AVOD, SVOD, FAST channels, podcasting, games, live experiences, toys, books—there’s an endless array of mediums for IP owners to play with as they look to foster meaningful connections with kids across the globe. Making sense of this landscape while also concerning yourself with delivering safe, uplifting content that speaks to young ones of all backgrounds and abilities is no easy feat. The second edition of the TV Kids Summer Festival aimed to make that process just a tad easier by serving up a wealth of insightful, relevant keynotes and panels from June 7 to 10.
Missed any of the sessions live? You can access the entire festival on-demand here: TVKidsSummerFestival.com.
As has become a tradition for our virtual kids’ summits, we kicked off the event last week with an engaging panel discussion featuring four amazing programmers (all female!) in the Buying Savvy session, in which Paramount’s Layla Lewis, POP Channels’ Francesca Newington, Sensical’s Bethany Boles and De Agostini Editore’s Brenda Maffuchi shared their acquisition wish lists and discussed increasingly complex rights negotiations. Next, another powerhouse female executive in the kids’ business, Amy Friedman, the head of kids and family programming at Warner Bros., highlighted the success of the Cartoonito block, the expanded live-action slate and the importance of co-viewing for the portfolio she oversees. Katharina Pietzsch, director in ZDF Studios’ junior department, highlighted the strengths of the company’s live-action slate for tweens and teens. The afternoon agenda began with Meeting the Metaverse, in which Dubit’s David Kleeman brilliantly outlined how IP owners can extend their brands into the metaverse before engaging in an illuminating conversation with WildBrain’s Anne Loi on how that indie giant is exploring this new landscape. We ended the day with Ed Wells and Kay Wilson Stallings showcasing Sesame Workshop’s expanding slate and its focus on diversity and inclusion.
Day two of the TV Kids Summer Festival opened with a lively discussion in the Where’s the Money panel, as Serious Kids’ Genevieve Dexter, Cyber Group Studios’ Raphaëlle Mathieu, MIAM! animation’s Hanna Mouchez and Monster Entertainment’s Andrew Fitzpatrick shared their perspectives on how financing models are evolving. Viewers then heard from industry veteran Patricia Hidalgo about how she is guiding the BBC’s beloved children’s and education initiatives and the value of public-service media for kids. Continuing the theme of impactful content for children (and powerhouse female executives in this business), Halle Stanford defined The Jim Henson Company’s “hope punk” approach to content development and its emphasis on “transformative television.” Viewers were then treated to a fantastic keynote conversation with Bruce W. Smith, creator of the beloved The Proud Family and its recent Disney+ revival. The day’s events wrapped with Nelvana’s Pam Westman (did I mention a theme here?) on the company’s approach to developing and sourcing content and mining its extensive library of premium IP.
We opened the third day of the TV Kids Summer Festival with the Window Watching session, a super fun and informative conversation between Jetpack Distribution’s Dominic Gardiner, WildBrain’s Caroline Tyre and Guru Studio’s Jonathan Abraham on how best to manage distribution strategies on an IP. The executives noted that free-to-air outlets are still vital, a theme reinforced by Thorsten Braun as he showcased Super RTL’s continued success as a commercial kids’ broadcaster in Germany and highlighted its evolution from a linear platform to a multiplatform one. We then honored Jules Borkent for his many contributions to the business with a TV Kids Pioneer Award. Borkent accepted the honor after telling TV Kids Summer Festival delegates about his evolving programming remit at Nickelodeon and Paramount+. Next up, Gaumont’s Nicolas Atlanshowcased the storied French studio’s approach to crafting kids’ and family titles and its emphasis on aligning with top-notch talent. As the conference agenda wrapped, we put our focus on Latin America, with Nickelodeon Latin America’s Migdalis Silva and Grupo Globo’s Luiz Filipe Figueira discussing how they are evolving their strategies to meet their audiences wherever they are.
The TV Kids Summer Festival naturally closed with a spotlight on some of the great content and services available in the market; don’t miss the screenings of Gaumont’s Bionix Max, The Jim Henson Company’s Word Party, Guru Studio’s Big Blue and Sesame Workshop’s Sesame Street Mecha Builders, plus sizzle reels from ZDF Studios, Future Today’s HappyKids and Dandelooo.