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COVID-19: Kids industry closures & cancellations

As pandemic continues to evolve, we will be updating this guide with all the info on what's being paused and shut down across the industry.
July 28, 2020

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving hour to hour, and it can be difficult to keep up with what’s happening in the industry. So to help Kidscreen readers stay on top of the evolving situation we have put together a guide of every industry event that’s been affected, as well as other important information you might need to know to go about your day to day business. The Kidscreen team will be updating this story as things evolve so make sure to bookmark it and come back to it when you need more information. Help us keep it up to date, and send cancellations and closures we may have missed to awhyte@brunico.com.

Events

The event business has been hit hard by COVID-19, particularly as countries like France and parts of the US have banned large gatherings. Italy has closed its borders and the US has declared a national state of emergency, which has led to many events postponing or being cancelled.

Postponed

Cartoon Business: moved from March 24 – 26 to December 9 – 11

Cartoon Digital: currently planned for May 26 – 28 is set to be postponed, more information shortly

Cancelled

Animation Dingle 2020: will return in 2021.

MIPTV 2020: the next edition will be April 12 – 15, 2021

Stuttgart International International Festival of Animated Film and Development and Animation Production Days: the next edition will be May 4 – 9, 2021

Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2020: the next edition will be April 12 – 15, 2021

VidCon US, scheduled to run from June 17 to 20. It will return next year

The Banff World Media Festival, set to run from June 14 to 17, is cancelling its 2020 edition. It’s since launched a digital version, which is running through the summer.

Reed MIDEM’s MIDEM 2020 event scheduled for June 2 – 5. The next edition will take place June 1-4, 2021.

Prix Jeunesse, in its 56th year, schedule from June 5 to 11. It will return in 2022 in Munich.

Children’s Media Conference from July 7 – 9.

Annecy International Animated Film Festival and MIFA have been cancelled and will return in June 2021.

Reed Exhibitions has cancelled its BookExpo, UnBound and BookCon events, which will now take place spring 2021.

Licensing Expo: first postponed until August, the event has now been cancelled until May 2021.

CES: The annual tech event won’t be happening in 2021 and will instead resume in 2022.

Productions

Several companies have shut down production in order to protect staff or allow them to work from home.

Nickelodeon is postponing live-action productions as a precaution and the animation studio has closed to “virtually all staff” and the studio is moving to alternative, offsite locations “wherever possible”, according to a Nickelodeon spokesperson.

Netflix has paused all scripted TV and film production in the US and Canada for two weeks (starting on March 13) due to government restrictions and healthy/safety precautions, Kidscreen confirmed.

Disney is suspending production on current live-action series, pilots and movies, according to a Disney Channel spokesperson. The TV Animation Studio, meanwhile, will be working remotely on production and post-production of animated series and movies, wherever possible. “We will continue to evaluate the situation and follow the guidance of the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and local health officials in each of our production locations,” said a Disney Channel spokesperson.

Cartoon Network has no news on whether production has halted, but has launched global PSAs (pictured) focused on the importance of good hygiene to help with limiting the spread of COVID-19. They will be rolling out on-air, the CN app, CN’s social channels and YouTube.

Variety is also keeping a running list of all of the productions that have been shut down in the older-viewing space.

Digital

With all of the cancellations and closures, some events have decided to go digital instead of risking bringing lots of people together at once.

CES is going digital in 2021. From January 6 – 9 the event will run entirely online with ways for exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world to connect. Rather than bringing close to 200,000 people to Las Vegas, the event will be digital in 2021 and return in person, in 2022.

Annecy Festival postponed announcing its Official Selection (which was supposed to come out in the next few days) until April. The Short, Graduation, TV and Commissioned Films and VR Works announcements are all postponed. Event organizer MIFA is moving the event to an online format.

Not just events, distributors are all getting in on the digital event action, including TV France which is hosting a new market for children’s program. Sixteen companies have signed up so far (none of which are named but TV France lists them as “the most important names in the French audio visual industry” to present the best of each of their youth programming. The TV France markets are free for buyers. ScreenKids will let buyers view the shows until May 23 here.

The Animation Dingle Student Awards and the Young Animator of the Year award will take place as a closed door event broadcast March 20 at 8pm GMT.Reed MIDEM for example is launching MIPTV Online+. On March 30, the service will offer connected access to exclusive content originally programmed for MIPTV in Cannes. It will also include content for MIPDoc and MIPFormats. It will stream pitches as well as exclusive market intelligence conference sessions, Fresh TV and the Factual and Kids Content showcases.

The International Emmy Kids Awards, which was scheduled to be held at MIPTV, will now reveal the winners via its social media channels on March 31.

Screening site ProgramBuyer has launched a free portal where subscribers can view all of the new content that was scheduled to launch at MIPTV this year. Existing distributors already using the platform include Beyond Distribution and Red Arrow Studios, while France tv distribution, Mediterranep Mediaset Espana Group and Canamedia added content recently.

Prix Jeunesse International, the Children’s TV festival, is moving to a virtual festival for people to exchange ideas and discuss the program finalists for the 2020 Awards. More details will be shared shortly.

Children’s Media Conference has become Children’s Media Community for the year with weekly webinars and virtual meetings from late April until July. More details can be found on the CMC website.

Nonprofit org Children’s Media Association is offering three months of free membership to new members and will automatically add three months to the terms of existing members. In the meantime the CMA is offering free streaming events, including a fireside chat with Brad Montague and Houston Kraft.

Licensing International and Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group are partnering to launch Licensing Week. The five-day digital event will take place June 15 to 19 and feature virtual keynotes, educational seminars, matchmaking, networking and digital exhibitions.

The UK chapter of non-profit Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment is hosting a virtual meeting with global initiative ToyAid on June 5 for people in the industry to network and chat with others. Lockdowns have started to ease at the end of May, but many in the country are continuing to work from home in the country and this is a chance for them to connect. Participants will meet over Zoom, and will also learn about the newly launched UK charitable org ToyAid.

Russian film promotion body ROSKINO is launching a digital content market from June 8 to June 15. A number of execs from major companies, including HBO and Lionsgate, Cyber Group and WildBrain will attend the Key Buyers Event: Digital Edition, and be part of industry-relevant panels.

The Ottawa International Animation Festival is heading online, with an extended format running from September 23 to October 4. The  team behind it is researching the best platforms to showcase the films for an international audience, while incorporating a social component. The festival’s industry event, The Animation Conference, is moving online as well.

This piece was first published on March 16 and is being updated daily. 

About The Author
Alexandra Whyte is Kidscreen's News & Social Media Editor. Contact her at awhyte@brunico.com

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