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CMC: Final session, Goodbye Sheffield!

(Aryann Cuda) Sadly, today was the final day of The Children’s Media Conference. However, before we packed our bags to head back to London, I was able to attend one last research session. In “Research 1, 2 & 3,” three different presenters discussed their research relating to efficient IP launch strategies, the future of live television for children, and the trouble with in-app purchasing.

The first presenters, Nicki Karet from Sherbert Research and Peter Robinson from Dubit, gave an outstanding presentation on the lessons media professionals can learn from kid’s media habits in 2014. They explained how more children are watching online videos or playing digital games every day through peer recommendations and word-of-mouth. For this reason, Karet and Robinson advise that it is indubitably important for platforms to make share-ability explicit. I appreciated their emphasis on describing the experience that kids are looking for in a new mobile application or game, most specifically the “exclusivity” and “popularity” components.  I feel as if it is extremely important for brands to recognize that children, ages nine to twelve, want to feel as if a brand choses them, and that their platform provides an opportunity to gain “likes,” and an substantial following. This is a trend that I have personally recognized in social media in the past few months. I am certainly interested in conducting more research pertaining to the way children are changing the environments on social media applications such as Instagram and SnapChat.

Next, Peter Maginn from Illuminas and Maddalena Piras from Children’s and Learning, BBC, presented their research on children’s television viewing behavior. They pointed out that children still enjoy watching live television, with DVR and On-Demand services trailing behind. They also discussed the importance of familiarity, as 78% of children tend to tune into programs that they have already watched and enjoyed. To finish this section, Maginn and Piras predicted that connected televisions, radical changes to EPG, and the rise of other key players in the marketplace will have a serious impact on the future audience demographics of live children’s television.

Nearing the end of the research session, Dr. Lynn Whitaker from the University of Glasglow addressed the issue of in-app purchases in children’s games. Dr. Whitaker insisted that the in-app purchasing model is not going to disappear so media professionals must learn how to manage it. She explained that from her research of complaints regarding children spending money on applications, parents do not seem to object paying for content, but they do worry whether their children are being exposed to addictive content. In the Q&A session following the presentation I questioned whether application platforms would discontinue the practice of requiring credit card information to sign-up for a service, to prevent situations where children spend large amounts of money on digital “gold coins.” Dr. Whitaker firmly believed that that situation would not appear in the future simply because content creators and application brands need to make a profit from a “free-app” in one way or another.

All in all, I enjoyed the research sessions of CMC most because they gave insight on current trends and predicted the future landscape of children’s media.
Cheers Sheffield, Aryann.

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