Blogs in "Event Reports"

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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July 2020

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: 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: 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: Report: Lockdown, Learning and Brands

Posted on: Wednesday 08 July 2020 12:07am by Cate Zerega

Takeaways Navigating new platforms as a gateway to the brand is best executed by deeply learning about the platform, its content managers and what they want to promote. Otherwise the content will get lost. Lockdown has shone a light on positive content that helps children move through tiresome tasks in a positive, healthy way. A child’s existing interests are a great gateway to embedding STEM in their play. Moderator Lucy Gill began the discussion with Editor in Chief of Guinness World Records, Craig Glenday. Guinness found that the best way to reach kids is through partnership. He has access to a huge amount of content because they are currently receiving one hundred applications a week for records. The company moved…

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CMC 2020: Report: Commissioner Conversations – PSBs

Posted on: Tuesday 07 July 2020 5:58pm by Simon Bor

Takeaways Covid-19 has affected most broadcasters commissioning practices and schedules, but lockdown has produced interesting new content (including by young people). Broadcasters are investing more in diversity on- and off-screen, and YACF is enabling them to make better content choices. The future points to fewer linear models of programming, moving to more on-demand to reflect young people’s viewing habits. Most commissioners said that Covid-19 had pushed their schedules forward, replacing what could have been new programming for 2021. However, lockdown had generated a lot of spontaneous new content. All panellists agreed that the Young Audience Content Fund (YACF) was a great success and all had benefited from it. There was awareness from each of the speakers that BAME involvement in…

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CMC 2020: Report: Question Time – Right Now and What’s Next?

Posted on: Tuesday 07 July 2020 3:38pm by Catherine Trewavas

Takeaways       The Covid-19 pandemic has hugely impacted children’s lives, as well as the media industry.       This period of time does, however, present an opportunity to pause and bring our attention to issues affecting young people.       Content should reflect the diversity of audiences and encourage voices to be heard.       Creativity can flourish in challenging times, and we need to encourage policy makers to listen to young people's campaigning, as well as support the mental health of future generations. Right Now and What’s Next? Looking ahead to a future post-Covid 19, this session explored what’s next. Led by Newsround’s Leah Boleto, panellists Tracy Brabin MP, Ollie Bray from Lego Foundation,…

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CMC 2020: Report: CMC Keynote Panel: Black Lives Matter

Posted on: Monday 06 July 2020 9:02pm by Cate Zerega

Takeaways  Diversity in gatekeeping will help decision makers understand and produce authentic, full and complete stories in digital as well as broadcast.  Discomfort with talking about race is long held, but this has shifted with the death of George Floyd. We owe it to young people now and in the future to talk about it openly and instigate change.  Teams are more effective when they are diverse. It is important to speak up and offer possible solutions, even when you feel like you’re not the most important person in the room. Sue Nott, CMC’s Advisory Group Chair, welcomed delegates to CMC 2020 and introduced CMC Changemaker Nandi Bushell on her drums. Nandi has been raising awareness for Black Lives Matter…

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June 2020

CMC Webinars: Report: Life After Lockdown – An Opportunity for Change?

Posted on: Sunday 28 June 2020 12:23am by Cate Zerega

Key takeaways: The inspiration produced in a creative collaborative environment is difficult to replicate in the remote-work model and will hopefully be nurtured in post-lockdown business. Distractions can be a useful part of the creative process. If you only head down a linear path you only produce linear work. Sueann began by asking the panelists how they had made the adjustment to life in lockdown.  Each panelist found that they had adapted quickly to the technical components of working remotely and found that lockdown created a more open conversation about the challenges of organizing childcare. However, employee isolation and creating a collaborative environment while working remotely were issues needing more dynamic problem-solving. The panel agreed that maintaining motivation and creativity…

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April 2020

CMC Webinars: Blog – Kids in the Time of Corona

Posted on: Monday 27 April 2020 10:36am

In the first of a series of webinars for the ‘Children’s Media Community’ leading up to the online Children’s Media Conference in July, the presentations shared the latest data about kids’ response to coronavirus lockdown and what it might mean for content producers in the short- and long-term. Adam Woodgate, Dubit Adam presented the latest research data representing kids’ media consumption from 2017 to 2020 (slides available by request from adam.woodgate@dubitlimited.com). Some of the more notable findings: An uptick in use of smart speakers, which are broadly discounted by parents as ‘screen time’. Tablets are making a comeback in lockdown. PC laptop use is on the rise—a likely consequence of remote learning. Linear TV viewing for pre-schoolers is on the…

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July 2019

CMC 2019: Report – Research 5 & 6

Posted on: Wednesday 24 July 2019 12:55am

Research 5 and 6 focused on the trends in familial co-consumption of content and possible ways to improve con-consumption experiences. In today’s media landscape, digital media dominate daily habits for both children and adults. Research 5 looked at how grandparents fit into the picture of children’s playtime. Additionally, it examined how the difference in play styles between the generations could be reconciled with today’s technology. Research 6 talked about trends in familial co-viewing of content and attitudes of parents and children in different activities. Takeaways: Grandparents are increasingly likely to join in on digital gaming Smart toys are a really good way to bridge that gap Parents are feeling guilty about not spending enough time with their children TV is…

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CMC 2019: Report – Are the Robots Coming for our Children?

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 1:01pm

There is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having an increasing impact across a wide range of industries. This session explored both the opportunities for AI in children’s industries, from robots to marketing campaigns, as well as the risks and ethical dilemmas this presents. In such an exciting and fast growing area, how do we ensure as an industry that we don’t cross the line? Takeaways:  Applications for AI across children’s media are fast emerging, from robots that support early language development to deep analysis providing audience insights However, there are also numerous potential risks and ethical concerns The panellists highlighted existing guidelines such as those from the European Commission and called for more research, discussion and rules both…

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