Thirty-one issues ago in January 1996, Mark Smyka, then KidScreen’s editor and now our executive editor, wrote in that premiere issue, ‘The greatest idea, no matter how dazzling in concept, will not succeed if it is not equally brilliant in its timing.’
Well, many ideas-KidScreen included-have had some pretty brilliant timing. KidScreen was born out of a recognition that things in the kids business were changing-and fast. In the short time of two years and seven months, we have witnessed the swift growth of the kids business. And that growth has not only extended across borders, but also across disciplines.
It has become impossible to operate in one realm of the industry without some insight and understanding of the operations of other areas. Licensing execs are touring the floor at MIP and NATPE, TV execs are poking around licensing shows and toys fairs. It has become difficult to operate as an island.
KidScreen has heeded that lesson, and, as we announced last year, we have extended our brand with the addition of a conference division. Mark moved over from his role as hands-on editor of the magazine to guide this new venture once again, with impeccable timing. Last May, the first event, the Understanding Cool conference in Toronto, drew more than 150 attendees from all areas of the kids business. Next September, the first Golden Marble Awards will take place in New York City. The awards, aimed at recognizing talent in the children’s advertising sector, will be accompanied by a two-day conference. (For more details, see pages 12 and 13.)
And, here in our Toronto office, change continues to happen. With this 31st issue of the magazine, I step down as editor to strap on a backpack and head off into the great beyond. I hand off my keyboard with great sadness, but much confidence, into the very capable hands of Mary Maddever, KidScreen’s new editor. Mary is well known to our Canadian readers, as she has been with another Brunico publication, Playback, Canada’s broadcast and production journal, for the last 11 years, with nearly three years of those as its editor. Mary will be supported by our terrific editorial team: special reports editor Andrea Haman, West Coast editor Virginia Robertson, staff writer Simon Ashdown, who specializes in the retail and licensing sectors, and our editorial assistant, Jocelyn Longworth. On the publishing side, Nicole London takes on the role of associate publisher and Kimbirly Orr moves into the position of director of sales and special events for Brunico Marketing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Brunico Communications Inc., publisher of KidScreen.
Mary is taking over at a very exciting time in the business. The furious expansion over the last few years has brought the whole industry to another level, begging the question, ‘Where do we go from here?’ The playing field is only so big and while timing may get you in the game, only hard work, innovation and a lot of luck will keep you there.
In the meantime, in this issue, our special report takes a look at all the changes that have occurred in the new darling market of the kids entertainment industry, preschool. In our North American editions, ‘KidScreen Retail’ features a report on the 17th Annual VSDA Convention.
Good luck to everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing how the game plays out.