Saturday, November 18, 2006

BUSY BOY, BUSY WEEK


THE LADY FROM THE BBC, SHE SAY YES!!!

Beginning of the week saw me at Darlington Football Club on monday and tuesday, inspiring teenagers and school leavers (hopefully) to work in creative industries. The event's key note speaker was "TV'S KIRSTEN O'BRIEN" as she is known in the showbiz world. Smashing job she did too and as you can see she's returned to the BBC as a bonafide fan of the patchwork cat.

BRADFORD ANIMATION FESTIVAL

Wednesday and Thursday I was in Bradford doing workshop on character design. Many thanks to all the lovely guys and gals who attended the workshop - I can only apologise if I at any time wandered off topic, as I'd only had three hours sleep with a crying Scarlett the night before. Got to hold portfolio reviews afterwards which ended up lasting longer than the 2 1/2 hour workshop, but I didn't mind as the whole thing was great. Got to meet some lovely people including the divine Joanna Quinn, whose Oscar nominated films and Charmin ads from th telly are always a delight. I'm also possibly going to be doing some appearances at NEWI college in Wales (hi Jim!). Also a big hello to the lovely Kerry from Aardman! And thanks to all those other folk who stopped or hunted me down (Fin, I'm looking at you) to chat :-)

OFCOM IN THE NEWS

Saddened to see that OFCOM have banned certain foodstuffs being advertised within childrens TV in the UK. Whereas they SHOULD be going after the government to clamp down on fast food companies and what they're putting in their products, instead they're victimising us, tv programme producers. The result of this lost revenue means that homegrown British programming will disappear from commercial TV stations in the UK, and instead the channels will be swamped with imported foreign shows. In my opinion this will lead to poorer quality television for kids in the UK, a great shame when you consider British Children's TV History.

32 comments:

gina said...

yay! You'll be coming to NEWI? That's my college.:)

Thanks for the lovely workshop and advice. I'll be posting my summary of Bradford on my blog soon

gina said...

My write up of Bradford is here if you're interested.

http://ginasketch.livejournal.com/55417.html

Thank you once again for your help and advice..it was nice meeting you!

Niel Bushnell said...

You bribed that weoman with a free book didn't you? Admit it, its a PR sham!!

Not too sure on the whole ad ban thning - it will still be ok to show them in daytime shows that are adult biased. Considering its us adults who actually buy the stuff I don't see how a ban on childrens shows will help when most of their parents buy the stuff for them anyway? (I'm no angel by the way, I can be as bad as the next parent when the mood takes me!)

Cassie said...

The advert ban does seem to be a bit of a panic measure & I can certainly see it affecting cartoon channels the most. my four year old is definately swayed by adverts though, they are very powerful. However it is parents responsibility to oversee our kids diets.

Anonymous said...

Busy week! Always too scared to go to a portfolio review, hope you were kind.
Never thought about how the ad money would affect the programmes.
Ads are generally, agressively, aimed at kids, then they pester parents - I really hate the ad that looks like the family are off for a day out with the kid saying 'are we there yet' over and over, only to find out he's been desperate to get to KFC.

Jo Bling said...

As a parent I TOTALLY understand the power of adverts over my children, but have to say that the government (read: nanny state) has got it wrong. It's down to parents not the broadcaster to edit what their children watch, and if there's a problem regarding what nastiness there is within whatever foodstuff is being promoted, then the government should, for once, get things right and apply pressure to the food manufacturer instead of penalising honest production companies and broadcasters.

I know this is quite ranty for me and my usual silly posts, but this could honestly signal the deathknell of a great deal of UK kids TV. We're going to be left with the BBC as the only avenue of distribution terrestrially, and they're between a rock and a hard place with funding already!

Anonymous said...

May be a rant, but it's a fair point. I'd like to see products and the method of advertising regulated (cos the people behind them rarely seem to self regulate) somehow rather than just banning them. After that it's parental responsibility. Typically the government seem to be going for the softer option rather than go head to head with big companies.

Goobeetsablog said...

looks like you are busy.
always good.

I. N. J. Culbard said...

Nanny state, police state, a right state.

OFCOM still won't stop parents feeding their children chips through school gates. I look at this slightly differently. I'm personally for the ban on advertising 'foodstuffs' during kids shows. If it takes two birds with one stone, so be it (I personally don't believe it will). For the betterment of all our futures.

As for funding for shows, all I can say there is keep paying you TV license.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

Oh you jammy git,I have a thing for Kirsten O'Brien, her being a Boro lass and all !! Next time your meeting tooty birds invite me along to carry you bags etc... I'm depressed now :(

Jo Bling said...

TV licence only goes to the Beeb so it means a wealth of animation and broadcasting tradition from the independants that'll disappear into dust. This isn't an overexaggeration - this is how independant broadcasters get their funding so it'll be kaput for any commissions henceforth. And besides, the Beeb have their own pressures to handle within funding through each of their divisions.

I don't see a problem with foodstuffs within shows, so long as the government go after the right target, ie: maufacturers rather than broadcasters. This is shortsighted in the extreme.

Quite simply the loss of revenue to broadcasters means loss of funding for kids tv programmes. The government are going for soft target of kids tv, rather than go after the food companies (who attract kids to their websites, offering games etc, anyway) to try and improve the quality of the foods they produce and market.

The Kids tv industry are not out to promote unhealthy eating! Current campaign is to try and save indigenous kids tv production in the UK and try to preserve the rich cultural heritage that UK output has maintained over the last 60 years. Sadly, this will all be to no avail now...

Jo Bling said...

On t'other points....

Gina - thanks for calling by, was lovely to meet you and your chums @ Bradford. Look forward to catching up with you and your film's progress when I make it to NEWI

Bushy & Glazey - there was no bribing of Kirsten O'Brien I assure you. That said, I can promise you that she'd be easily swayed by the offer of a Parmo (if you're reading this Kirsten, deny it if you dare!) ;-)

Paul - I was honest and constructive with the reviews (I hope) as that's just what you need when you're at art college as I recall. I had a torrid time with one lecturer who was both critical AND destructive. Not a nice combo...

Nik said...

Deep Breath...


Yes, have to say I watched with a heavy heart last week when it was announced there would be a ban on kids ads. Agree with every point made, especially regarding the responsibility of parents in these matters and the terrible effect this will have on UK kids TV industry.

Sweeping Generalsation number one- every obese child I see they are usually acompanied by at least one, if not both, obese parents. I have a feelin it's not so much a diet of Coco Pops to blame here, rather a diet of Kebabs and chips, which receive no advertising whatsoever as far as I see.

Sweeping generalisation number two- When I do see overweiht families, it is never at the park, at the beach or yomping through the beautiful yorkshire countryside. Perhaps if these families pursued a bit of good old fashined fresh air Tony the Tiger would be able to afford that retirement villa in marbella after all.

I was quite anoyed also by the way the whole thing was reported. No mention was made to the bigger picture of the effects this would have on the creative aspect of the industry, rather a grand sweeping gesture was made with regards to a loss of income for all the fat cats at the heads of Kids TV channels(Top of the list was Disney, who don't actually have advertising, but also don't show any homegrown shows.) who sit atop there piles of gold and laugh at the fat children they have created,or something to that effect.

Nik said...

And another Thing!
(Boy, I'm grumpy this morning, must be all those Pop Tarts in Custard I had for breakfast. Damn you Kids TV advertising!)

Curtis, so happy to hear about the Darlington thing. All too often I feel that the creative industries are ignored as a posible career path. The 'Arts' tends to get lumped in with sports for some reason, and get a little forgotten about. Great to see that the more commercal aspects of a creative future is being offered to people, I remember when I was at School and College there was very little in te way of guidance on exploiting art as a career tool, and 'design' involved making bird houses and coat hooks.
Good show!

gina said...

I look forward to your NEWI visit!:)

In the meantime...how am I doing professor wise?:)

http://ginasketch.livejournal.com/55974.html

http://ginasketch.livejournal.com/55770.html

apart from the fact that some of my friends think his nose looks like a rude appendege.:P

I. N. J. Culbard said...

"Sadly, this will all be to no avail now..."

It's a ban on food commercials (not all food commercials, simply those with high salt and fat content, junk food essentially).

TV commercials are being mooted to be on their way out. In fact this is increasingly the case. Already we have the capabilities to record shows without commercials (Sky+ does that doesn't it?), and companies are looking for other avenues to advertise their products such as the internet and your mobile phone. Shows will be therefore funded by sponsors (much as you get at the start of Coronation street). And this will likely in the wake of this be either toy companies or companies promoting 'healthier food stuffs' like breakfast cereals for breakfast tv shows and the like (just two examples).

The important point to remember is this. The entire advertising industry is experiencing change.

Jo Bling said...

Ian, that loss of revenue from the programmes mentioned (high fat, salt and sugar food advertising). That loss of revenue to broadcasters means loss of funding for kids tv programmes as broadcasters have said all along that this genre/audience will be the first to lose funding. Generally, kids tv pulls in fewer viewers than adult tv, so broadcasters are looking to shift kids blocks off main channels. ITV will be happy to do this, sadly.

TV commercials might be mooted to be on their way out, but that's not been the case with kids tv. That's one market which is especially reliant on advertising. You'd never get a sponsor for a kids show, such is the funding structure on budgets and requirement for foreign broadcasters.

Now that OFCOM and ITV have got their way (ITV having already ceased commissions and now simply having their new CITV digital channel) this leaves the BBC with a monopoly on mainstream kids tv in the UK, again something that isn't healthy.

It's hard enough to get shows funded now, as we found out with FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT, and this will be the nail in the coffin. Fact is that future generations of kids will have a diet of mostly imported shows – do you want your kids to grow up with an American accent?

Jo Bling said...

Nik - the Darlington Creative Partnerships appearances last week were great, albeit slightly daunting compared to my usual gigs. I'm used to working with primary aged pupils rather than bolshy teenagers, but it seemed to go well. I'd have killed to have someone from "media" come visit us at school when I was a kid, but that was a different world and we were never encouraged to pursue careers in such a vague and woolly field.

Gina - best of luck! :-)

I. N. J. Culbard said...

Did I mention how good the SW prequels are?

Andrew Glazebrook said...

CULBARD !!!!!!! Another 3 months of councelling down the drain !!!!!

Jo Bling said...

:-D Did I miss some posts from Glazey that were ranty and he binned them??? I'm guessing yes if INJun has brought up SW again!!! :-D

I. N. J. Culbard said...

"Now that OFCOM and ITV have got their way (ITV having already ceased commissions and now simply having their new CITV digital channel) this leaves the BBC with a monopoly on mainstream kids tv in the UK, again something that isn't healthy."

But this happened before the fatty salty food clamp down by OFCOM. This happened back in June. What's to blame there is ITV's want to replace the slot on ITV1 with adult-orientated programming. As a result it no longer commissions childrens tv programming, showing more of the real agenda here I think. Isn't it more the case, if you couple that with mooted shift to 'no advertising', that OFCOM's clamp down is really just hot air?

Jo Bling said...

INJun, you and I have chatted on email about this, and as I said there this issue has been around for ages as you mentioned. I've been involved in trying to stop OFCOM's proposals for a while, via debate with other industry bods. It's only ever in the news after the fact, sadly, as was the case when it hit the front pages last week.

ITV said they weren't commissioning kids anymore already before this as I already mentioned, so that's no news. THIS action will however hit FIVE, C4, S4C and all other terrestrials. As Sat channels don't really commission without international backing from their sister stations it leaves things in a very sad state for programme makers.

Best keep knocking on the BBC's door, but bear in mind they only commission one new animated show a year. That's an awful lot of animation companies who might go to the wall.

RANT OVER - I promise to post something cheery in future!

:-)

I. N. J. Culbard said...

What is the annual commission out put of FIVE, C4, S4C?

Jo Bling said...

Can't tell you exact figures, but FIVE in particular have commissioned LOADS of stuff recently and are a channel who certainly champion preschool. Look at their listings for a who's who of top kids TV - POCOYO, PEPPA PIG off top of head. Not sure about Four, they might not be relevant but S4C commission shows so long as there's a Welsh Language version too. I might be wrong but I think they might be picking up a Welsh Language Franks Cat.

Anyway, we're probably boring our colonial cousins with this thread now ;-) Let's talk about something happy, pink and fluffy!

CANDYFLOSS!

Andrew Glazebrook said...

They weren't my posts that got deleted,it may have been double posts ?!

I. N. J. Culbard said...

I don't think S4C is also relevant since its the most heavily government subsidised network there in the world (at £85m per annum). And I can't remember when there was a commissioning round for kids telly from Channel 4(I suspect they're not relevant too). So really we're just looking at Five and the BBC now :(

the sorry state of affairs is that we funded our shows with junk food in the first place.

Jo Bling said...

"the sorry state of affairs is that we funded our shows with junk food in the first place."

Brother you is preaching to the choir. That's where we're at now so we have to find a way forward. I'm going to stick to pitching feature ideas in future... ;-)

dragonhead said...

That's horrible about the ban on foodstuffs. :/

Good job on the encouraging kids to go into the arts. :D

Anonymous said...

That is awesome, glad you are out there inspiring people to be creative. REally love that! Sounds totally busy, but very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Hi Curtis,
Twas good to meet up at the Bradford Exposition of Projected Moving Things at the recently rebranded National Media Museum. You gave me food for thought. Speaking of which..

Good ol' Kirst and her parmos! They are a delicacy of the north-east (particularly Thornaby). She has been trained well.

On the other topic, maybe we should have invented a DVD full of 30 second animations that parents can put on in the commercial breaks. It could have had government funding! That would have worked. Ah well. Bolt horse bolted springs to mind.

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