The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

New Founder Patron – Straight from the Zoo!

Oli Hyatt has been Creative Director of Blue-Zoo Animation for over a decade, and has been nominated and won several awards including Young Businessman of the Year and Young Director of the Year. He's one of the minds behind Olive the Ostrich and Chair of the Animation UK campaign. He's  also on the Children's BAFTA committee. Now he's joined the CMF as our newest Founder Patron.

He told Hannie Kirkham his reasons why, and what the year ahead holds for him...

How did you find out about CMF and what made you want to support us?
I have been in and around the Children’s TV industry for 15 years and have watched the CMF develop since its inception as Save Kids TV in 2006. High quality media provides children with important educational and developmental support at a time where they are at their most malleable, so providing content and experiences that both reflect and expand on their world, creatively, culturally and educationally, is something that is vital, yet all too often undervalued.

Children historically have never had a voice to demand better media experiences, but the CMF, given the proper funding and support, can help represent children from 1 – 16 putting their needs top of the agenda.

Blue-Zoo works in other genres, so why is Children’s particularly important to you?

Blue-Zoo is an animation company predominantly working on children’s content. But our love and appreciation of children's media in broader terms, comes from our own experiences as children, and now our children's experiences.

Childhood has become very commercialised and without proper investment and the right people pushing the needs and values of childhood, we’re at risk of our kids’ media becoming a commodity to be traded, rather than a service.

Blue-Zoo already produces shows that are more philanthropic than many that are offered, with fewer commercial aspirations, but with content that allows us to inspire and sometimes meet our audience. We believe that CMF can work with both industry professionals and politicians to initiate debate and change that will help other companies
Last year CMF supported the successful campaign for the new Animation Tax Relief. What kind of impact has that had for you and Blue-Zoo?
Tax relief for Blue-zoo simply opens new doors. It gives all our projects in commercial, philanthropic or simply service work a better chance of being produced in full here in the UK. I believe that both animation and live action shows should have a strong and diverse UK voice. Too often we import content and ideas from overseas, because of the cost and commercial demands.

The BBC, the guardian of non-commercialised TV, is again being cut and not from a position of strength. This potentially means that fewer children might see their needs represented on screen and the tremendous work of CBBC and CBeebies is again put at risk. The more that organisations like the CMF can help to promote the need for funding and the benefits to British kids, the more British companies will be able to produce quality material.
And what does the year ahead have in store, especially with the BBC Charter and Licence Fee reviews?
I'm looking forward to the next year. I think the BBC Charter renewal gives the government and the BBC a real opportunity to rethink how they value kids’ media. It’s an opportunity to look at what children really need, meaning the UK can disruptively change the way the UK and then the world views media for the young. It will help us put the needs and values of children’s media on a par with those for adults, fund it correctly and ensure we lead the world in children’s media for years to come.

The CMF should be at the heart of this debate.

You can contribute to the children's Media Foundation as a Supporter or Patron - click here to find out more.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)