The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Game Change at the Children’s Media Conference

Children's Media Foundation Produces Stand-out Session

As part of its commitment to organise policy events, the CMF produced the key opening debate of the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield on 2 July.With the title “Game Change”, and a ‘Question Time’ format hosted by the incisive Steve Hewlett of Radio 4’s Media Show, the Foundation gathered an outstanding panel to answer Conference delegates’ questions. Anna Home outlined new CMF policies on the future of public service broadcasting (you can see them here) and concerns about funding at the BBC. Director of BBC Children’s Alice Webbmade her first major public appearance and outlined her new strategy for digital engagement with a wider age-range of UK kids, Claudio Pollack, Group Director of Content, Consumer and External Affairs at Ofcom discussed Ofcom's final conclusions in their Public Service Broadcasting Review which were announced that morning, and in a first for the CMC, Ed Vaizey M.P. was also on the panel.

As Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed is at the heart of decision-making about broadcasting and other media matters, and though he wasn’t a stranger to CMC, having attended while a Shadow Minister in 2008, this is the first time a serving Minister has been at this important children’s industry get-together.

Jayne Kirkham produced the session for CMF and her connections as Clerk to the Children's Media All Party Parliamentary Group secured the Ministerial visit - as did the topics to be discussed.
Questions ranged from disability portrayal in kids' TV, to whether BBC Children’s could and should expect more cuts; why the BBC spends 5% of its budget on children’s services when kids make up 19% of the UK population; how the commercial public service broadcasters like ITV and Five could be stimulated or persuaded to commission more UK-kids content now that profits are rising; whether Channel 4 should be called to account for its failure to deliver on promises to serve the 10+ audience; how traditional channels - even the most commercial - can compete against Video on Demand services and especially the ever-growing attractions of YouTube; and - in the light of a subsequent session about the return of  ‘Thunderbirds’ ‘The Clangers’ and ‘Dangermouse’ - what show would the panelists bring back to TV?  Ed Vaizey was triumphant when he produced the definitive answer ‘Grange Hill’ while everyone else prevaricated!
The hour long discussion was attended by 400+ CMC delegates and was a complete immersion in all the policy issues facing kids' media and the children’s audience in the next couple of years.
CMF Chair Anna Home remarked: "This was the day on which the CMF “came of age” in front of the UK kids' media industry. It proved that we can and do provide a unique service for the audience by keeping the industry informed and engaged with policy questions, which, once decided, will have radical impacts on their capacity to make and distribute programming and get it commissioned or funded.  And that, in the end, affects the children’s audience - our principal concern.”
You can read a blog of the session on the CMC website, or watch a full video of the session.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)