The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

The Year Ahead

CMF Chair, Anna Home on the Foundation’s view of the key issues in 2014 and our priorities. 2014 sees the real start of the debate about the future of the BBC, with the renewal of the licence fee in 2015, and the Royal Charter in 2017. It’s already clear that the BBC will be under great pressure in terms of its funding, size and governance. The BBC remains the major provider of indigenously–produced kids’ content and CMF will, with other pressure groups like The Voice of the Listener and Viewer and Pact, work to ensure the best long term outcome for children in the BBC of the future.

Following last year’s success with the Animation Tax Relief, we want to take the idea further. We believe that this is the time to consider the issue of further tax breaks for Children’s content beyond animation, and we will be discussing this with other interested parties over the next few months. This will not be an easy battle to win, and a lot of thought will need to go into a campaign, so don’t be concerned if you see a grim look of determination plastered over our faces!

One of our major concerns is the future, if any, of children’s film in the UK.  Apart from the welcome appointment of Justin Johnson to co-ordinate kid’s issues at the British Film Institute, little happened in 2013. We’re hoping for more progress this year.  We will continue discussions with the BFI, while also highlighting the issues in two events: a public one in partnership with BAFTA on March 26th (stay tuned for more details); and a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s Media and the Arts to be held later in the year, bringing the lack of coherent policy to the attention of Parliamentarians and Ministers.  Our aim is nothing less than a clear policy for the future of children’s film.

A lot of excellent and insightful academic work is done on children’s media and the CMF is going to work hard in the coming year to bring it to a wider audience, both in the media industry and the interested public. We continue to support bids for academic research funding when we think they will be of value to the public and policy makers, and very soon we’ll launch our first major research initiative on the CMF website.  This project, which is intended primarily to help parents, has been developed by our research advisory group - one of the several volunteer groups we now have run by members of our Executive Committee. These groups will continue to develop and expand their work throughout the year. (See Colin Ward’s article Research and Parenting from December’s Newsletter for an example of research the CMF takes on.)

There are other issues which we looked at in 2013 that remain unresolved.

We’re still concerned that Channel 4 is not fulfilling its remit to cater for older kids and that the 12+ audience remains generally underserved.  We will continue to lobby about this, and we’ll also remain in close touch with the debate on safety for children online.

The CMF is still quite a new organisation and in 2014 we need to continue building and developing its structure. Of course we need to increase our supporter base and raise our public profile as well so please feel free to spread the word and encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for this newsletter. You can also join our Facebook group and follow us on Twitter.

2014 looks like a busy year.  We’ll keep you up to date with this monthly Newsletter, and to help us achieve all this we’d really welcome your support.  If you feel you can join us as a patron or supporter please visit our sign-up page on the CMF website. Oh, and look out for our second Children’s Media Yearbook which will be published on April 1st.

Here’s to a happy 2014!

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)