Dispatches from the Children’s Media Conference – Day 2

In part two of this three-part series, guest columnist Josh Selig reports from Sheffield, England, on hot topics at this year's Children's Media Conference taking place from July 4 to 6. Day 2: "I typically try to be sober when I write my Kidscreen blog, but tonight I'm afraid I have missed the mark."
July 6, 2012

I have just completed Day 2 of the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield and my mind is abuzz with sangria courtesy of Ken Anderson and his merry band from Red Kite Animation in Edinburgh.  I typically try to be sober when I write my Kidscreen blog, but tonight I’m afraid I have missed the mark.  I apologize in advance for any typos.

Day 2 featured a variety of panels including “Meet The Commissioners: Public Service.”  Not surprisingly, three out of the five panelists were from the BBC and we even got a wave from the audience from the incoming CBBC commissioner, Cheryl Taylor.  The panel covered the activities of Channel 4 Education, S4C, BBC Learning, CBeebies and CBBC.  The highlight was hearing the panel’s moderator, Christopher Skala, fill time during a technical delay by telling us about his meal the previous evening.  He had tagliatelle.

There were a variety of other panels throughout the day, including “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” that was modeled on “The Lion’s Den” and featured real UK indies pitching to real buyers who made actual bids on original kids’ properties.  The buyers included such luminaries as Michael Acton Smith of Mind Candy, Nigel Pickard of Zodiak, Sander Schwartz of FremantleMedia and Alison Warner of Technicolor.  One of the spirited indies actually turned down an offer, which I must say took some real chutzpah.  The session was produced by Steven Andrew and I applaud his efforts to introduce high stakes into this pitching format.

I promised Lana that I would try to avoid talking about myself in these Sheffield blogs, which is proving to be much harder than I had imagined.  After all, it is very hard not to reference oneself when one is stuck inside oneself all day, especially during a conference.  So, in an effort to avoid myself for the remainder of this blog, I would like to put forth a few quotes that seemed to me to be particularly relevant to the happenings here at the CMC.

“I think we’re in a transition from having a TV property that might have a website to having a TV property and thinking, ‘What is my transmedia structure?’  And I think in the future you will just have a property and you will think ‘Where shall I put this?’” – Dominic Minns, Plug-In

“In a time of insecurity, there’s actually fewer hangers-on in the industry.  The people who are here are the people who want to be here and we do business with people we’ve known for a fair amount of time.  That brings a level of comfort in a time that’s full of insecurities.” – Tom Van Waveren, Cake Entertainment

“There is powerful clarity amongst the community here as to what transmedia can achieve.  There is a strong sense of welcoming the future of children’s media.” – Gary Pope, Kids Industries

It’s after midnight here in Sheffield so it’s time for me to text Mary and Buffy and go to bed.  I’ve suffered terribly from jet lag all week so I am hoping the sangria will knock me out.  If that doesn’t work, I have some preschool scripts to read that I know will put me to sleep.

Check back Monday for the conclusion of my Children’s Media Conference coverage.

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