Our Top Picks for Kidscreen 2018

Our Top Picks for Kidscreen 2018

The 2018 Kidscreen Summit kicks off this week and there’s lots to look forward to. A record number of international delegates are registered this year with broadcasters, writers and producers coming to Miami to meet, greet, forge partnerships and bring their projects to life.

While the networking opportunities are seemingly endless, there’s a conference schedule jam packed with insightful sessions that will get everyone thinking about the year ahead. There’s a raft of panel sessions discussing global trends in children’s TV, master and mentor classes for even the most experienced execs and a huge variety of broadcaster Q&A’s enabling producers to connect in person.

Even if you won’t be in Miami for the conference, Kidscreen can still get you thinking about the year ahead. Looking at the keynote sessions and panel discussions to come, you can see the direction children’s content is heading in 2018. Diversity remains a core theme to be explored in storytelling, while the rise of digital platforms and players such as Netflix and YouTube dominates the distribution strategy discussion.

Here are some of our program highlights from this year’s schedule.

How Open Are Children to Diversity? New learnings from emotion-recognition software

Thursday, February 15, 2018 

Unscripted live-action programming is a highly empowering genre that literally gives children a voice in media. But how much do young children engage with live-action content as viewers, and to what level do they embrace diversity on-screen? This pioneering study set out to answer these questions using facial-recognition software. The cutting-edge technology reveals kids’ emotional reactions to what they’re watching second by second, without the bias of traditional interview methods that are typically used with young viewers. Surprising results came to light, including the discovery that live-action programming supports the development of empathy and emotional intelligence in young viewers more than previously believed.

Creating LGBTQ-inclusive Content for Kids

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 

Kids and family entertainment is arguably the very last part of the entertainment business to include positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters. But the last few years have marked a significant shift, with shows like Doc McStuffinsDanger & EggsThe Loud House and Andi Mack breaking new ground in the depiction of LGBTQ characters and issues. This session will thoughtfully address why this shift is happening, how creators and networks are approaching LGBTQ inclusion, and most importantly, how to keep up the momentum.

Keynote: The Day the Universe Changed

Monday, February 12, 2018 

How 2016/2017 turned Gen Z’s emotional landscape upside down, and the doors it opens for more emotionally relevant media platforms and content. 

For the last 10 years, US research firm The Family Room has been mapping the shifting emotional landscape of Gen Z youth. And for the first eight, these core hopes, fears, dreams and anxieties remained remarkably constant. And then came 2016, which triggered the start of some astonishing shifts in the Passion Points Gen Z kids and teens are most focused on, leading to implications for the kids media industry that cannot be overstated. In this kick-off keynote, TED Talk speaker and Family Room CEO George Carey will track these shifts in Gen Z’s emotional landscape, exploring how they will impact the where, how and what of youth media consumption, and recommending strategies for kids media players to reflect this new reality and elevate the emotional relevance of their properties and platforms with today’s kids and teens.

Helping kids cope with trauma

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 

Traumatic experiences and the stress they cause can disrupt a child’s brain development and increase the risk of both short-term and long-term physical, social and emotional issues. But kids are remarkably resilient, and the effects of trauma can be blunted if they receive comfort and support. This panel poses the question: As media producers, what responsibility do we have to address and create resources to mitigate the impact of traumatic experiences on young children? 

Marketing to Boys and Girls: New research from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Monday, February 12, 2018 

Kidscreen Summit welcomes the return of actor Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media. Davis delivered Kidscreen Summit’s 2016 keynote about gender and diversity in the content development process. The Oscar-winner is returning to Miami to unveil new research from her organization that focuses on how products are being marketed to boys and girls through the use of brand mascots.

In Conversation with Melissa Cobb: Netflix VP of Kids & Family

Monday, February 12, 2018 

Melissa Cobb joined Netflix as the company’s first VP of kids and family last September, signaling an even larger commitment to the genre by the SVOD giant. Now that she’s settled into her role as leader of Netflix's kids and family content team, Melissa will discuss some of her plans to further expand the platform's offering of animated and live-action series, event programming and films for this audience. She'll also share how her past experience working in feature films impacts her approach to creating content that entertains kids and families the world over.

Closing Keynote: Kids of the World - the impact of fast-paced global change on kids right now

Thursday, February 15, 2018 

Viacom Global Consumer Insights SVP Christian Kurz is unveiling the results of the international media company's exciting new Kids of the World study at Kidscreen Summit. Viacom, home of renowned kidsnet Nickelodeon,  surveyed roughly 6,000 six- to 11-year-olds from 31 countries, delving into how our fast-paced and ever-changing world is shaping kids’ attitudes, experiences and behaviors. Speaking directly to kids, not their parents and caregivers, the study reflects their unvarnished perspectives and voices. What’s emerging is a portrait of a group of fearless kids that’s growing up aware of uncertainty and change, but ready to embrace the countless possibilities ahead of them. Now it’s up to you to figure out how to entertain them.