Blogs

July 2017

CMC 2017: Report – The Art of Personalisation and The Art of Discoverability

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 1:06pm by Simon Bor

The second two-for-one Art of… sessions took a look into the world of personalised publishing and how children will, or will not, discover your content Takeaway: Your child's data can be used to create a personalised book Find a niche. You are not going to be able to compete with Harry Potter straight away Know your audience and engage with it Detail: The Art of Personalisation Alison Stewart, Head of Production at CBeebies, introduced the session and the first speaker, Nick Marsh, Head of Product at Lost My Name (the world’s leading personalised publishing company). Nick was pleased to be back in Sheffield where he grew up. He took us through the personalised books his company makes available online. They are…

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CMC 2017: Report – CMC Creative Keynote: Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 11:26am by Tyler McRae

The session began with a presentation by changemaker Nikki Christou: The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: The connoisseurs of Creamy Muck Muck, Dick and Dom had entered the Crucible to cause mess, mayhem and talk about their 20+ year career in children’s television. Takeaway:  Their success wouldn’t exist without enthusiastic, hard-working teams around them Give children a greater media platform to present themselves Invest in silly! Detail: There was no better way to kick off the keynote than with some audience participation from Dick and Dom, which loosened up the crowd. Armed with loaded water bottles, they left the audience laughing and some of them soaking wet. They opened up about being influenced…

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CMC 2017: Report – Meet the Commissioners: Branded Content

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 11:04am

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: The process of adapting series or films from books, toys or dolls is not new, but in our evolving world of converging content and 360° approach where the dynamics are changing, it is difficult to know what comes first: The toys? The merchandising? The story? Or is it social media? Hasbro Studio, Mattel Creation and Beano Studio share their approaches. Takeaway: Big toy and IP companies are still developing their own IP but are also taking on-board new IP to be developed and are open to ideas to develop some of their historical brands and characters Stories and characters are now the biggest driver for branded content…

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CMC 2017: Report – The Fall and Rise of British Comics

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 10:56am by Catherine Trewavas

Comics have played an important part in the childhoods of many British kids and classic characters continue to endure, whilst new stories emerge and engage readers. However, despite continued interest in comics, newsagents seem to be in short supply. How are methods of distribution changing and how are fanbases being sustained? Takeaway: Comics are a strong example of how to build a fanbase around characters that audiences really connect with Using online platforms to reach fans in a new way has been important for Beano but hard copies of comics are still popular Commissioning editors should attend conventions to meet with creators and discover content and ideas Detail: The enduring appeal of comics was emphasised by Joe Brady, Deputy Editor…

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CMC 2017: Report – Show Me the Money! The Business Realities of VR

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 10:51am by Laurel Stone

Virtual reality has rocketed in popularity this last year. In this session, Matthew Thomas, MTM London, asked a panel of experts about the challenges faced by companies and developers working to bring this relatively new technology into the mainstream of children’s media. Takeaway: Large companies are hesitant to take financial risk on a new market However, children are aware of the technology and keen to try it There is a demand for new children’s content in VR The future of VR is more social than you might expect Detail: In new VR projects aimed at children, there are some exciting developments out there, with educational programmes joining games and simulations. However, the evolution of child-targeted VR seems to lie in…

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CMC 2017: Report – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 10:38am by Lucy Heavens

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: Prospective show creators got in the den (a really big stage in front of a really big audience!) to pitch their ideas to the dragons (your friendly neighbourhood producers). After a five-minute pitch, the panellists bid for the show-creator’s time in a three-month 'chat' period Takeaway: These broadcasters get a lot of pitches and they get them often. It’s really important to have a handle on what makes yours unique. Know the marketplace. At the end of the day the broadcasters are looking for strong characters and stories with the potential for comedy and pathos. The stories, what the show is really about, should shine through. Awesome animation is awesome, but…

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CMC 2017: BarrowBand Flash Mob

Posted on: Thursday 06 July 2017 12:05am by Gabrielle Smith

Upon arrival at the Crucible Theatre for tonight's Creative Keynote, delegates were greeted to what appeared to be a very traditional marketplace fruit 'n' veg stall parked in the entrance. But this was no ordinary market barrow – it was in fact The BarrowBand. Flash mob like you've never seen before, this band of musicians and performers are changing the way people eat with clever, witty and funny songs about fruit, vegetables and healthy eating. Lovely, lovely, broccoli – don't mistake it for a tree!        

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CMC 2017: Report – Attention Seekers

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 11:45pm by Lyndsey Smith

What do the digital native 10-16 years want these days and how must today's producers develop their content accordingly? Takeaway: The audience between the ages of 10 and 16 are the toughest to capture It's important to use many platforms – linear TV is not the primary platform for this age group Listening to the audience is key – they know what they want and need from content Detail: “No audience is as tough to capture as tweens and teens,” said David Kleeman, SVP of Global Trends and Dubit. Exploring how the panel are managing to do this, Newsround editor, Lewis James explained how they are changing the way that content is produced. He illustrated his points with juxtaposing examples – the…

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CMC 2017: Report – Deciphering the Data Puzzle

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 11:26pm by Catherine Trewavas

Children are increasingly consuming content through online platforms and using many different devices to do so. A panel of experts discuss the use of analytics in monitoring trends, as well as challenges and advantages that come with these developing technologies Takeaway: Children are increasingly turning to online platforms rather than linear TV More digital media consumption means trends can be tracked with greater ease Understanding audiences and data sharing can create commercial opportunities Detail: How can we use data science and analytics to change the way we make content for children? Children’s media consumption has changed dramatically. Over the last decade, 5-15 year olds are now spending more time online than watching linear TV. Harnessing digital data can bring new…

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CMC 2017: Report – Meet the Commissioners: Channels

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 6:27pm

The full session is available here as videos and as podcasts: Nico Franks of C21 Media, introduced executives from the digital children’s channels Nickelodeon, Baby TV, Disney and Turner. Takeaway: Nickelodeon says: "Approach a pitch as a partnership, not as a boss/employee relationship." Baby TV addresses parents first. Disney is open to pitches from every talented individual. Turner is open all year round for submissions Detail: Nickelodeon Alison Bakunowich, General Manager of UK and Ireland, and Nina Hahn, Senior VP of Nickelodeon, were first to set out their stall. Nickelodeon is currently the number one satellite kids network, and boasts coverage of kids in nappies to skinny jeans, with pre-school being their biggest viewing category. Nickelodeon (and Channel 5’s Milkshake) owners…

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CMC 2017: Report – New Kids on the Block

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 6:16pm by Amy King

Leading this panel, Jon Watts tackles the question of what does it take to succeed as a new company entering the children’s media market? The diverse panel of innovators and entrepreneurs discuss their own experiences in the industry, and what they have learnt along the way. Takeaway: Originality is key. Don’t worry about what the bigger companies are doing. People who take risks and think differently are the future of children’s media. Work hard, survive and thrive! Detail: When competing against media giants, such as Netflix and Amazon, Raul Carbo Perea from In Efecto advises that while it can be intimidating entering into the market, the challenge is part of the adventure and that ‘making things with heart’ has driven…

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CMC 2017: Report – The Ethics of VR – Inside a Child’s Virtual World

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 6:08pm by Bethan Cook

Journalist Stuart Dredge moderates this afternoon’s session dedicated to understanding how children between the ages of six and twelve interact with Virtual Reality. What does it mean to children? How should they use it? What impact does it have? Takeaways: VR is still somewhat of a sensitive subject in the children’s world VR and AR have become useful tools in educating children VR creates a gap in the market, and offers experiences that are more immersive and social than ever before Propositions to create rest breaks whilst using VR to promote a healthier, non-addicted lifestyle (unlike traditional gaming) Various issues regarding the length of time children should be using such devices Detail: Leading the panel’s discussion, Stuart Dredge reminds us…

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CMC 2017: Report – The Art of Writing for Animation and The Art of the Theme Tune: Knowing The Score

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:31pm by Tyler McRae

Two Art of… talks in one session saw an insightful interview with top children's writer Andrew Brenner, followed by notes on notes from composers Banks and Wag Takeaways: Writers and composers both need to absorb the whole show as inspiration, not just an outline brief Writers need to be aware of an animated world's limitations and restrictions, and let that shape your characters accordingly Composers shouldn't be afraid of putting their own style and interpretation on a brief Writing For Animation Kath Shackleton, Director of Fettle Animation, hosted a fascinating half-hour talk with writer Andrew Brenner, with the conversation covering the craft of working on animation scripts, the relationship between writers and producers, and how he first got into animation…

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CMC 2017: Report – Reflecting and Serving Neurodiversity

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:21pm by Catherine Trewavas

The team creating new preschool programme ‘Pablo’ discussed making an inclusive, positive show which promotes understanding for children on the autistic spectrum. The session explored the process of developing stories celebrating neurodiversity and asked how we can put children’s ideas and creativity at the heart of programming Takeaway: New programme 'Pablo’ will provide an insight into the experiences of a neurodiverse child Authentic and insightful stories have been developed through working closely with people who have personal experience of autism Creating accessible games content through the addition of extra features is important in making products as inclusive as possible   Detail: Gráinne McGuinness, Creative Director at Paper Owl Films, believes in creating meaningful content for preschool viewers. ‘Pablo’ is a programme…

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CMC 2017: Report – Play Patterns in Digital

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:19pm

Child development doesn’t change, but its context does. In a digital world, playthings have taken new virtual forms but how are digital toys changing existing play patterns? Experts give some insight on relationships between physical to digital play Takeaway: Digital playthings are an evolution rather than a revolution – “It is mimicry of what we know until it becomes something new” (Jais Holm Christensen’s presentation) Leave place for the child’s imagination and discovery rather than dictating a linear play pattern For a successful transition to digital, a brand needs to start from its essence, mission or values, understand the relationship with the children and parents, and only then look at the digital component expansion Detail: David Kleeman, SVP at Dubit,…

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CMC 2017: Report – Focus on China

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:10pm by Lyndsey Smith

With a co-production treaty between China and the UK imminent, host Chris Colman led the session informing delegates on how China and the West can collaborate on children’s media projects in the future.          Takeaway: Collaboration between the UK and Chinese markets is predicted to continue in the future The Department for International Trade (DIT) is on hand to help with the deal making process between the UK and China Patience is key – the language barrier must be considered Detail: Delegates were given an insight into the experiences of UK producers already working with China and from some of the Chinese producers about what they are looking for and how a China-UK collaboration could work. Oli…

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CMC 2017: Report – Look! No Strings

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 5:08pm by Gabrielle Smith

Puppets are brought to life for television, theatre and film by the talented puppeteers that operate them. Thinking about puppetry as a skilled and diverse art, this panel explores the magic and illusion of puppets and performance Takeaway: Puppets have the ability to animate and engage their audience, and are allowed to get away with things that a human just couldn’t! Performance skills are essential: a puppeteer must sing, act, dance, move… and then make it live! The craft of the puppeteer is often a self-directing role Detail: As puppeteer and puppet maker Neil Sterenberg begins: "Puppets are perennially loved, they hold a special place in our culture and have been around since we’ve been around." With an array of…

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CMC 2017: 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. Takeaway: 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! Detail: 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…

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CMC 2017: Report – Kids – Do We Care… Enough?

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 4:44pm by Simon Bor

Presenter and actor Cel Spellman, who starred as a child actor in 'Waterloo Road', examined how television professionals deal with working with children Takeaway: There are challenges (but good ones) in using children in TV programmes – with The Voice kids' version a prime example. There is no equity minimum for a child. There should possibly be a limit to the length of time for kids' consent to appear on TV     Detail: Adapting ‘The Voice UK’ into a children’s version has been a challenge… ,’ said Jeanette Moffat, production executive on ITV’s ‘The Voice Kids’, ‘… but a good one.’ Jeanette explained that there are subtle differences between the adult and kids' versions, including: All the chairs all turn…

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CMC 2017: Report – Trade, Treaties & Taxes

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 3:58pm by Simon Bor

Micky Rogers, MRM Inc., hosted this session on the burning questions about financing in the shadow of Brexit, and asked the experts: where are the risks and where are the opportunities? Takeaway: Bad news: No deal on Brexit would not be good for the industry Good news: Co-productions under existing treaties will continue to work whatever happens during Brexit negotiations The current tax credit scheme is unlikely to be taken away, having being introduced by Labour and extended by the Conservatives. Detail Rosina Robson of PACT thought that no deal on Brexit would not be good for the industry. What she thinks needs to be agreed is how to ensure UK production continues to be regarded as European, and that the…

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CMC 2017: Report – IP 360

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 3:40pm

This session used real-world case studies to explore why some IP succeeds and some does not in today's 360 landscape. By Guest Blogger Craig Hill Takeaway: There is no one 'magic bullet'; success in 360 comes from attention to detail across a wide range of disciplines including planning, finance, asset management, audience research, platform understanding, development timelines A deep understanding of the child's view of the brand, the storyline and characters is essential to be able to bring them to life in different ways on each platform, playing to the strengths of each It is important to have a deep understanding of children's play patterns and styles of interaction, and use each platform in the right way to match them…

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CMC 2017: Report – Can We Fix It?

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 3:06pm by Tyler McRae

Debating the issues surrounding online child safety has never been more important. Giles Dilnot spearheaded this important panel discussion, with the aid of in-house social media app Slido to bring audience comments and feedback into the equation  Takeaway: Tech conglomerates need to be more involved in safety, despite it not being profitable. A digital charter is necessary but needs great development to work effectively Educating parents will make a child’s online experience better Detail: Digital literacy can be just as important as some of the core school subjects such as Maths and English to help a child gain key skills. Baroness Beeban Kidron, Founder, 5Rights, discussed the introduction of a digital charter that should include tailored design standards around content, activity, and algorithmic…

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CMC 2017: Report – Are We Open?

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 12:25pm by Gabrielle Smith

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: Prof. Jeanette Steemers moderated this morning’s session dedicated to covering many of the policy issues facing children’s television today, in a ‘Question Time’ panel format – asking how is the industry open for ideas, challenges and potential problems within the current climate? Takeaway: Policy, budget and funding will impact the creative industries in short and long term Securing terms of trade suitable for everyone should be an industry priority UK is a powerhouse of creative talent, so thought should be given to how we protect and nurture it now and in future Detail: Leading the panel’s discussion, Prof. Jeannette Steemers reminded delegates of regulator Ofcom’s upcoming consultation…

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CMC 2017: Report – Tuesday Workshop: Pitch Perfect

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 11:44am by Lyndsey Smith

In this workshop a panel of industry experts were on hand to share their experiences of pitching and provide helpful tips on how to pitch and develop skills. Each member of the panel had unique experiences they were able to bring forward to the session. Takeaway It all starts with the pitch and the characters – know your story Flexiblity of ideas, allowing them to be tailored for different platforms Don’t fixate on the one project that you think is going to be your golden ticket. Mickey Rogers, Director, MRM inc., began by sharing her knowledge with the delegates through a number of useful points and tips beginning with: “One of the most important things about pitching is authenticity”. She gave…

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CMC 2017: Report – First Timers Reception

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 10:27am by Lucy Heavens

This event, hosted by Disney, was an opportunity for first timers to mingle with each other and CMC veterans. CMC debutant and Guest Blogger Lucy Heavens dived right in. Takeaways: Friendliness! The children's media industry isn’t your run-of-the-mill media industry; these people are nice! People want to chat – they’re here to chat, so use this opportunity to introduce yourself. Go to as many sessions as you can; they are all full of nuggets that could prove invaluable to your work. Detail: After a pretty intense trial by fire this morning at the International Exchange (not for the faint-hearted), and a great ‘Pitch Perfect’ session full of really solid advice, the day has been intense and interesting. I topped it…

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CMC 2017: Report – Opening Keynote

Posted on: Wednesday 05 July 2017 2:16am by Simon Bor

The full session is available here as a video and as a podcast: Broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake introduced the two keynote speakers from BBC, James Purnell, Director of BBC Radio & Education, and Alice Webb, Director of BBC Children’s and Director of BBC North, to discuss the details of the BBC’s increase in children’s spending announced today. Takeaways: ​BBC announces additional £34m spend on children’s content over next three years. CBeebies and CBBC content and channels remain in place though fewer and bigger will become the watchwords. The new money will mainly be used for digital developments, greater interactivity and new content for 12-16s. A key development will be personalisation of the iPlayer, allowing older children and young teens to receive…

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CMC 2017: Preview: Opening the Vault

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 11:45pm by Rosemary Klein

Rosemary Klein, session producer for Opening the Vault, looks at how to get your hands on more money for your projects – what’s not to like? Thursday 6th July, 9.30am, in Cinema 4  Money, money, money, MONEY… makes the world go round (well that and cosmic forces). But it certainly is the fuel to launch and maintain children’s media projects and business. Are sources of financing your children’s media venture more or less open in 2017? Are you looking for cash in all the wrong places? Or are you simply still awake from the party the night before and need a quiet place to grab a kip? Shake off the CMC party hang over, grab a strong coffee and regenerate…

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CMC 2017: Report – Tuesday Workshop: Get Social

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 10:02pm by Kerry Drewery

This session discussed how to make a brand successful on social media – looking at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube – followed by hands-on experience of how to create social media content. Takeaways Think about where your brand fits. Make your brand voice authentic. Make sure what you post fits with what your audience want and what your themes are. The session first discussed using social media to reach and grow your audience, and was chaired by Moderator/Producer Nellie McQuinn, from Grass Roots Media. The panel: Rebecca Frankel, Head of Distribution and Partners at Little Dot Studios. Anna Lewis, Co-founder of branding and marketing agency, Marsden/Mee. Luisa Sanders from Aardman Animations. Harriet Shearsmith is the digital influencer behind Toby & Roo. Lisa…

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CMC 2017: Report – Tuesday Workshop: Open to Virtual?

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 5:37pm by Tyler McRae

A hands- and head-sets-on workshop on getting to grips with the world of virtual – and how to use it to create good content. Takeaway: Creative storytelling is in high demand for the VR industry. Small techniques from non-creative sectors are crucial in immersive design. The market for children’s virtual reality is in high demand. Detail: Moderators Ray Maguire and Alison Norrington expressed from the get-go that VR is an ever-growing technology. Brands like Playstation, Oculus and HTC are funding further development of stereoscopic cameras and pinpointing tracking technology. In order to become a successful virtual reality company, Ray explained how a typical business model should base itself around two areas: price of equipment, and the output of content and…

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CMC 2017: Report – Playground

Posted on: Tuesday 04 July 2017 4:16pm by Gabrielle Smith

and Catherine Trewavas Based at Cantor Gallery, the Playground is open to all. An interactive digital art exhibition featuring cutting edge digital technology – mixing play and interaction for children (and big kids too)! Games, apps, toys and even VR to immerse oneself in. Takeaways Projects focused on enhancing digital skills and encouraging emotional development. Games to promote creative thinking and problem solving. Explore paper craft cityscape through interactive 360 virtual reality headset. With free admission to all, the Playground is a component of the Children’s Media Conference you won’t want to miss. Carefully curated to showcase some of the UK’s leading artists, innovators and developers – this exhibition is interactive digital art that will spark your imagination. With so much…

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