KI'S Round-Up of CMC 2019

KI's Round-Up of CMC 2019

Kids Industries 12.07.2019 12 Mins

With CMC finishing just last week, we are pretty proud of Team KI for all their efforts across the board for one of, if not the, biggest children’s media conferences in the world. From speaking, researching, blogging and producing, we were determined to do our bit to impart our experience and knowledge to this year’s attendees.


Six members of KI attended CMC 2019 and all had their role in the conference. A few of them have shared their experiences and key learnings. Enjoy!


Maurice Wheeler, Chief of Strategy



Maurice undertook research specifically to share at CMC regarding co-viewing and co-playing, and how it is prevalent (or maybe not so much) in today’s modern families.


Summary of the research:


There are three factors that are prevalent in today's families that are creating the perfect environment for intergenerational co-consumption of content. 


  1. Life is really hard for parents right now, with more parents working than ever before. They are struggling with their work/life balance and either feel guilty that they are not earning enough money to provide for their family, or that they’re not spending enough time with them.  


  1. Ironically, this worry isn’t the actual reality; today's parents actually spend more time with their children than previous generations.  


  1. We are also seeing a leveling of the hierarchy between generations. 75% of dads and 61% of mums agree that they are best friends with their children.


With these three factors in mind, we wanted to look at how these are affecting content consumption and understand the data behind parents consuming content with their children.


As well as extensive desk research and literary reviews, we also ran an online survey with 1,001 UK families with children 4-12 and carried out 8 in-home qualitative research sessions with families from around the UK.  


Reasons for co-viewing


Parents like to show their children things they enjoy now and what they enjoyed themselves as a child, including listening to music, watching Star Wars, or playing Pokemon.  


Parents like to go down to a child’s level and vicariously experience joy through their child, watching them play FIFA on the Xbox or laughing along with them while they watch Shimmer and Shine. Just being with them when they are having fun is a bonding experience.


Parents also like to use some of their time together for educational reasons - choosing nature documentaries or reading books together.


Many parents will co-consume content as a means to understand and check up on their child’s media diet. For example, checking on the YouTube clips they enjoy watching or overseeing how they chat with others in video games.


Research conclusions - 


  1. Co-consumption of content is great for families. It brings them together and helps strengthen bonds. It has also been shown to deliver emotional benefits to parents and children as well.  


From a content creators perspective, when a family consumes content together they tend to pay more attention and also engage more deeply with the content. This is particularly evident in educational content where children will remember and learn more when they watch with their parents, rather than on their own.


  1. Most parents would love to spend more time playing with their kids, watching videos with them, and playing with toys, but ultimately the reality is they just don’t have the time. The amount of ‘quality time’ parents spend with their children hasn’t really changed for nearly 20 years. Parents’ talk of co-consumption is, at the moment, just talk. It is important as a content creator to make sure you recognise the difference between stated desire and actual behaviour.


  1. Creating co-consumption content isn’t necessarily the Holy Grail. There are compromises that need to be made, which are not right for every proposition. Some of the most commercially successful content is not created with co-consumption in mind. It is also worth noting a lot of content that is not created for everyone is equally enjoyed by all generations, as parents sometimes just like to spend time with children - enjoying what they enjoy.


Josh Brocklehurst, Research Executive 

Speaker and Researcher


When I was first told I would be co-presenting at CMC with our CSO, Maurice Wheeler, I was - for want of a better word - ‘shook’. Presenting at CMC was something particularly nerve-wracking, not only because it was my first time presenting at CMC, but my first time at CMC and properly presenting full stop. Whilst I’m more than comfortable giving research debriefs to clients or colleagues (and also being in a band…), I’ve never been one for the limelight. It was, however, a fantastic opportunity and not something future Josh would be happy about if I missed out on. 


I was beyond lucky at CMC, both before and after presenting, to be surrounded by experienced and nurturing colleagues and friends who were more than willing to offer advice and support. In terms of little tips and tricks I managed to pick up along the way, here are a few I found particularly useful (even if I didn’t fully follow them in the heat of the moment!). 


1. Go to the area you are presenting from with nothing in your pockets or around your neck (lanyards etc). If you are a particularly fidgety person like me, you will resort to playing with whatever ‘stuff’ you can get your hands on - this can be distracting to both the people watching and to yourself.  


2. Know the content enough that you could have a conversation about it for at least however long you are presenting for. I was lucky enough to be one of the people conducting the research we were presenting, so at the end of the process I was particularly immersed. Really knowing the content took some of the edge off presenting - it felt a lot more conversational and fluid, and as I didn’t want to read a script, this was lifesaving. And I knew that if all else failed and the power went out, in spite of the nerves and slightly shaky voice, I could still construct a compelling narrative. 


3. Immerse yourself in other people’s presentations. Between hysterically preparing for the delivery of our research findings, I spent most of my time in Cinema 1 listening to the other speakers divulge theirs. Not only was the content incredibly insightful (my favourite being understanding the research-driven approach to the age classification of video and film in the UK), I also managed to experience a myriad of positive presenting styles and behaviours. For someone with very limited presenting experience, this was incredibly enlightening. I would advise anyone who is new to presenting to take time exploring how your peers approach the same thing - coupled with some stellar advice from Gary Pope, it was key to me understanding that the most important thing about dynamic presenting is letting you shine through. Presentations are prosaic without an injection of personality. And blogs too, incidentally...


Sarah Doyle, Designer



I had the opportunity to blog at the CMC this year which coincidently was also my first time attending, too! I covered four varied sessions writing up the summarised sessions into reports. A quick turnaround was required to keep a steady stream of content being posted throughout the three days, which was important in keeping the buzz going across social channels. 


It was an intense three days trying to squeeze in as many sessions as possible around writing up blogs. At times it was challenging due to the tight time constraints but I was supported by the friendly blogging team and enjoyed it a lot. I’d absolutely recommend it as it really encourages you to soak up as much information as possible.


For any future visitors or people interested in blogging I’d have to recommend: 


  • Take notes, it’s much easier to refer back to notes and remind you of any smaller points in the sessions or specific references. 

  • As a blogger, write the blogs as soon after the session as possible, so the information is clear in your mind. 

  • Be a knowledge sponge...there is so much to learn!


If you fancy it, have a little read of my blogs below! 


  • https://www.thechildrensmediaconference.com/blog/2019/07/05/report-cultivating-community/

  • https://www.thechildrensmediaconference.com/blog/2019/07/04/report-creative-keynote-horrible-histories-the-movie/

  • https://www.thechildrensmediaconference.com/blog/2019/07/05/report-gambling-and-gaming-whats-the-difference-whats-the-harm/

  • https://www.thechildrensmediaconference.com/blog/2019/07/03/report-first-timers-reception-city-hall-bar-open/


Rachel Foster, Junior Creative Strategist

Session Producer


I was offered the opportunity to be the Session Producer for ‘Pushing the Preschool Envelope’, which was all about how the preschool world is changing and what the industry is doing to push it even further. It was a really exciting panel, (as I hope those who attended would agree!) which had some incredible speakers. The line-up included Jodie Morris from Acamar, Sarah Broad from Kelebek Media, Jon Benoy from Moonbug, Chris Skala from Happy Alchemy and Lynsey O’Callaghan from Nickelodeon. I give my biggest thanks to them! 


For context, each speaker was asked to discuss five key areas of preschool. These included diversity and inclusion, social, production techniques, merchandising and platforms.


But what was discussed and what could be learned from this session, I hear you ask? Well, these are my key takeaways:


  • Diversity is key across the board and this should be reflected not just in your show but across all media comms. The more diverse your show is, the wider the audience it can relate to. Bing Bunny and Moonbug do a brilliant job of this.

  • There is no specific production technique that maps out success. It’s just not that simple and there are benefits to both. You can do it fast and effective like Moonbug and reap great success from your frequency and volume of content. But you can also spend time and money to develop characters and storylines like Bing and Nickelodeon which tend to create a longer-lasting show. It just depends on what works for you rather than forcing a technique.

  • Considering merchandise is critical when pushing a new show out, while not every show is perfectly created for merchandise (as the panel stated, Peppa Pig has two eyes on the side of her head, which has been a regular struggle to translate to 3D!), it can definitely be helpful when making the show, ‘toyetic’.


Gary Pope, Co-Founder

Speaker, Moderator and Member of the Advisory Committee for CMC


The work that goes on behind the scenes at CMC is phenomenal. A world-class programme doesn't just materialise overnight. The advisory committee, which I am super-proud to sit on, works hard throughout the year to get things just right. In fact, our first meeting for CMC 2020 is on Monday 15th July… just ten days after the 2019 edition ended.

It was in a committee meeting in March this year that it became apparent that there hadn’t been a fully dedicated preschool session for seven years. I am continually inspired by the work the British children’s media industry creates for preschoolers; I didn't give it a second thought when a volunteer exec producer was requested. 

This session was about celebrating innovation in pre-school in a shifting landscape, with the unflinching objective to inform and inspire all those with a love of preschool content - from the big internationals with budgets to match to the smaller indies with a cast-iron will and the determination to succeed. 

And this is the very point of CMC for me. Since the very first Showcomotion (as it was called then) in 2004, where I spoke to the entire congregation of 190 people, the event has been about education and inspiration. The CMC has always been and always will be about how this amazing industry can help itself to grow stronger and more relevant.

And today, Greg Childs, Kathy Loizou, Jacqui Wells and Lauren Bartles make sure over 1200 people come to Sheffield and left knowing things they didn't when they arrived and having connections they may well have for many years to come. I think that the children’s media industry is probably one of the most generous, collegiate and exciting in the world and I am very, very happy to be a part of it.

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