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Overheard at the Summit….

With the kids entertainment industry meeting en masse in New York for the KidScreen Summit, there was plenty of food for thought being offered up in the various sessions taking place yesterday.
February 9, 2007

With the kids entertainment industry meeting en masse in New York for the KidScreen Summit, there was plenty of food for thought being offered up in the various sessions taking place yesterday.What follows is just a snippet of what went down in the conference rooms of the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers today:

Kids aren’t watching TV for the reasons you might think they are. That was one of the findings discussed by Marsha E. Williams, SVP/research and planning for Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group, at her session The Young and the Wireless.

After conducting a detailed study of what kids are watching and why, Williams says that children often turn on the tube for ‘down time’ and ‘relaxation’. As well, a number of kids that participated in a TV deprivation study claimed to have missed the watching TV with family members and friends more than the actual content itself.

Williams also noted that although kids have been inundated with different format options in the past five years, they are actually watching two hours more a week than they were in 2002.

Licensing guru Gary Caplan hosted a dream panel of consumer products experts to discuss the keys to achieving success in the increasingly competitive field. Advice ranged from ‘Love your job’ (George Leon, EVP of worldwide consumer marketing at Columbia Pictures Worldwide Marketing) to ‘Never cost reduce the magic’ (Neil Friedman, Mattel Brands president) in the free form discussion that touched on a variety of different topics.

Leigh Ann Brodsky, president of Nickelodeon Brand Creative Group, told the audience that the advent of UGC has ‘turned the whole model on its head’ in terms of consumer products, but that companies could learn how to utilize it use it to augment their business.

The panelists also all agreed that The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is essential reading for anyone in the idea business.

Jens Bachem, managing director of Digital Outlook, and creative director Dino Burbidge held a session on launching IPs in the online world. They both agreed that advertising is probably the right model for revenue generation in the online space. They offered a few short points to assist producers in this relatively new environment. In short: find partners with wide distribution, make your product discoverable and easy to find, value your audience by engaging them with blogs, feedback pages and message boards.

The duo also discussed how production on demand could reshape retail for niche web IPs; no need to worry about massive manufacturing costs, expensive shipping, tight shelf space, unused inventory in the age of on-demand everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs. Essentially, the name of the game is monetizing The Long Tail (if you don’t know Chris Anderson’s book and blog by now, you haven’t been paying attention).

About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at garyrusak@gmail.com

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