Inside the business of children's digital media


Kidscreen Wrap Up – Is There an App for That?


Kidscreen and iKids Summit week is a whirlwind, and we’re always inspired (if a little overwhelmed) by the unique convergence of folks from all parts of the kids industry. After my participation in the How Do I Get an App for That? session at iKids, Carla and I got to thinking about all of the things that we saw and heard at the Hilton and what kind of apps we’d like to have to help us navigate the future of the kids media landscape. Here’s our wish list of apps that would serve as our crystal balls into the transmedia future (as well as a few just for fun!)

TV Appens: Convergence of all these screens clearly continues to be a theme, as one simply had to swing a smartphone in the delegates lounge to find someone with a product promising to merge merging traditional television with interactivity. But what models will be successful remains to be seen in a world where both technology and content are evolving quickly. TV Appens would give us a window into which technologies and integration strategies have staying power.

Digital Strategy Maker: A digital strategy once simply meant throwing apps at the wall and seeing which ones stuck. But there’s a shift that we’re seeing even in our own work — as much as we design products, we’re also providing more and more digital strategy consulting. We suspect this is due to a number of factors: development budgets are exploding; standing out in the massive sea of products takes both skill and luck; and making too many interactive products can result in cannibalization of your own brand. The Digital Strategy Maker app would calculate a cohesive digital strategy that uses your development and marketing dollars efficiently. Think Mad Libs meets Harvard Business Review.

Future Network Alert: One of the most interesting developments at this year’s Kidscreen was seeing the new broadcasters on the circuit, many of them working outside of traditional television frameworks. (Hello, Amazon and Netflix!) We can’t wait to see how these networks evolve, how they change models of development and production, and what other “outside the box” broadcasters pop up along the way. This app would make things easy by pinging us every time a new channel pops up on the scene.

The Digital and Broadcast Team Matchmaker: Maybe it’s just our own diverse backgrounds in the television and digital worlds, but we’d love to continue to see the broadcast and interactive gatekeepers come together and hone content strategies in an even more collaborative way. Both groups have brilliant insight into kids content, and further discussion and integration of these areas of expertise can only serve to make kids’ experiences of properties richer and more rewarding. This app would pair up television and interactive professionals, OkCupid-style. Who knows what transmedia love matches would be found?

The Caroll Spinney Words of Wisdom App: One of the highlights of the conference was attending the session with Caroll Spinney, aka Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. It was no surprise to see everyone, from the heads of major networks to the Kidscreen staff, jamming the room to listen to this master puppeteer and storyteller relate stories about his life and career (with a little help from his friend Oscar the Grouch). Until the documentary about him (http://www.iambigbird.com/) comes out, we’d settle for an app that gives us a little Caroll Spinney wit and wisdom at the press of a button. (We’d throw in some Oscar and Big Bird bon mots, too, of course!)

So there you have it — apps for the future of Kidscreen and iKids. Until we can have these for our iPhones, we’ll just keep attending and trying to take it all in! And in the meantime, we’ll be attempting to process future conferences on our upcoming schedule, including Game Developers Conference and Sandbox Summit.

It was great to see all our friends (new and old) this year. If we missed you, drop us a note at KidsGotGame@noCrusts.com or @NoCrusts on Twitter.

 

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