The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Michael Carrington

A Practitioner's View...

I am a proud lifetime patron of the Children’s Media Foundation.

M CarringtonSince my earliest days in children’s television 25 years ago, I have always signed up to the philosophy that children deserve quality stories made for them - and just as importantly - told from their perspective.

Back then you could have an idea, raise some money, make a programme and get it transmitted on a television channel. Okay, that may be a somewhat simplistic view of the past, but I think it highlights that the children's media industry is a much more complex one today.

Notwithstanding the economic pressures on funding, my working world is evolving constantly and dramatically through fragmentation of media platforms - from traditional TV to online gaming, from mobile devices to over-the-top platforms. A that's not to mention the frightening speed at which children’s tastes are changing.

The CMF has plans to share valuable research that will allow me and others to explore what those children are thinking and doing. It also provides a forum for like-minded enthusiasts to connect, giving us the opportunity to work together to monitor our industry and to make changes that can benefit the audience.

Throughout the transition to the multi-media world in which we now operate, I’ve always believed and exclaimed, “Content is King!”, but through the CMF, I’ve also come to realise it’s not just about the storytelling; you can’t forget the people who work to create those stories and the mechanisms by which they are able to connect effectively with child audiences, and with the others that impact on their work - parents, the press, academics and policy makers.

Given that great stories always exist somewhere, one way I can see that will ensure I can continue to make the kind of programmes that I want, is through promoting a healthy and strong children’s production and distribution sector. And that’s why I believe in the CMF with its independent overview.

And if you think the CMF is just a place for old stalwarts like me, think again. It’s great for people of all ages and experience, because we all need the wisdom of the past and an understanding of the future. Through the CMF community we can swap ideas between those who, like me, have been around for a while, and the new breed of content makers. Ultimately, change is the only constant – whether it’s the technology or how our industry is organised – so let’s embrace it. We have a job to do to ensure that children continue to have access to great stories and characters that are for them alone. The CMF makes an important contribution to that effort - and I am honoured to be part of it.

Michael Carrington was formerly Controller of CBeebies, Chief Content Officer at Cartoon Network Europe and ran HiT Entertainment's global content division. His last role in the UK was as CEO of The Foundation, a division of Zodiak Media. Having returned to his native Australia in 2016, he became Head of ABC Children's and Education, and is now Director of the Entertainment & Specialist Content division at the Australian public broadcaster.