Previews of Conference content and personalities, and reports from all sessions at CMC 2014.


Achievement Unlocked! - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 9:02am by Emma Cooper

Educational computer games seem to be having a moment - the market is growing. This session delivered the promised 'advice and best practice' as well as at least two war stories I'm not sure I'm allowed to share, but seeing as it's you... Takeaway Learning is fun, games are an obvious vehicle for educational content. Making games is hard. Making educational games is even harder. Effectively getting across the learning in a fun and engaging way takes a lot of hard work. It's not cheap, nor should it be. Session detail Freelance Digital Consultant and Producer, Trevor Klein introduced the session…

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Angels and Urchins - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 4:53pm by Katie Simmons

Katie Simmons listened to leading experts in investment talk about what they’re looking for, where they’ve seen success and what to avoid. Takeaway Investors are interested in teams and companies - perhaps more than products or ideas. Make sure you can demonstrate how you will meet your business projections. Kids content is going to be valuable to investors. Session Details This is an at times impenetrable subject, but there are investors out there with money. Get advice from people who know what they’re doing and you could convince them you and your IP is worth it! Genevieve Dexter, from Serious…

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Authentic Performance – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 11:50am by Katie Simmons

Katie Simmons attends a session that bought together an outstanding panel with a television portfolio that demonstrates real passion and respect for the children’s audience with authentic child performances at their heart. Takeaway Different approaches are needed depending on whether your child performers are in vision or voicing an animated character. To achieve authenticity there needs to be a level of professionalism and mutual respect afforded to the child performer and their director. Not running lines, clearly setting out your expectations and thorough casting seem to be the key to get the best from your child performers. Session Details This…

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BAFTA Creative Masterclass: Laying Foundations for The Dumping Ground - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 2:37pm by Hayley Pepler

Takeaway For anyone interested in creating a successful children’s drama brand, this session was a must. An interview with the team behind arguably the most successful children’s drama strand in recent memory – the Tracy Beaker/ Dumping Ground phenomenon. Session Details The story begins on television in 2000, when writer Elly Brewer was given the original Jacqueline Wilson text and asked what she could do with it. It was clear from the outset that it was a great television proposition with lots of great characters and stories, and lovely illustrations that would lend themselves to animation. Fast forward five years and…

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Bangalore at the CMC!

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 2:30am

Daily E-Bulletin Editor, Hannie Kirkham has been investigating the International Exchange and discovered new thinking about building bridges to Asia... Whilst moseying around the International Exchange on Wednesday I happened to bump into Biren Ghose.  He is Country Head for Technicolor India and President of the ABAI, an industry association which partners the Indian Government in executing animation and visual effects policy. He's working with Greg Childs, CMC Editorial Director, to build a strong and lasting connection between CMC and the ABAI conference in Bangalore. I asked him what makes him want to come back to and work with CMC. Media is one of…

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Charter Renewal: The Great British Sell Off? - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 6:33pm by Beth Parker

Takeaway As the Licence Fee and Charter come under review, the CMF asks whether the BBC will commit to the children’s audience and asks stakeholders within the world of children’s media whether it should. Session Details The panel included, Helen Goodman MP, Shadow Minister at DCMS; Oli Hyatt, Creative Director at Blue Zoo Animation; Jeanette Steamers, Professor of Media and Communications, University of Westminster and Trustee, Voice of the Listener and Viewer; and Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Children’s. It’s a shame the session around such an important debate was not better attended, if not only for Hardeep Singh Kohli’s…

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Children's Film: Forever Forgotten? - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 1:05pm by Jayne Kirkham

 How do we make more children’s films in the UK? Takeaway It can be done! But it’s long and slow and we really need to push the BFI and politicians and film schools and financiers and distributors to take family films more seriously. Details Family films earn a lot of money – there were statistics and figures - in the UK 18% of box office revenue comes from 7-14 year olds, 22% from 15-24 year olds. There were only 4 films where under 18s made up over 30% of the audience: ‘All Stars’, ‘Grown Ups’, ‘One Direction’, ‘Warm Bodies’. There…

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Classics Nouveaux

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 7:19pm by Jayne Kirkham

What does it take to keep a ‘classic character’ brand fresh and as relevant for new audiences as when it was created more than a generation ago?  Takeaway When you have a much loved intellectual property, be it an author or a character or a comic, you must love it, nurture it and protect it. When you're bringing it up to date, protection is as important as promotion. And if you want to join the oompa loompas charity sky dive, there are still places on the plane. Session Details Four much loved properties from the last century are all having…

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Closing keynote: Mind Candy's Big New Idea - Preview

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 1:32am

Mind Candy, originally a tech start-up, is now an established entertainment firm. They are the creators of the global smash hit Moshi Monsters, working both online and offline, and reaching over 80 million registered users. Now they have set their sights on new goals. Our closing keynote takes the form of an interview with Michael Acton Smith O.B.E., founder and CEO of Mind Candy. The Guardian's Stuart Dredge is hosting, and is looking forward to it: It should be a really good keynote. Michael is going to be talking about some brand new projects, as well as what Mind Candy has…

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Collaborating with Kids - PREVIEW

Posted on: Tuesday 24 June 2014 8:00pm by Olivia Dickinson

This year, for the first time at CMC, we have 35 local children coming along and getting involved in a Wednesday Workshop. Fearless producer Olivia Dickinson outlines what we can expect:  In the 4-hour workshop (from 1-5pm) on Wednesday July 2nd we have a panel of five experts from theatre, publishing, research and digital, each of whom will run a mini-workshop for adults and children to collaborate, play and learn alongside each other. The children will be asked to take the lead in shaping the ideas that come out of each mini workshop, and the adult delegates will be learning from…

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Coming Together Or Falling Apart - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:53pm by Samuel Hutchinson

Exploring the future of the children’s media and content industries through to 2020, in the age of digital transformation. Takeaway By 2020, this is what will happen, according to our panel (you heard it here first!)... We’ll see consolidation at the top amongst the major players, but the rest of the market will fragment. Some new businesses will uses digital platforms to address global markets. Kids will create and have much more control over their own media. A thousand flowers will bloom (read on to understand what this means). Session Detail This lively session was the perfect way to dust-off…

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Commissioner Conversation: BBC - Report

Posted on: Saturday 05 July 2014 7:52am by Samuel Hutchinson

Takeaway Show your passion! It will come across in your pitch (Kay Benbow mentioned a pitch she once received which featured magic tricks involving small pyrotechnics!) Think of a strong hook! Eg, “Fawlty Towers meets The Muppets” (a pitch which went on to be successfully received by Kay). Do not use merchandise in the pitch - it’s not the right place to start. Be mature: Joe said he quite often receives an email that reads something along the lines of, ‘I spoke to Cheryl. She said my idea wasn’t right for the channel, can you have a look?’ Watch the…

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Commissioner Conversation: Broadcasters - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 4:07pm by Beth Parker

Takeaway Many broadcasters see co-pro as a vital route to big budget content. If you're interested in co-pro, approach the broadcasters early in your development. Tailor your pitch to the channel and its audience. Session Details A moderately well attended early morning session was kicked off by each of the commissioners introducing themselves and their channels: Sioned Wyn Roberts, Content Commissioner, Children’s, Learning, and Digital at S4C opened by telling us that a massive 90% of their content is original. They’re interested in content that works best for their audience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be in…

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Commissioner Conversation: Cartoon Network - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:44pm by Samuel Hutchinson

Take Away The tone of Cartoon Network is anarchy and humour. Cartoon Network has power to commission ideas in the UK, but also direct access to her global partners at Turner if there is sufficient interest. New content needs to sit neatly next to our content from the Turner studios. New commissions are unlikely to get high volume orders until they have been tested first with shorter runs. There is a current strategy at Turner to elevate and invigorate Boomerang as a brand. Boomerang is about heritage and timeless familiar brands, old school retro and remastered classics such as Top…

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Commissioner Conversation: Disney - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 11:11am by Danny Stack

Takeaway Fresh, different, distinctive ideas are always going to stand out and be appealing. Shows that are suitable to brand are vital but the eagerness to make something new and original is always there. ‘Edge’ is not necessarily a buzzword as Disney shows tend to be more emotionally grounded but there is a need to push boundaries of comedy (especially to make boys laugh!). Bottom line, they’re open for ideas! Session Details After Tim Patterson from Nickelodeon & Patricia Hildalgo from Turner had their individual Q&As, four Disney execs took to the stage to talk about their commissioning process. Louise…

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Commissioner Conversation: Games - Report

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 7:33pm by Samuel Hutchinson

Takeaway Make good games (sounds obvious, but good content is vital – and think about offering games where the audience is involved and in control). Have the right partners (look for expertise in the genres you want to make). Good games take time and passion (Post-production took 6 months for the original Grand Theft Auto game, and it was voted least likely to succeed in the company at the time). Have a ‘WOW’ factor/USP (something that gives the audience value and gets them talking about the game). Watch this (your homework from Colin!) Session Details First of all, well done to…

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Commissioner Conversation: Learning - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 6:21pm by Lucy Beckett

As 2014’s CMC begins to draw to a close, there are still some great sessions on offer, including an opportunity to meet some great content commissioners from the learning sector. Takeaway Gamification is becoming an increasing force in the production of learning based content The demand for digital content within this sector is racing ahead of the classroom’s ability to access or use it Working with children continues to reveal the merit of learning content, and the new ways in which they can interact with it Session Details As the lights dim and the introductions start, it’s clear that this session has…

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Commissioner Conversation: Nickelodeon - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:43am by Danny Stack

Tim Patterson is responsible for programme acquisition and development, content strategy, planning and scheduling, media planning, multi-platform content and broadcast operations for Nickelodeon’s portfolio of channels including its on-demand and multi-platform offering. Takeaway Tim’s favourite word during the Q&A was ‘opportunity’. He sees lots of opportunity to commission UK-centric programmes that fit Nickelodeon’s core brand values. It’s key to understand the brand before pitching ideas, whether it be short-form for the award-winning Nickelodeon app or setting foundations for something bigger.   Session Details How Tim Works: When Tim hears an idea he likes, he’ll share it with his international and…

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Conference Content Available Now

Posted on: Thursday 07 August 2014 2:24pm

CMC 2014 had over 50 sessions and workshops and even the most dedicated conference fan can't get to them all.   This summer, for the first time, we'll be posting audio podcasts of nearly every session at the conference, and video of all the major Conference events - the keynotes, some of the commissioner sessions and some policy discussions. The Opening Keynote by Dylan Collins, CEO Of SuperAwesome is available now in full. Others will be going live over the next few weeks.  Meanwhile many of the sessions already have PowerPoint presentations which can be downloaded. All this material is easily accessed…

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Creative Keynote with Malorie Blackman - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:34am by Simon Bor

Takeaway 'Don't give up', Alice Walker's message to the young Malorie Blackman. The need for role models for black and ethic minority children. Session Details The Right to be Seen – the Need to be Heard CMC delegates were treated to an inspirational creative keynote talk from Malorie Blackman OBE – best selling author and current children’s laureate. CBBC’s Sue Nott introduced, and Malorie came to the podium with the title of the talk, ‘The right to be seen, the need to be heard’, projected behind her. Malorie painted a vivid picture of a childhood of reading. Her parents were…

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Digital Consumer to Digital Creator - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 3:25pm by Emma Cooper

The set up for this session was "How can children and young people’s passions and interests be used to inspire a generation to learn how to use the greatest open creative tools of the modern age?" which is quite a big question, the speakers each brought a different perspective. Takeaway The market is filled with excellent tools for children to make their own digital content. This is very much an issue of skills vs understanding, media education needs to be about more than just doing 'an hour of code'. Session Details Tom Kenyon, Director at Playful Learning Lab, thinks there…

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Dylan Collins - Don Draper, Willy Wonka or the Pied Piper?

Posted on: Monday 30 June 2014 6:57pm by John Kent

Dylan Collins (@MrDylanCollins), CEO of SuperAwesome, is delivering the CMC Opening Keynote 2014 His title is intriguing - Inflection Points: Are kids the new mobile? SuperAwesome reaches 30 million children a month, and is still growing.   A marketing platform that specifically targets children might make Dylan the Don Draper of kids to some, but his ideas on sustainable business in the rapidly changing kids’ landscape address vital industry concerns. Does the children's media industry need commercialisation solutions created specifically with children at the very centre of their design? However, his belief also underpins a larger view, that the entire children’s industry is…

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Final Keynote: Mind Candy's Big New Idea - Report

Posted on: Saturday 05 July 2014 2:43pm by Emma Cooper

Michael Acton Smith talks through the thinking behind Mind Candy's big new idea. Takeaway Even with a massive brand like 'Moshi Monsters' in your armoury it's difficult to make mobile work Mind Candy have not seen the success in mobile that they saw in browser but Michael insists that the future for Mind Candy is mobile. PopJam is intended to be THE safe social creation space, THE go to for the children's market. PopJam is still in development everything Michael said about it came with a caveat: They want to see how the market and the audience takes to it. They…

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First Timer's Reception - don't miss it!

Posted on: Wednesday 02 July 2014 1:10am by Sharon Miller

If you're new to the CMC don't miss the First Timer's Reception! It's a chance to pick up tips, put key CMC faces to names and to meet each other - so that you have a network in place from the get-go! There’s a drink on hand and you’ll find out all the useful information like which lunch tables in the Hubs you may like to join. Look out for the posters! It’s in the Crucible Theatre foyer on Wednesday 2nd July at 5pm. And for those who aren't sure where that is, we'll be leading an expeditionary party at 4.40 from…

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First Timers Reception - Report

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 9:15am by Jayne Kirkham

A drinks reception to welcome those attending CMC for the first time, with some handy hints and tips from some CMC veterans or as we like to call them, Old Timers. Takeaway CMC is a friendly conference and everyone wants you to get the most out of it, so join in and get involved. But don't pitch in the toilet. Session Details Sharon Miller introduced some of the people behind CMC who each gave some top tips and handy hints on getting the most out of this conference. If you have not been before or were too busy quaffing wine…

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Focus On Asia - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 11:04pm by Samuel Hutchinson

Takeaway Things to consider if you want to break into the Asian market: Does your IP have a worthwhile market in China? Consider adapting it to align with Chinese audiences and values. Research the market for your IP in detail. Due diligence and communications are a must for finding the right partners. Be realistic. The big deals rarely happen so build an audience via other platforms: apps, online etc. Remember the three P's - Preparation, Partners. Patience. Session Detail A few understandably sore heads gathered admirably on Friday morning for this informative dip into the children’s media space across Asian markets.…

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Focus On Canada - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 9:15am by Danny Stack

Takeaway Co-production between UK and Canada is even more appealing because of the tax breaks in the UK. The two countries share a lot of sensibility regarding style culture and humour, and the Canadians even use UK spelling, the clever lot! Session Details Blame Canada? In the wake of the recent Canada Day (1st July, you knew that, right?), it was only fitting that this session should focus on everything Canadian. Smart, funny, articulate, charming. And that’s just the panel! Canada has a fantastic funding system in place for its media culture, as Agnes Augustin from Shaw Rocket Fund pointed…

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Focus on Europe: What Works Where? - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 2:11pm by Beth Parker

Takeaway Overall the message appeared to be one of partnerships based on common vision rather than financial incentives – where they may help get the volume of production off the ground, cash doesn’t necessarily mean quality. Session Details The session opened with a presentation of audience rating for European Kids TV by Claire Mitchell from Eurodata TV Worldwide. Key points included: The top channels tend to be free channels with the exception of Portugal and Finland where the top rating channels for kids are pay TV channels. The introduction of pay TV channels has impacted free TV channels in some…

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Further Focus on China and the CMC

Posted on: Thursday 10 July 2014 2:27pm

Trevor Lai, CEO and Creative Director of the Shanghai-based animation company UP Studios, was an enthusiastic participant in the International Exchange and contributed to the Focus on Asia session at CMC.  So enthused - that he's planning a Google Hangout: East Meets Sheffield: Discussing International Exchange, Chinese IP, and The Children’s Media Conference  Details: July 15 Noon  US - Eastern Standard Time/ 5pm UK time To watch live: YouTube  To participate with typed questions: (needs Google+ account) Fresh from his speaking appearance at the CMC, Trevor will discuss his insights and experience - and what he learned both as a presenter and an attendee at…

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Give Kids a Break! The Producer View

Posted on: Sunday 17 August 2014 11:59am

This is an article written by Rosina Robson, Senior Policy Consultant at the producers' association, Pact, about their session at CMC 2014 Pact, the Producers Alliance for Cinema and TV, is the trade association representing the commercial interests of the independent production sector including TV, film, digital and animation companies. At the Children’s Media Conference Pact launched the ‘Give kids a break!’ campaign - to persuade the government to introduce a tax credit for children’s live action TV. This incentive would be based on the current successful tax breaks for film, TV and animation, which have brought positive returns to the TV industry and…

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Growing Up Digital - Ofcom's Contribution to CMC'14

Posted on: Tuesday 19 August 2014 1:25pm by Martina Chapman

Martina Chapman, Senior Research Manager, Ofcom presented one of the nine research strand sessions at CMC in July 2014. Here she reflects on that presentation and reports on the ‘growth spurts’ and ‘growing pains’ of children’s digital media use over the last ten years.  Slides associated with this report are available here. Ofcom publishes its ‘Children and Parents’ Media Use and attitudes’ report every autumn, based on over 4000 in-home interviews with parents and children aged 5-15, and parents of children aged 3-4. This research has been running since 2005, so, in addition to highlighting some of key findings from the…

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Helping Hands - the CMC Volunteers.

Posted on: Thursday 10 July 2014 1:37pm by David Twyman

David Twyman produced the Career Development session for our student volunteers, which takes place before most people arrive, on Tuesday afternoon.  Our 80+ volunteers are taken through some tough love on starting out in the industry.  David also stepped in at the last minute to produce the much-loved Innovation Forum at CMC (and he took leave from work to do it!)  So his Hero of the Revolution medal is on its way...I had the great opportunity and honour to produce the Volunteer Career Guidance Session for the CMC this year. The aim of the session is to illuminate career opportunities in Children’s Media…

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Hunting, Finding, Caring, Sharing - Report

Posted on: Tuesday 05 August 2014 1:45am by Lucy Beckett

While young audiences embrace new and exciting ways to connect with content, what are the implications for the content makers and broadcasters? This session explored the big changes that lie ahead... Takeaway The impact and opportunities of the rapidly changing digital landscape over the past five years has seen a seismic shift in the way that kids consume content and the way it’s affected TV’s linear ratings Over last four years over 20% of linear viewing has declined, with 50% of that happening in the last 12 months. As more viewing is being done, on more devices, the profitability and rights ownership situation for creators threatens to…

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Innovation Forum - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 3:05pm by Danny Stack

How important is innovation to the development and production of children’s media? This session set out to explore this issue through the examination of seven digital/broadcast projects. Takeaway Innovative online and broadcast projects are not just about the virtual or viewing experience, they’re about what happens offline, too. Kids love to create and get involved in the physical world, which only enhances the digital/viewing experience. Innovation goes beyond tech as it impacts all parts of people’s lives. Session Details Juliet Tzabar, MD of Plug-In Media, chaired the session where seven innovative projects were detailed and broken down. Dixi First up…

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International Exchange - Report

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 2:41am

Hannie Kirkham reports on watching the market unfold... When I arrived at the Millennium Gallery at 9:15 there was a lot of nattering. It was clear straight away that most people already knew each other and this was a good chance to catch up. Then the bell rings, and Greg Childs, CMC Director, steps up to welcome everyone from far and wide, a quick joke about fire exit announcements and a sign post to everyone's schedules. "Let the meetings commence!" The day has been planned out for everyone. It's a marketplace - there are buyers and sellers from all over…

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It Takes a Village… A Digital One…

Posted on: Sunday 17 August 2014 12:28pm by Shirley Dent

CMC session producer Dr Shirley Dent reflects on Out of the Mouths of Babes: Free Expression, Children and 21st Century Media - the session she produced for CMC as part of CMC's collaboration with Battle of Ideas - two days of high-level, thought-provoking, public debate organised by the Institute of Ideas annually. To misquote Mark Twain – again – the reports of the death of social media have been greatly exaggerated. Earlier this year tech blogger Stuart Dredge declared that Facebook still had BFF[1] status with teens. This followed the release of findings from the Forrester survey of US 12-17 year olds. The survey…

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Learning and Laughter - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 6:40pm by Katie Simmons

We all love a good joke, and humour is important in producing entertainment for all ages, including children. However, how much can humour and humourous content aid learning?  Takeaway “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” Humour is a vital tool in creating a relaxed atmosphere Humour can improve behaviour: bored kids are much more likely to misbehave Learning media can be humorous, but a teacher's humour will have a greater impact on learning Session Details Humour is a vital tool to creating a relaxed atmosphere and receptive group for learning. However, it is a socially interactive tool, so…

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Learning And Laughter: Using Humour As An Educational Tool

Posted on: Saturday 23 August 2014 10:18am by Sai Pathmanathan

 Sai Pathmanathan produced the session 'Learning and Laughter' at CMC 2014 - part of the new Learning@Heart strand of the Conference.  This session is also available as a podcast. Here Sai takes a look at what was discussed and the place for comedy in pursuit of the curriculum. ‘Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.’ Victor Borge. We all love a good joke, and humour is an important part of media for all ages. But what about in learning? Recently, at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield, a distinguished panel of informal and formal science educators and neuroscientists discussed how humour…

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Millennium Gallery Drinks Reception - Report

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 9:49am by Beth Parker

Takeaway Presenting the first opportunity of the conference for delegates to catch up, old faces exchanged hellos and new faces introduced themselves over a pre-dinner glass of wine or two. Session Details It is often the nature of such events to be a touch over-crowded; a few had gathered on the terrace early before the masses exited the Crucible. But the stories I’d heard of chaos at the top of the escalators were perhaps a little exaggerated. Nevertheless, the crowd did gather as delegates took the chance to survey the scene for the first time – who is here and…

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Millennium Gallery Drinks Reception - why we're sponsoring it

Posted on: Wednesday 02 July 2014 12:28am by Karl Woolley

Everyone is invited to the Drinks Reception at the Millennium Gallery this Wednesday. It's quite an event, and this year the drinks are on us... As ever, Laughing Gravy is thrilled to be a part of CMC in Sheffield and proud to sponsor the Millennium Drinks Reception. Everybody knows that CMC is now a vital part of the calendar for anyone working or wanting to work in children’s media. Its focused, relevant and broad appeal across a number of associated topics and industry trends makes for a ‘must attend’ event whether you’ve an established track record in the business or you’re just…

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Mini Dragons Descend on CMC

Posted on: Tuesday 01 July 2014 4:50pm

These are the kids who'll be acting as "mini dragons" in the Kids as Commissioners session, and will have three ideas pitched to them.  Good luck pitchers!

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Mini Dragons: Kids as Commissioners - Report

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 6:35pm by Simon Bor

CBeebies producer, Jon Hancock, was the brave chair of a session that featured the awesome Mini-Dragons. Sophie (who insisted on being called Deborah Needham), Nemo, Kelly and Conrad. Takeaway Children are the harshest critics Children are fearless Children love playing the role of grown ups There are some exciting, big, formats that put children into the role of decision maker Facilitator and Father of 4, Jon Hancock, has nerves of steel Session Details The Mini-Dragons were asked for their opinions on three very different children's properties. Kate Pickering described Catasplat! as an augmented reality, single and multiplayer toy for 7…

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Mini-Dragons: Kids as Commissioners - PREVIEW

Posted on: Wednesday 25 June 2014 4:05pm by Jon Hancock

Jon Hancock has bravely volunteered to produce the Mini-Dragons to investigate how the world would look if children's content was commissioned by, well, children. “Out of the mouths of babes” I’ve been to CMC for the last few years, and whilst I’ve always found it fascinating, I’ve wondered why we don’t have more (sometimes ANY) children actually involved in the conference.  I may be able to tell you why in 10 days time. I’m a firm believer that “out of the mouths of babes” come comments that can be any or all of the following: inspired, insightful, barmy, wise, hysterical, clever.  As a…

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Opening Keynote - Report

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 1:20am by Lucy Beckett

This year’s conference kicked off with Dylan Collins’ provocative opening keynote (actually, it kicked off with drinks at the Crucible bar, but that was shortly followed by Dylan Collins’ provocative opening keynote).  Takeaway  Mobile – more specifically the challenges that the mobile platform poses to advertisers -  is the biggest threat to our industry. We need to create a digital infrastructure of, and for, the children. If we leave it too long they will create their own. The children’s media industry must establish an investment ecosystem -  allowing the interesting little companies to bring value to the bigger ones. The…

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Out of the Mouths of Babes - PREVIEW

Posted on: Monday 30 June 2014 12:28pm by Shirley Dent

Should access to social media be moderated or regulated for children? Session Producer Shirley Dent invites you to this session on Friday morning in Showroom Cinema 3: It’s official. Facebook still has – in the words of Stuart Dredge – BFF status with teens. According to the Forrester survey of US 12-17 year olds, three quarters of the young respondents use Facebook. Half reported they are using it more than they did a year ago. Social media, it seems, is here to stay –an indispensable, inescapable part of growing up. With children playing and participating in online communities such as…

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Out of the Mouths of Babes: Free Expression, Children and 21st-century Media – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:10pm by Lucy Beckett

Some might say that digital safety has been the elephant in the Showroom this year. This debate wasn’t going to squirm from discussing the darker implications of this subject… Takeaway Young people have been pushed and shoved out of the public space and online has become their main connection to navigate and explore the boundaries of growing up. COPPA continues to build strong online privacy and protection to keep young online users safe, but there are concerns that it may create a barrier to free expression. Debate surrounds who should be responsible for mediating children’s online usage – the companies, the…

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Pact: Give Kids A Break! - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 2:05am by Beth Parker

Takeaway Pact makes the case for a UK tax credit for children's TV. Session Details Chaired by Mike Watts of Novel Entertainment, the panel included Genevieve Dexter, Serious Lunch; Val Ames, Kindle Entertainment; Billy MacQueen, Darrall MacQueen and John McVay from Pact. The session opened with a video clip from Floella Benjamin who has long campaigned for support for the children’s television industry and she put the opening question forward – if there are tax credits for high end drama and tax credits for animation, then why not for children’s live action too? John McVay then presented the Pact report, a…

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Pink or Blue

Posted on: Wednesday 20 August 2014 1:53pm by Gary Pope

The Children’s Media Foundation explored gender representation and stereotyping in a public debate in November 2013 and in the recently published Children’s Media Yearbook. This theme was carried through to the Children’s Media Conference, where Gary Pope of Kids Industries considered Pink or Blue. View the slide presentation: Research 4 The digital age has served up a level of democratisation never seen before and with it consumption choices that would seem fantastical just a generation ago. We can have what we want, when we want it, in whatever colour we want – unless of course society tells us that we shouldn’t because…

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Pizza Express - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 12:55am

Hannie Kirkham reports... Like so many others, we were late. And to pay service to just how popular the Pizza Express night is at CMC, I was not sure where we were going to fit. However, find space we did. Slotting in where we could, our party split up and I was immediately introduced to the five people surrounding me. Tummies were rumbling (audibly), but the conversation was positively booming. We would probably give the DJ at FUN CMC (this year's CMC party) a run for his money. Listening to people around, the conversation was as diverse as the company.…

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Prix Jeunesse: Still a Kid at 50! - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 2:24pm by Jayne Kirkham

The best and most innovative children’s programmes from around the world, fresh from Prix Jeunesse 2014, celebrating its 50th year! Takeaway Fifty years of Prix Jeunesse, for which we shout ‘hooray!’ So much to watch and be inspired Too much to takeaway. So wow. Just wow. Session Details Prixjeunesse. de Tells you all you need to know, So I sat back and nursed my head And enjoyed the suitcase show. David Kleeman had brought a case, A suitcase made of gold: And amongst his shirts and socks and pants Were TV shows brave and bold. From around the world the…

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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is - Preview

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 2:29am by Zoe Bamsey

This very popular session returns for the third year running. The idea is the same, the chair is the same, but this year there is a twist… Four producers pitch their big ideas to four 'dragons'.  Each of our 'dragons' come from all walks of life within the children’s television and interactive arena.  But do they really know what kids want?  Well, they think they do and they've put £1000 on the table to prove it… The tans might be fake but the people are real. They're real investors, it's real cash, they're real projects and you'll take away real insights -…

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Put your money where your mouth is - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 11:03am by Simon Bor

Takeaway Michael Carrington admits his ambition was to be a ventriloquist. £900 of new money committed to the kid’s TV industry. Session Details Now in its third year, Karl Woolley (in stand up mode) introduced the pitching session that pays out real cash, even if it’s only a hundred quid for a three month option. Michael Carrington from Hit Entertainment, Saad Choudri from MiniClip, Oliver Eliss from Ho Ho Entertaimnment and Orion Ross from Disney Channel and Disney XD EMCA were this year’s dragons; their deep pockets targeted by four hopeful producers. First off was 'Gold', a TV show featuring…

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Research 1: How Early Adopters Find and Share New Entertainment - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 6:49pm by Beth Parker

Takeaway 11-14 year olds are the most likely to adopt new technology. A shiny product alone will no long garner you success was one of the key messages of the session. Kids take 2 seconds to make a decision about content. Kids want an interactive relationship with brands. Session Details Sherbert and Dubit carried out a 3 part study across 5000 families which found that 11-14 year olds are the most likely to adopt new technology. How can IP owners work with them then, to sustain and extend their properties? Essentially the audience has become the commissioner, so strategic thinking…

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Research 2: The End of Live TV for Children? - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 1:43pm by Beth Parker

Takeaway 89% of under 12's say a TV set favourite device for watching TV. 63% of all viewing occasions are live. Only 9% of viewing occasions are on demand. So is on demand taking over? Not yet. Session Details Maddalena Piras, Head of Audiences, Children’s and Learning at the BBC and Peter Maginn, Research Director at Illuminas presented their research looking at the viewing behaviour of children under the age of 12. The question was posed in the first place following the rise in the number of tablets either owned or accessed by the under 12s, as well as the huge…

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Research 3: Bad Games + Bad Children = Good Business? - Report

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 3:45pm by Emma Cooper

Dr Lynn Whitaker, Lecturer in Cultural Industries and Cultural Policy at the University of Glasgow presented her findings related to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) report on in app purchasing. The OFT carried out research in to the games industry and games that could be considered to appeal to children, even if they were not designed as such, to see how in app purchasing is managed and if any of the methods could be considered misleading and therefore fraudulent. Take aways A lot of the complaints are quite harrowing, extorting money from children has a massive impact that is…

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Research 4: Pink or Blue – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 4:29pm by Katie Simmons

Do all girls really want to play with pink dolls and do all boys want to crash blue toy trucks? Of course not. But there might be something in it.  Takeaway Preferences for pink and blue are not innate - their marketed. Dads tend to be most concerned that their sons may be girlie. Tablets are gender neutral. “Creators have a big opportunity to help children explore their gender identity in the right way. It’s a massive opportunity. Take it!" Session Details A hugely interesting report that laid the toy industry’s tactics bare. Gary Pope demonstrated how Child Development stages…

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Research 5: #FOMO – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 4:37pm by Katie Simmons

What’s this year’s big thing? #FOMO. Of course it is. But don’t get #FOMO  Takeaway Kids’ online and offline life is merging into one. 2013 = I am connected 24/7. 2014 = I am on show 24/7. Session Details This short session from Discovery Research demonstrated the latest trends within the lives of 6-15 yr olds as #FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out. Tablets, phones and apps are this year's big stories, and they’re used to connect and share experience. Kids’ online and offline life is merging into one. 2013 = I am connected 24/7. 2014 = I am…

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Research 6: World of Wonder - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 5:25pm by Lucy Beckett

Takeaway The presentation was based on interviews with over 3,000 children aged 10-17 and over 20 focus groups The popularity of gaming continues to grow, inspiring concerns about what the ‘gamification’ of our children will mean to their health and development… Session Details This session was divided into two halves – and the first involved Dr Barbie Clarke sharing some head spinning facts and headlines to highlight what she calls ‘the climate of concern’ surrounding children’s growing obsession with gaming: the increase in tablet use, the threat of addiction, thousands of pounds being spent on apps, the effects on physical well being…

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Research 7: Transformational Technology - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 6:14pm by Lucy Beckett

Takeaway Developments in cognitive theory emphasise that the way children physically interact with media influences how they think and learn New technologies are changing how children physically interact with media New technologies give us a chance to design new experiences and opportunities for children to learn Session Details Andrew Manches is a self-described ‘Learning Scientist’ and spent his session sharing some interesting insights into the value of physical interaction within interactive spaces. He began by discussing how we traditionally interact with our computers – namely using “disembodied” devices such as remote controls, keyboards and mice. But, with touch screens and…

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Research 8 & 9 - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 11:17pm by Danny Stack

Takeaway This was a fascinating and invigorating insight into the facts and figures of how we interact with the new digital age! Kids are using tablets and smartphones more and more, echoing the message from the keynote speech of Dylan Collins: the future is mobile. Session Details As you might expect, this was jam-packed with stats, facts, figures and impressively colourful charts. If ever you were dubious or uninterested in research, this was the session to dispel you of that notion. 8. Ofcom's Facts and Figures Martina Chapman, Senior Research Manager from Ofcom stepped forward to present the key findings…

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Research Sessions 2014 - Quick Links to Content

Posted on: Friday 22 August 2014 1:46pm

The CMC 2014 Research Strand sessions - on a wide variety of topics - are available to download as PDF's, providing all the statistics, charts and insights.   In some cases the session presenters have written fuller articles on their content too. They're all listed here for easy access: 1. How early adopters find and share new entertainment Dubit and Sherbet present on-going research that will help IP owners optimise their launch strategy with early adopters in mind. Presented by Nicki Karet, Sherbert Research and Peter Robinson, Dubit Read blog: Research 1 View the presentation: Research 1 2. The end of Live TV for…

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Second Screen - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:30am by Hayley Pepler

This was a session featuring the latest insights into what Second Screen actually means to children from the teams behind research agency The Pineapple Lounge, online platform Beamly (formerly Zeebox) and the developers behind Gory Games for CBBC. Video and podcast available below. Takeaway For children, multiple screens are the norm. Second screen apps should help children fall back in love with the TV, not distract them from it (Marc Goodchild) Session Details Emma Worrollo from The Pineapple Lounge opened with the provocation that children no longer understand what the term ‘Second’ Screen is. Kids are creating their own digital…

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Service with a Smile - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:38pm by Jayne Kirkham

Takeaway Developing IP is difficult if your company is unestablished. Service work provides the stability and resources needed to be creators, and to sustain the development. That said, jumping in head first is risky. Slow and steady wins the race. Session details A lot of faith is needed to overcome the hurdles of developing your own Intellectual Property and getting your work seen, explained host Christopher Skala, Managing Director of Skala Consultancy. He wanted to devote this session to looking at how animation companies carve out time to create IP, and the lessons they’ve learned in doing so. Each speaker…

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Telling Tales: from Paper to Pixel - Report

Posted on: Saturday 05 July 2014 2:24pm by Emma Cooper

The digital publishing market is heaving with talent and beautiful products but can it hold it's own against the physical book market?  Take Away User testing is imperative, listen to your audience and edit, you're going to have learn to kill your darling ideas. Discoverability is a continuing theme and an issue irrespective of platform. We should all move to Germany (I've almost finished packing, meet you at Heathrow in an hour, yeah?) Session Detail Eric Huang is Development Director at Made in Me a digital children's bookshop. Half of the the revenue Made in Me gets from Me Books is in…

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Telling Tales: Paper to Pixel - PREVIEW

Posted on: Monday 23 June 2014 8:33pm by Kat Woolley

Should we be thinking beyond the book? Producer Kat Woolley previews this session which explores how publishers and developers are using digital platforms to reach young children There is always such diversity at CMC, with brilliant workshops, panels, lunches and of course the delegates themselves. With so many delegates coming from such hugely differing areas of the children’s media industry, I wanted this session to bring a specific sector into the CMC spotlight - the publishing world. Coming from a start-up appbook developer and publisher, Box of Frogs Media, the topic of digital books is obviously a close topic. Most of…

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The CMC Party

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 2:33am by Angela Salt

This year's party - FUN CMC - is being sponsored by Fun Crew. We're an independent studio developing dynamic content for kids, and well, you gotta fight for your right to party!! We asked the CMC's powers-that-be if we could throw a good time for everyone. They said, "Yes!" but only if we played the Play School theme (yes, but our Turbo Rave Remix) and some Danish rap. Deal done. We're flying in DJ, Andrew Harrison, all the way from Glastonbury (via Stoke Newington so he can pick up a spare, clean T-shirt and feed his cats). Andrew will command the wheels of Sheffield…

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The CMC Party – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 8:41am by Katie Simmons

Once again the lights turned down and the delegates turned up. Coming to you in the wee small hours with a packet of Quavers from the hotel vending machine in one hand, Katie Simmons reports. Takeaway A croaky voice Some dignity (hopefully) Some new friends (who were they again?) Session Details I’m presuming if you’ve sought out the blog to see what happened at the Party, then you ‘enjoyed yourself’ too much to remember it. So, in a system heavily inspired by Colin T. Heart’s Conference Dictionary  (Ripping off is a form of flattery, right?), I give you the vocabulary…

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The IP Crowd – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 1:19am by Katie Simmons

With media and publishing increasingly brand obsessed, and the ‘fewer, bigger, better’ approach dominating, is convergence between media and retail an inevitable future? Takeaway At the heart of any successful brand is a great idea. Success in one medium does not always translate to another. The offiial colour of the Clangers is 'Old Rose'. Session Details  session was a discussion between leaders in publishing - Belinda Rasmussen 9Macmillan Children's Books); TV production - Anne Brogan (Kindle Entertainment) and somewhere in between - Jeremy Banks (Coolabi Group). The heart of any successful publishing brand or TV offering is the idea. Wherever…

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The Learning Landscape - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 5:19pm by Lucy Beckett

Nine panellists are asked the big questions in this fast paced session... Takeaway Educational content continues to have a viable future in schools, but there are challenges in terms of budget and resources. Games continue to prove their worth as teaching resources – but ultimately it lies with the schools to determine what gets used in a pedagogical way. Measuring the success or failure of digital initiatives continues to be a challenge for researchers. Session Details This session was a quick fire look at the challenges surrounding educational content in today’s industry. It was set up with nine panellists, who took it…

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The story of a long-term CMC blogger...

Posted on: Wednesday 02 July 2014 12:10am by Jayne Kirkham

I was asked to say something about 'long-term blogging': "Why Jayne?  Why?" Ignoring how old that makes me feel, I will say I have two reasons: Firstly, when surrounded by friends and people that I admire, I am likely to get over excited and not listen to anything anyone is trying to say.  So I have to take notes: a diversion via the hand to the memory as things go in one ear and out the other.  I may as well write up said notes for those that can't be there at all.  So there is no altruism at all…

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Transmedia: Where do I start? - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 11:44pm by Simon Bor

Takeaway Transmedia is more than multiplatform storytelling. Doctor Who writer, Phil Ford, discovers a new word. Session Outline We’ve heard the word, transmedia, being banded about for several years now, but what is it? Judging from the panel at Friday’s session on the subject, it can mean different things to different people. Exactly what transmedia is was the first question that screenwriter and chairperson, Richard Dinnick asked the room. A majority of the audience were certain that they knew… but what about the panel? Tony Reed, Executive Producer of CBeebies In-House Production said that transmedia was about looking across different…

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UK Family Feature Films – A New Future?

Posted on: Monday 18 August 2014 3:50pm by Phil Parker

Phil Parker produced the CMC session Children's Film: Forever Forgotten? Here he outlines his take on the growing campaign to develop a more robust children's independent film sector in the UK. The UK Family Film business is big business. The box office alone in 2013 for U, PG and 12A certificate films was worth £834m, and was 72.5% of the total gross box office for all films. Twelve of the top twenty films of 2013 were aimed at young audiences and five specifically at the under fifteens. Yet not one UK-produced family film featured in the top twenty and children’s film festivals in the UK find…

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Understanding how technology is transforming children’s interaction with the world

Posted on: Thursday 21 August 2014 10:30am by Dr Andrew Manches

Dr Andrew Manches is the Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. This is his view of the research topic he delivered as one of the nine research sessions at CMC 2014 View the presentation: Research 7 Children’s interaction with digital media Children’s interaction with digital media is evolving: no longer are they limited to pressing buttons on the TV to change channels, or mastering the mouse to access more interactive media on a computer. One way to describe how interaction with media is changing is in terms of ‘embodiment’: the relationship between how children move their hands (and bodies) and the…

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Volunteer Career Guidance Session: Report

Posted on: Tuesday 01 July 2014 11:56pm

By Rosie Barker (Volunteer - Sheffield Hallam University - recent graduate) This year CMC invited all the volunteers to a career guidance session. Volunteering at CMC is all about getting a feel of the kids' media world and meeting people, but it's not always as easy as it sounds. The session, produced by David Twyman, and chaired by Helen McAleer of Walker Books, had 3 speakers who have been in the business for years speaking about the highs and lows of getting to where they want to be. Mike Dee, Director of Content, Coolabi Dan Good, Managing Director, Absolutely Cuckoo Jackie…

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We couldn't do it without you...

Posted on: Saturday 14 June 2014 1:38pm by Greg Childs

Greg Childs, Editorial Director of CMC opens this year's Conference blog with some thoughts on what makes it all work... CMC 2014 has come together as a result of the work of a huge volunteer army - the Advisory Committee guiding and shaping the conference schedule, over 40 volunteer producers from every corner of the industry, some who return every year, some new to the task (and realising just how demanding it is!) and of course our other teams such as the bloggers who will keep you in touch with every session, and our fantastic student helpers who make it…

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Wednesday Workshop: Collaborating with Kids - Report

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 10:14am by Hayley Pepler

So here was a session that promised the unusual. Four hours not just talking about kids, but actually talking to them. Yes, real, live children, speaking directly back at us, generating ideas, writing stories, and giving us an invaluable glimpse into the world through their eyes.  Takeaway Children will be brutally honest. They don’t worry about the politics of what is being said - you get an immediate sense of whether or not what you are doing is of interest. Children know more, and can express and articulate their experience better than you think they can. And they look at…

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Wednesday Workshop: Music and Song – Report

Posted on: Wednesday 02 July 2014 7:15pm by Katie Simmons

How can Producers and Composers best work together? Drum roll…. Katie Simmons kicks off her conference with an upbeat Wednesday workshop! Take Away The Music and Song workshop was designed for Producers and Composers to discuss experiences around commissioning composed music. Producers talked about how to take subjectivity away from decisions, publishers talked about the importance of concrete terms and fees, and opinions were heard about the benefits or not of having an agent. The latter part of the workshop bought together some of the industry’s biggest musical personalities, so was guaranteed to be a ding-donging barnstormer! And it didn’t disappoint.…

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Wednesday Workshop: Pitch It - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 2:39am by Simon Bor

 Takeaway Keep things simple. Nothing is set in stone. Session Details No… The Ice Warriors haven’t made a come back. The Martians in question were a panel of eminent children’s media specialists who were asked to take on the role of TV executives from a planet who had not heard of Doctor Who. They commented on a spoof pitch from a group of CMC participants at Sarah Baynes’ Pitch-It workshop, who dubbed the legendary BBC show as ‘Scooby Doo in Space’ and ‘a show for eternity.’ Head of CBeebies production, Alison Stewart wondered if, without prior knowledge of Doctor Who’s successful…

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Wednesday Workshop: Playful Learning - Report

Posted on: Thursday 03 July 2014 9:00am by Sam Hutchinson

Sam Hutchinson learns how to turn IP into a successful educational app or game. Takeaway In finding an IP, it’s great to draw upon a recognisable world and tap into an existing audience, but, if it involves acquiring rights, make sure you know the details! When considering education, don’t make assumptions about what’s needed in the classroom - speak to teachers. Having teachers as partners can lend your project credibility. When designing your game, balance fun and learning – make sure your game is challenging to win, not to understand. And... When considering your marketing strategy, remember some believe 90% of…

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Weird Science - Report

Posted on: Saturday 05 July 2014 8:00am by Samuel Hutchinson

Takeaway Whatever the technology, the key is being open to the response of the kids and adapting to them. It’s all about the experience of the child and enhancing that, not our own, nor the technology in question. Session Details Firstly, a big hand for David Kleeman, who heroically stepped in at the last minute when Dr. Simon Moore was unfortunately unable to join the panel of this session. In the end, he contributed to this wonderfully detailed little session which predominantly focused on innovative new ways of assessing the engagement of young children in content. It’s a complex area…

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Whatever Happened to the Heroes? - PREVIEW

Posted on: Saturday 28 June 2014 12:25pm by Steve Smith

With a power-packed panel of execs from Disney, Turner, Nerd Corps and Hasbro, the mystical insights of researcher Nicky Goldstone, and overlording of Kidscreen's Jeremy Dickson, Whatever Happened to the Heroes? will interrogate the current landscape of hero genre animation and how it may be changing. Session producer Steve Smith invites you to don your tea-towel cape and come to Showroom Cinema 3 on Thursday. Your traditional cartoon heroes - the one's with their pants on the outside - are being challenged in a winner-takes-all, head-to-head face-off, by young comic upstarts - who to their credit generally keep their pants to…

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Whatever Happened To The Heroes? - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 9:25am by Jayne Kirkham

Is there a major shift away from action adventure and towards comedy for 6 to 9’s? Will superheroes ever be super again? Takeaway Even though they are quite short and their white armour creaks, stormtroopers are still scary.  Oh, and there will always be heroes, some more super than others.   Session Details Moderator Jeremy Dickson from Kidscreen introduced the session saying that superheroes are huge for adults and kids in films and comics but on television there has been a shift from action adventure to comedy for the 6 – 9 yr boys demographic. Can superheroes ever be super…

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When Technology Meets Storytelling - Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:25pm by Samuel Hutchinson

A very popular session at this year's CMC When Technology Meets Storytelling is also available as a podcast - see the foot of the page. Takeaway Technology has to empower users to express themselves more – inspire their imagination with the gaming features. But be cautious of straying from what users understand, or it becomes an obstacle. Sometimes user empowerment can be a bad thing. Technology is just clever ways of doing things differently – inspiring people to work in different ways. It won’t necessarily change how creative you are. Sometimes the stuff that’s easy is uninspired. In the kids’…

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