Ok – you’ve heard it before, but this time it’s for real. We’ve bought our tickets, we’re booking hotels in Manhattan, we’re having our photos taken for a brochure – with happy smiling faces! (Smiles, but not grins – we can compete on creativity but not on dental work).
Yes, around 30 individuals from 25 UK companies are coming to the KidScreen Summit. We are UK@Kidscreen 2012 – the official British delegation.
I’m one of the UK delegation “tour guides” – the other is Sarah Baynes at the Creative Garden. If you’re going to Kidscreen and there’s anything we can do to help you meet UK companies who can help you with your business please let us know. We have some tables booked in the Delegate Lounge at the Hilton, so meeting is easy. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What struck me as we put the delegation together is the range of businesses involved. Of course you’d expect small and medium sized TV and animation production houses – but there’s also a channels operator, interactive specialists, an animation software provider, a research and digital marketing agency, a music rights company and more than one agency dedicated to providing the entire transmedia proposition for clients’ brands. It reflects the pan-sector engagement we experience at The Children’s Media Conference (CMC) in the UK, and it’s very much the way the industry is moving – cross-platform distribution, leading to cross-sector partnerships or knowledge exchange.
Whatever their area of expertise, the UK delegation is a talented, dedicated and driven bunch of people who are well worth “30 minutes with”. Take a look at their profiles and take your pick!
Impossible Kids is sponsoring the delegation and UK Trade and Investment is in support. UKTI is an agency that provides support for companies looking to inward-invest in Britain as well as helping exporters, like our delegation, so they’re also worth contacting. Richard Powell in the New York office has been a great help to us and could help you.
KidScreen have also been incredibly supportive. At the CMC we know what it takes to put together a big event so we’re full of admiration for the organisers.
We are hoping to bring the special CMC vibe with us to New York. We pride ourselves in creating an open and collaborative atmosphere – with plenty of opportunities to share learning and build partnerships. We welcome participants from just about every part of the industry (most recently the theatre, museums and galleries community got involved) so the opportunities are wide. But of course everyone’s in competition – the broadcasters for audience, the producers for commissions, the agencies for clients, the writers for jobs. At the CMC we try to make that take a back seat. There’s a sense that comparing creative notes, sharing best business practice, discussing the issues, and generally focusing on the audience is time well-spent. People are genuinely open, informative and collaborative. I hope the UK@Kidscreen delegation can offer this too.
This “collaboration capacity” has a couple of roots. One is a long-standing tendency to “huddle for warmth” in the face of the adult media sector’s power and influence. The other is the shared focus on an audience not just as customers or consumers, but also “in our care”. It’s a unique relationship and I believe it leads us to a common understanding beyond anything you might experience in any other media sector.
That’s why events like the CMC and KidScreen are so successful. Despite the variety of aims and aspirations, there is one strong focus – doing the best for kids. And in the end, as Gerry Laybourne once said, “what’s good for kids is good for business”.
So the British are coming. And it’s not just “Chariots of Fire” – it’s the real deal. With the Olympics in London this summer, the eyes of the world will be on the UK. Britain has an amazing track record in kids’ content – particularly for preschoolers. “Team GB” will be carrying that creative flame to KidScreen with some fantastic ideas and outstanding service offers, and they’re fit and ready to partner internationally to get projects “off the starting blocks” and onto the winners’ podium.
Talk to us – you could be going for Gold!
(Do I get at least a bronze medal for that little-known Olympic discipline, metaphor-stretching?)