Reed MIDEM’s Lucy Smith tells TV Kids about some of the highlights delegates can expect at MIPJunior this year.
The overarching theme of the conference agenda at MIPJunior—set for October 13 to 14 at the JW Marriott—is “Small World, Big Money.” Across the two jam-packed days of sessions, delegates will hear from industry experts about how they are facing the disruption that is taking place across the business, with an emphasis on the fact that high-quality content, at a time when kids have so many entertainment options, has never been more critical.
“The kids’ industry has a lot of the same challenges as the rest of the industry with VOD viewing on the increase, especially free VOD on YouTube,” says Lucy Smith, the director of MIPJunior at Reed MIDEM. “But it’s important to underline that kids’ TV is still hugely important and kids and parents still see the television as their first screen. It feels like it’s increasingly more important to talk about finding strong and innovative content with the right curator, be it TV or SVOD.”
There will be a wealth of new shows introduced at the event, with two World Premiere Screenings on the agenda. The latest to be announced will take place on Sunday. Hailing from Andrew Davenport, the creator of In the Night Garden and co-creator of Teletubbies, Moon and Me is set to air on CBeebies in the U.K. and Universal Kids in the U.S. Davenport will participate in a Q&A session after the screening. The Saturday World Premiere is Cyber Group Studios’ Gigantosaurus, a book-based preschool series launching on Disney Junior worldwide in 2019, with other partners that include France Télévisions, Super RTL and Netflix.
“There have never been so many creators attending the show, and that’s new,” Smith notes. “The message is that creators are in demand more than ever and at the heart of our growing industry!”
Leading creatives will take part in The Creators’ Superpanel on Saturday morning, presented in association with World Screen. Jonathan M. Shiff (H2O: Just Add Water), Tom McGillis (Total Drama franchise), Ben Bocquelet (The Amazing World of Gumball) and Angela Santomero (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) will weigh in on the creative process before each being presented with a World Screen Kids Trendsetter Award. Other creatives set to speak at MIPJunior include Summer Camp Island’s Julia Pott and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Ant Ward and Andy Suriano.
“We’ll also have presentations of new content from producers from the extremely dynamic markets of Korea and Russia,” Smith adds. “And of course that is on top of the huge quantity of diverse content being presented in the world’s biggest screenings library.”
Another highlight is Saturday afternoon’s View from the Top: Gazing into the Future of Kids’ Media session, which will feature Nickelodeon’s Jules Borkent, Turner’s Adina Pitt, Universal Kids’ Karen Miller and BBC’s Jackie Edwards making predictions about the future of the industry and taking questions from the audience. Also on Saturday, delegates will hear about the state of public broadcasting for kids. “There’s a big debate in France right now about the move of the kids’ content from France 4 onto a digital platform in 2020,” Smith says. “We’re putting together a superpanel focusing on the future of public-service broadcasting. France Télévisions will take part in the session. And we’ll have Alice Webb from the BBC and Luca Milano from RAI, who is also the president of the EBU’s TV Children and Youth Experts Group, which represents 77 pubcasters.”
Also on the agenda: a keynote address by DreamWorks Animation Television’s Margie Cohn, sessions on viewing trends and OTT financing models, and a “tech for kids” round-up, which Smith says “will look at AI, VR and gaming.”
Smith also stresses the role MIPJunior can play for aspiring producers. “We can offer attendees the opportunity to get their projects out in front of commissioners and potential investors and partners. We have two pitch competitions, for projects and IPs, as well as matchmaking. Lots of different commissioning editors and broadcasters [as well as content companies] are confirmed to be part of these,” including Disney, ZDF, WeKids, RAI, NRK, Turner, Beano Studios, Hasbro, Super RTL and more. “We have a great lineup of partners willing to offer their time to meet with producers and look at their new projects, which is an important highlight at MIPJunior.”