tough and stick up for herself, but underneath she just wants her mum. ● Jacqueline Wilson: ‘I’m in the mind of a child; I see things from a child’s point of view.’ Sue  Nott, CMC Advisory Chair, introduced this keynote session as the first in-person CMC panel since lockdown; live from a studio, complete with extra-long socially distanced sofas! Rhianna Dhillon started by reminding ‘Tracy Beaker’ author Jacqueline Wilson, and Tracy Beaker…

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CMC 2021: Report- Animation Assemble: Talent and Toons

Posted on: Thursday 08 July 2021 12:31am by Lorna Partington Walsh

Takeaways  Animation remains the cornerstone of kids’ commissioning and, if anything, growing in importance. Commissioners are looking for local stories that represent children’s lives but have global appeal. Diversity off-screen is a priority and projects should address new talent development, especially of writers/showrunners/directors who are women or from underrepresented backgrounds. Producers/creators are encouraged to come forward with strong, character-driven ideas that the commissioner can help shape into a fully developed show. Beth Parker introduced the panellists and the theme of the session: working together to create quality content for kids. She began by asking the contributors to explain why animation is important to their company. ViacomCBS: Animation is a cornerstone for Nickelodeon worldwide. Their animated shows present the world from…

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CMC 2021: Report – The Key To… Konnie Huq

Posted on: Wednesday 07 July 2021 2:41am by Cate Zerega

Takeaways If people can get the kids right then the future is bright.  You have to see it to be it, so inclusivity is an important norm to continue pursuing. Your little me, when joined with the other little me’s, can spread the opportunity and responsibility for climate sustainability and action. Konnie Huq’s key philosophy is: ‘If people can get the kids right, then the future is bright.’ Huq, in conversation with Newsround presenter Ricky Boleto, said that there was little emphasis on BAME representation in programming when she became the first Asian presenter on 'Blue Peter'. However,  children’s TV has always led the way in her experience.  She had to navigate tokenism as a path to inclusivity becoming the…

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CMC 2021: Report – Commissioner Conversation PSB and YACF

Posted on: Wednesday 07 July 2021 1:58am by Lorna Partington Walsh

Takeaways All PSB broadcasters are commissioning content after the disrupted year of Covid. Channels are looking to on-demand to help broaden opportunities for youth content. YACF has helped all commercial PSB channels widen their commissioning remit, serve new audiences, and work with new creators. Live-action content is broadly favoured by the commissioners because it can better represent the UK’s diversity of young people. Chris Jarvis introduced the contributors: Louise Bucknole (for Channel 5’s Milkshake!), Jackie Edwards (YACF), Sioned Wyn Roberts (S4C), and Paul Mortimer (ITV).   YACF Jackie presented the successes of the fund, now in its second year, and praised the level of industry engagement. She announced that a full evaluation report will be presented to DCMS in the autumn and…

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CMC 2021: Report – Opening Keynote

Posted on: Wednesday 07 July 2021 1:14am by Lorna Partington Walsh

Takeaways Art and creativity gives every young person, irrespective of background, the potential to express themselves and find their place in the world. If teachers, parents, and professionals do not include young people in the conversation and key decisions, we are failing them. Young people need role models in the arts if they are given the best chance to reach their creative potential. Media for young people are indispensable to parents, teachers and the young audience itself to ensure the young people can learn and develop. Artists and creatives can engage with Andria’s Artists in Residence programme via the website: www.artistsinresidence.org.uk Sue Nott officially launched CMC 2021 and introduced Global Teacher Award winner Andria Zafirakou, who presented an inspirational keynote…

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CMC 2021: Report – Question Time

Posted on: Wednesday 07 July 2021 1:05am by Cate Zerega

Takeaways There is still long-term value in investment in original content. The path forward in regulating cyberspace might be to protect the positive features of children creating content for themselves while designing protections and transparent processes for the young audience. If we want younger people to engage with the PSBs, we have to give them relevant content (which is an economic challenge). Host, Leah Boleto began by getting the panel’s take on the recent press stories about possible reduction of UK content in the EU. John McVay clarified that because the agreements around content wee Euopean rather than EU affairs there was no immediate threat to UK exports, as there was little the EU could do in the short term. …

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CMC 2021: Preview – Perspective On… Escapism or Empowerment? Children’s Media’s Role in Motivating Action

Posted on: Monday 05 July 2021 3:27pm by Mary-Jane Attafuah

 Mary-Jane Attafuah from Tifi has produced a video for the Perspective On... strand at CMC 2021. It asks "to what extent should kids' media promote and encourage activism in the young audience?" 2020 left us with a sharpened awareness of our impact on the planet and each other. What this means for children and the future they’ll inhabit is unclear, but as the leaders of the future - today’s children will inherit the consequences of the environmental and social issues we have created. It seems children are already engaging with these issues. The Insights Family survey more than half a million children and parents every year to understand their attitudes and behaviour, and found that far from being passive observers, kids…

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CMC 2021: Preview – Inclusivity Now – Inclusion & Creativity: The Manga Connection

Posted on: Monday 05 July 2021 2:20pm by Nigel Twumasi

Nigel Twumasi presents the video in the CMC 2021 Inclusivity Now strand which considers the power of Manga to advance diversity and inclusion. Manga is a medium that is so often misunderstood, even as it fills the shelves of enthusiastic readers across the country. The Japanese form of comic storytelling is frequently seen through the narrow lens of a stereotype, leading content producers to miss the great potential it has to speak to a new generation eager to consume content that relates to them.  In our video, Inclusion & Creativity: The Manga Connection, we examine the medium and learn why manga strikes such a chord. Our contributors will highlight how it can act as a bridge for inclusion in children's…

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June 2021

CMC 2021: Preview: Inclusivity Now – Bringing Diversity to Life

Posted on: Friday 25 June 2021 10:39pm by Lydia Mossahebi

“When I was younger, I really didn’t understand how come kids on TV had blonde hair and why didn’t I have blonde hair? And then I just felt left out.” Mia - 11 years old  Diversity and inclusion is so often discussed as something producers and content makers strive for, but what steps need to be made to turn that into a reality and create tangible results for young audiences? In this session, Bringing Diversity to Life, we sought experts from Mattel, Viacom and the BBC, who have made an impact in this space to discuss the ways they’ve found to deliver content that really cuts through to the audience. It’s an honest conversation about the challenges they found along…

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CMC 2021: Preview – Perspective On… Happy Media, Happy Mind

Posted on: Friday 25 June 2021 10:38pm by Sallyann Keizer

Sallyann Keizer, MD of BAFTA-winning Sixth Sense Media and founder of two mental health non-profits, writes about her upcoming panel ‘Happy Media, Happy Mind’ and why 2021 is the year to open up a real conversation about child mental health. Early this year, I was asked to write an article for the Children's Media Yearbook on the importance of protecting child mental health. As a children’s content maker of 25 years and the founder of Bow-Wowza, a digital non-profit offering empowering children to flourish, this topic is close to my heart. I began the article with one of my favourite quotes, from Archbishop Desmond Tutu:  “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the…

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July 2020

CMC 2020: What has the CMC ever done for me? Opening My Eyes….

Posted on: Friday 24 July 2020 11:49pm

Liesl Hammer is an 18 year old intern with ToyLikeMe - the arts and play not-for-profit organisation that campaigns playfully and effectively around disability representation in toys and its capacity to boost self-esteem and grow open minds.  ToyLikeMe is now producing ‘MixMups’ a new animation with disabled lead characters, currently in production at McKinnon and Saunders and Raydar Media. This was explored in one of the Inclusivity Now strand videos for CMC 2020 Online. Through my attendance at the CMC 2020, as part of my internship with ToyLikeMe, I was able to discover what the children’s media industries are doing to improve diversity on and off screen. In September I start a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. As a young disabled woman I was keen to see all…

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CMC 2020: Report: Masterclass: Moomins & Pippi Longstocking

Posted on: Friday 10 July 2020 7:08pm by Simon Bor

Takeaways  ‘Pippi Longstocking’ was central to re-educating children after the second world war and the end of the Hitler Youth. The beauty of Pippi Longstocking as a character is that she is at home doing normal things. ‘Moomins’ reflects Finnish society after the war. Men were working and women were more resourceful. There are parallels between the two Nordic classics by Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren and Finnish writer/illustrator Tove Jansson: both ‘Pippi Longstocking’ and ‘Moomins’ started in an intimate way, are celebrating their seventy-fifth anniversaries, were written by female authors whose lives spanned the twentieth century, and are now being put back on the screen with the ‘Moominvalley’ TV series and a feature film for Pippi. Children’s writer Frank Cotterell-Boyce…

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CMC 2020: The Last Word: What’s Next?

Posted on: Friday 10 July 2020 5:12pm by Lorna Partington Walsh

CMC Advisory Committee Chair Sue Nott introduced the final session of the conference with a run down of the highlights and thanks to the supporters and contributors in 2020. Despite lockdown, CMC has continued to support the kids’ media industry by keeping it “alive, alert and punching above its weight.” Delegates were then treated to performances from Miss Jacqui and John Kelly of Graeae Theatre. Both writers, musicians and performers, they explained that, as Disabled people, they had faced challenges throughout their lives and dealt with them through a relationship to the arts.  Having worked in the arts for nearly 30 years, with performers both disabled and non-disabled, John understands first hand that inclusion works. He talked about feeling different…

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CMC 2020: Report: Animation Assemble!

Posted on: Friday 10 July 2020 5:06pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways Flexibility. The flexibility achieved in animation during lockdown is a powerful tool to use in post Covid production & office culture.  Challenges in licensing for children to work in voice whilst in lockdown, technical difficulties and struggle to direct take longer and are harder in lockdown so must be planned for to ensure that kids voices are retained in animation.  The lockdown implementation of virtual writers rooms have helped manage a bar of entry in the U.K. allowing to bring in wider voices from around the world Host Beth Parker began by asking the panel about the opportunities the animation sector has experienced because its production is suited to the conditions of lockdown.  Kate O’Connor, Director of Animation UK,…

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CMC 2020: Preview: Perspective On… New Trends for Kids in Interactive Content,

Posted on: Thursday 09 July 2020 11:15pm by Kate Dimbleby Rupert Howe

Kate Dimbleby, who produced the CMC video Perspective on... New Trends for Kids in Interactive Content,comsiders "the world turned upside down..." As Act one of 'Hamilton' ends, the lines “the world turned upside down” ring out.   I sing along with my 14 and 12 year old feeling the relevance.  It does seem that way.  And yet, for children, they will soon know no different.  Always growing faster and more flexibly than the adults who entertain them.  In our session, we focus on the New Trends for Interactive - the streaming interactive kids' shows Netflix have been pioneering and how we can no longer see this kind of content as purely additive or complementary. As one of our speakers, Alex Breen from…

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CMC 2020: Report: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Posted on: Thursday 09 July 2020 6:07pm by Lorna Partington Walsh

This session began with an invitation from session sponsor Enterprise Ireland to visit the specially created website for CMC delegates to explore what Ireland has to offer creatives: https://irishadvantage.com/events/cmc/. Under the guidance of dragon-wrangler Nigel Clarke, three creatives pitched their projects to the ‘dragons’, who were Jules Borkent (VCNI), Nigel Pickard (Nevision), Adina Pitt (Cartoon Network), and Alison Warner (Blue Zoo Rights). Pitch 1: ‘Umami’ (Jonathan Clarke, Distillery Films) Set in the world of food trucks, this is an animation for 6-11 year olds that is “fun, fast, and full of flavour”. It follows 4 friends whose parents own different trucks selling various street foods. The pitch outlined the world, values, and dramatic tension of the show and introduced the…

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CMC 2020: Report: Commissioner Conversations- Channels

Posted on: Thursday 09 July 2020 5:26pm by Simon Bor

Takeaways Producers must do their homework. They need to watch the channels and be prepared to explain how the project fits. In normal times meetings would be at markets, but it’s virtual pitches only at the moment. All content should have the potential to go global, even if it starts as a regional or national project. Ben Cajee hosted this year’s commissioner’s conversation with global channels, Warner Media (Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito) and ViacomCBS Networks (the Nickelodeon channels). Before this, he introduced a short Changemaker video featuring disability rights campaigner, Lucy Edwards. In the video, she highlights and challenges the fact that 18% of people of working age have a disability, but in the children’s media industry only 5.7% of…

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CMC 2020: Report: Write On

Posted on: Thursday 09 July 2020 2:29pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways No tardiness: a deadline is your friend. Study: know your show, know your broadcaster, know your audience, know yourself. Practice and study versatility: different types of writing and platforms always come back to the story. What does your character want? What obstacles will I put in their way? Enjoy and use your network: most of us want to pay the help we received forward to new voices. The session began with a screening of ‘Why’ by Joshua Haith, an Under-16 Finalist in the PQATV / CMC One-Minute Film Competition, and moderator Sharna Jackson encouraged everyone to view he 15 finalists and vote fore winning film.  The conversation began with Adam Redfern of Red Furnace Productions discussing how to make…

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CMC 2020: Report: Creative Keynote – Cressida Cowell

Posted on: Wednesday 08 July 2020 10:44pm by Catherine Trewavas

Takeaways “Creativity is magic and magic is for everyone!” The key to succeeding is finding your personal quest. Have confidence in your own style, write without rules and create characters to care about! This session opened with Changemaker and comedian Aaron Simmonds who talked about his creative process in lockdown, particularly the importance of trying out ideas and making mistakes to get that spark. During the past few months, he has created a new podcast which is due to be released in the next couple of weeks. He also talked about how comedy has given him the opportunity to redefine how people see his cerebral palsy, saying, “stand-up has opened up a conversation”. Then we joined Waterstones Children’s Laureate and…

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CMC 2020: Report: Commissioner Conversations- SVODs

Posted on: Wednesday 08 July 2020 10:32pm by Simon Bor

Takeaways  The on-demand platforms are serving families well during the pandemic with educational content and art-and-craft shows helping home-schooled kids. Black History and diversity are amongst the projects the platforms would look at getting involved with. The platforms are on the lookout to acquire big brands and little gems. Children’s on-demand television has seen a huge rise in demand this year. Four representatives of companies that continue to feed the appetite of kids in the UK and territories through the world were on hand to talk to Chris Jarvis and explain what sort of opportunities are on offer to content providers.   Brenda Bisner, Chief Content Officer at Kidoodle.TV, described the service as a streaming app for kids; a safe…

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CMC 2020: Preview: Masterclass: Moomins and Pippi Longstocking

Posted on: Wednesday 08 July 2020 7:03pm by Sharon Miller

Sharon Miller,  Session Producer admits to being a "late adopter" but is now a convert. Remarkably - if not alarmingly - I grew up without 'Pippi Longstocking' or 'Moomins' in my childhood.  My loss.  However...the upside is that I've been able to discover Pippi and Moomins as an adult - and understand quite how extraordinary they both  are.  The webinar on Friday afternoon at 2pm is a unique opportunity to find out and understand more about these two fascinating women - Tove Jansson and Astrid Lindgren, who created 'Moomins' and 'Pippi Longstocking', respectively.  It's an opportunity not to be missed. Two women whose lives were the seedbeds for their stories, characters and worlds that - for 75 years - have beguiled,…

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CMC 2020: Report: The BFI YACF: Success, Learning and the Future

Posted on: Wednesday 08 July 2020 2:39pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways The first year of the YACF has helped strengthen the production pipeline throughout the UK. Please use word of mouth to help increase the plurality of voices the YACF seeks to amplify. Use available funding to help you look through the unknowns to a bright future. Nico Franks of C21 Media explained that BFI’s Young Audiences Content Fund was introduced at the CMC in 2019. Jackie Edwards, head of the YACF at BFI, revealed that, over the last year, the fund received 227 applications, of which BFI approved 81. Around £13 million has been awarded in funding. Lockdown made public service even more important as a means of creative expression for children, and the fully online YACF application process…

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CMC 2020: Preview: Commissioer Conversations VODs

Posted on: Wednesday 08 July 2020 9:42am by Fayon Dixon

Session producer Fayon Dixon realty produced a research session about the SVODs for the CMC Friday Webinars.  Undaunted, she returns to the subject for CMC 2020 Online. The build up to Wednesday's Commissioners Conversations, has been another fantastic learning curve!! This is my second time producing for CMC and during lockdown and it's been an great insight to what some of the largest names in commissioning are up to and what they would like to hear from you. In the last couple of months whilst preparing, I have seen just why this platform is so necessary for enabling future ideas to reach the ears of our commissioners. I've had to request so much information from our speakers to ensure we…

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