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ARTICLES: Children and Families, Media and Play: The Five Minute Futurist

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

At last week's Children's Media Conference in Sheffield, England, I was asked to play the "five minute futurist" - to project ten coming trends or developments for children and families (this being the 10th annual CMC, everything was "top tens"). The night before the panel, I told someone my role and he said, "ten years ago, would you have predicted the iPad?" So, no pressure.

Television: You Down with O.T.T.?

The coming years will look like the late '90s TV "gold rush," when companies staked out channel space in the expanding multi-channel universe. This time, though, the prospectors will mine distinctive content that can woo audiences in the "over the top" TV market.

Traditional TV talks about "cord cutters"; the new players prefer "broadband only." Both could agree and call them "parents." Families are heavy early adopters of OTT, because kids don't care where it comes from; they want what they want, when they want it and as often as they want. Families will pay for that certainty, plus no advertising.

I predict (and hope) that competition for unique content will lead program buyers to shows that can't find a home on TV (say, entries to the PRIX JEUNESSE international children's TV festival). These shows could draw "long tail" audiences to digital libraries that have unlimited "shelf space."

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