The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Summer Fundraising

Greg Childs explains why the long term future for CMF needs to be assured.

The Children's Media Foundation has had a good 5 year run.  When we started in 2011, our aims were to improve the public conversation around kids and media, bring the research community closer to the industry and to policy makers, and better understanding to politicians of the consequences of their policy decisions on the media diets of UK kids. We've done all this and more....

We've run a successful All Party Parliamentary Group and brought various issues in front of Parliamentarians, allowing them to meet industry practitioners and academic and commercial researchers who know about what kids are up to in the media space.  Our constant responsiveness to public consultations has kept us in the mind's eye of the politicians who matter, particularly the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee and at the DCMS. We've campaigned in alliance with Pact, the VLV and Animation UK and the long term results have been the tax incentives for animation and children's production, and the inclusion of children's in the new Public Service Contestable Fund concept - which for us is a moment of deja vue, as we proposed a kids' content fund five years ago.

In the meantime we launched our Parent Portal, we have published the Children's Media Yearbookfor four consecutive years (I can recommend it again as a thoroughly good read), we have built solid relationships with the leading figures in academic research, helped the Office of Fair Trading set new standards for in-app purchasing which brought clarity for digital producers, influenced the BFI to support more children's film, pressured Channel 4 to take on the older children's audience, and opened up the debate on the responsibilities of the big platform owners such as YouTube to the kids in their audience.

You can see from the list above that this work is far from completed. Channel 4 have rowed back on their commitment to 10+ kids. The question of online security, kids' rights and the responsibilities of platform owners is a long-term campaign. The Contestable Fund is a great idea but not if it strips money away from the BBC by top-slicing the Licence Fee after the initial 3-year pilot.  And at £20m a year, shared across several genres, there simply isn't enough to make an impact. We need more money, we need new money, and we need a radical new approach to the organisation and financing of the Fund – all of which is a lot of work, stretching into the next 5 years.

When we launched the CMF we said we were in it for the long haul. But that depends entirely on whether we can raise enough funds to keep going. Donations are our only source of income.  We're reaching out to potential patrons and supporting companies throughout August in a fundraising campaign. Or you could contact me: director@thechildrensmediafoundation.org if you'd like to know more about the different levels of support - or simply go to our donation page and sort it right now.

We're not asking for much, given the impact we make.  But there is a serious danger that without your support the organisation will not be able to keep up the work needed over the next five years. Please help us - we need your support now more than ever.

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