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Kidscreen 2014: It’s a Buyer’s Market for Multiple-Episode Consumption

Brand-conscious networks are focusing more development attention on binge-watching audiences.

Kidscreen gets more and more exciting every year for attendees with something to sell. The boom in digital content development has increased the number of industry buyers. Last year’s Kidscreen spotlighted this. Attendees heard first hand what each Broadcast or Digital Network was looking for as they matched the names they had been reading on @CynopsisMedia or @deadlineTV with their live human counterparts.

This year’s theme, reinforced by cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken’s Keynote speech, focused on HOW we and our kids watch content and how this trend is affecting the way makers make shows.  McCracken worked specifically with Netflix to investigate the trend of binge-watching (or “marathoning”, as is the preferred Network term).  He stated in a PR Newswire piece in December, "TV viewers are no longer zoning out as a way to forget about their day, they are tuning in, on their own schedule, to a different world.  Getting immersed in multiple episodes or even multiple seasons of a show over a few weeks is a new kind of escapism that is especially welcomed today."  Content from here on out must, from inception, be designed for multi-episode consumption.

Networks are more brand-conscious than ever. Because the content offering is sortable in a variety of ways, by category or by actor, for example, and not automatically grouped by Network or Distributor, kids have a harder time matching a property with its owner.  This means having a clear and consistent brand identity is crucially important.  From the various podiums and panels, our media executives disclosed a common mission:  What is it about us that kids find uniquely funny and how can we make them want more?

While networks fine-tune this new, unavoidable directive in an increasingly competitive race, potential content-providers are in a unique spot.  Networks are more open than ever to receiving pitches even at very early development stages.  You may have the next binge-era SpongeBob, as was repeated over and over this year.  Get to know each network’s offerings on as many platforms as possible and do your best to distill the essence of the company.  Study their hits.  Look at the most current offerings.  Then sell yourself, not just your property, as a valuable partner in helping to guide these great companies into this new multi-platform, binge-watching era. 

Perhaps the greatest annual Kidscreen offering is designed specifically to aid you in this charge and its yours for the taking:  the Global Pitch Guide is online in PDF form and details not just what each executive team is seeking, but also contact information.

What else do you need to create a hit?

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Linda Beck is a Development Scout and Line Producer for Nickelodeon in NYC.  You can find her on twitter @lindajbeck

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