Britain’s TV production trade org Pact is welcoming studios that specialize in live-action to its fold this month, bringing indie kids producers working in all genres together under one policy group for the first time.
Headed up by Millimages chairman Jonathan Peel, the new lobby arm will focus on a lot of the same projects that the all-animators group it replaces did, including exploring financing, advising networks on maintaining local product quotas, and pinning down the logistics of new distribution platforms. But Pact chief executive John McVay says the major limitation of the animation policy group was that it failed to narrow in on some of the paramount issues that are unique to the kids TV business as a whole.
Children’s television is a hot political topic in the U.K. right now, with both government pundits and the public putting local producers under the microscope to ensure what they produce is healthy for children. McVay says the debate about advertising to children and the promotion of unhealthy foodstuffs within kid-targeted programs is really heating up, and the new group should be able to participate more effectively. ‘As a lobbying body, it’s a lot easier for us to have discussions with politicians if we represent the entire kids programming industry, not just animation,’ he says.
At press time, the group of representatives from 19 independent kids producers had yet to hold its inaugural monthly meeting to boil down which issues should be tackled out of the gate. But Peel suggests that the first few get-togethers will likely explore whether there needs to be more indigenous programming on British airwaves, the effects of an eventual analogue TV switch-off, and how to work with the commissioning structures of the BBC.
Pact Children’s Policy Group members
Chair – Jonathan Peel (Millimages UK)
Vice chair – Marion Edwards (Red and Blue Productions)
Ken Anderson (Red Kite Animation)
Joanne Bibby (The Mersey Television Company)
Jane Bolton (Picasso Pictures)
Miles Bullough (Aardman Animations)
Kate Canning (The Canning Factory)
Mario Cavalli (Colony Media)
Tony Collingwood (Collingwood O’Hare Entertainment)
Mick Foley (Sumo Dojo)
Ginger Gibbons (Grand Slamm Films)
Iain Harvey (The Illuminated Film Company)
Andrew Heffernan (Grant Thornton)
Amelia Johnson (Prism Entertainment)
Robin Lyons (Calon)
Lee Marriott (Cosgrove Hall Films)
Christopher Pilkington (Initial Kids)
Mick Robertson (WisedUp)
Julian Scott (Zenith Entertainment)