TV Kids Festival Preview


As physical events triumphantly returned in 2022, we wondered about the health and viability of our own virtual festivals. As a team, we had to sit down and think about the role these events, which we started as a new way to stay in touch with the content community at a time when travel was a nightmare, would serve now that everyone was ready, and eager, to get back on a plane.

Our view—backed by the fantastic feedback we received throughout 2022—is that our online, on-demand virtual conferences are a brilliant complement to, rather than a substitute for, in-person gatherings. Nothing can quite replace the spark of pitching face-to-face or making a new connection. But good luck getting this much fantastic intel that is easily digestible and available on your schedule—all free of charge—at any of the many children’s content events we’ll be convening at this year.

Across four jam-packed days beginning February 7, with almost 40 speakers and 20 sessions, we’ve tapped some of the biggest and best names in children’s media to offer their valuable advice and lessons learned in navigating a sector that, like kids themselves, won’t stay still. Whether you need to know what top buyers are looking for or are seeking advice on windowing and funding strategies or are eager to hear from top-notch creators about how to give kids entertainment, with a side of nourishment, we have you covered.

If you haven’t already done so, register to attend here, and check out the full schedule and speaker biographies in our festival agenda.

We open the festival on Tuesday with our signature buyers panel, assembling some of the leading programmers in the children’s media business: Sky Kids’ Lucy Murphy, TFO’s Marianne Lambert, Paramount UK & Ireland’s Louise Bucknole and Future Today’s David Di Lorenzo. Next up, Traci Paige Johnson and Jennifer Twomey take delegates behind the scenes of the hit DreamWorks Animation series Gabby’s Dollhouse. At noon EST, Richard Dickson, the president and COO of the toy giant Mattel, will discuss the crucial role IP plays in the company’s overall brand-building strategies. In our Making Sense of YouTube panel, Entertainment One’s Yannick Ferrero,’s David B. Williams, Cloudco’s Sean Gorman and Genius Brands International’s Paul Robinson will discuss how free video platforms factor into their brand and content-development strategies. We close the day with a keynote from Chris Nee, the creator of Doc McStuffins, who now has a slate of projects at Netflix, including Ada Twist, Scientist.

On Wednesday, February 8, our opening panel spotlights the kids’ content sectors in the U.K. and Ireland with Jetpack Distribution’s Dominic Gardiner, Serious Kids’ Genevieve Dexter, Monster Entertainment’s Andrew Fitzpatrick, Magic Light Pictures’ Muriel Thomas and Sixteen South’s Colin Williams. Our lineup of high-level executive keynotes includes 9 Story Media Group’s Vince Commisso and The Jim Henson Company’s Halle Stanford before Kevin and Dan Hageman join the event to take delegates behind the scenes of Star Trek: Prodigy. The day’s last panel explores the crafting of development slates with Sesame Workshop’s Kay Wilson Stallings, Nelvana’s Athena Georgaklis, Cyber Group Studios’ Ira Singerman and Boat Rocker’s Shaleen Sangha.

Benoît Di Sabatino, the CEO of Banijay Kids & Family, will articulate his growth strategy for the company in the opening keynote on Thursday. Our first panel of the day takes a deep dive into financing mechanisms with CAKE’s Ed Galton, Guru Studio’s Frank Falcone, DeAPlaneta Entertainment’s Carlos Biern and Big Bad Boo Studios’ Shabnam Rezaei. At noon, we’re delighted to welcome Eric Ellenbogen, vice chair and CEO of WildBrain, back to the festival as a keynote speaker. Later, creator Julie Kalceff and producer Kirsty Stark will share how the Australian live-action series First Day is breaking barriers in its representation of transgender kids.

On the last day of the festival, we’re thrilled to be honoring Francesca Newington with the TV Kids Pioneer Award for her savvy programming decisions at the Narrative Entertainment-owned POP Channels. She’ll articulate her acquisitions approach in the day’s opening keynote address. In the Smarter Kids panel, Dandelooo’s Emmanuèle Pétry-Sirvin, Toonz Media Group’s Bruno Zarka and The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company’s Kenn Viselman will deliver valuable insights on successfully incorporating curricula and important social themes in kids’ content. Then, Kidoodle.TV’s Brenda Bisner will reveal what’s driving the platform’s usage gains across multiple markets and platforms. The festival wraps with a creative keynote by former The Wiggles star Emma Watkins, who is now working on a new series, Emma Memma: Sing. Dance. Sign.