The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Pushing the Preschool Envelope at CMC

Priorities for Preschool In An Age Of Change

Gary Pope,

Co-Founder, Kids Industries

Speaker, Moderator and Member of the Advisory Committee for CMC


The work that goes on behind the scenes at The Children's Media Conference 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 leave knowing things they didn't when they arrived and make 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.

Rachel Foster, Creative Strategy Planner,

Kids Industries

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 tends 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’.


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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)