In early July we visited Sheffield to attend the Children’s Media Conference 2019. Here’s an overview of our time at the ultimate gathering for people developing, producing and distributing content for kids in the UK!

The big divisive topic of this year’s conference was streaming and how kids use YouTube. Some companies are embracing YouTube as a platform to host their video content because, as Lydia Mossahebi from Beano Studios put it, “we have to be honest, it’s where kids are.” On the other hand, new streaming sites are emerging to meet parent’s demand for a safe place for children to stream content online. As a result, we saw a variety of commissioning requests to be hosted on TV and internet spaces. If you are interested in what TV networks are looking for in pitches, check out our @blue_zoo Twitter feed where we live-tweeted some of the commissioner conversation sessions from the conference.
You can look back over our live-tweeting of events on our Twitter page. Make sure you’re following us so you never miss our live-tweeting of events or the latest news from Blue Zoo!

Industry veteran Alison Warner attended CMC announcing her new role as MD of new the new Blue Zoo Rights division, to grow our slate of properties. In her new role for Blue Zoo, Alison will be handling pre-sales, distribution, brand management and merchandising. In addition, Alison will be seeking new projects to complement and diversify our portfolio. Throughout the conference it was wonderful to hear all the compliments on the new collaboration; we are thrilled to be working together!

We were doubly excited to see the first public sneak peek of our upcoming Paddington TV series (due to air on Nickelodeon’s networks worldwide in 2020) on the big cinema screen during the “Creative Masterclass: Clangers and Paddington” talk on Wednesday. We loved hearing the Creative Producer for Heyday Films, Rosie Alison, speak so fondly of our favourite Peruvian bear:

“What I first fell in love with was the weirdness of this bear in London and the scrapes he gets into... He’s the essence of wonder and innocence, he’s the bit of you that you want to preserve, he’s a force for good.”

This year our brilliant co-founder, Tom Box, was invited to be the chair of the relaunched Animation Skills Fund. To spark conversation about how this fund can be best used, Tom chaired the panel discussion “Animation Skills Fund – Use it or Lose it!” at the CMC with a fantastic team of industry professionals and educational experts who debated this topic with the audience. Speakers included Adam Jackson-Nocher from Lupus Films, Kate O’Connor from Animation UK, Helen Piercy from Norwich University of the Arts, and Sarah Tanner from Jellyfish Pictures. You can read an overview of the panel discussion here.

Overall this year’s conference was an insightful and integral opportunity for us to see how the industry is changing and shaping itself to the new demands in 2019. And of course, it was a ton of fun with old and new industry friends! Thank you CMC for another great conference, we’ll see you in 2020!