PRESS RELEASE: Release date 24 July 2006
OFCOM FOOD BAN PROPOSALS DOMINATE SHOWCOMOTION
SHOWCOMOTION CHILDREN?S MEDIA CONFERENCE
7 & 8 JULY 2006 SHOWROOM CINEMA, SHEFFIELD UK
This year?s Showcomotion Children's Media Conference came to a close with delegates up in arms about the impact of the Ofcom food ban proposals on the future of the UK kids? media industry.
Anna Home OBE, CEO of the Children?s Film & Television Foundation, and Conference Chair said:
"Over 300 delegates and speakers made their way to Sheffield for the 3rd Showcomotion Children?s Media Conference. That?s an impressive mandate and, at the final conference session, delegates asked me to write to the Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, and also Ofcom, to outline our concerns. It was also agreed that interested delegates and members of the Showcomotion Children's Media Conference Advisory Committee would meet to progress a campaign to save UK produced quality children's television.?
The Showcomotion Children?s Media Conference is the premier conference in the UK dedicated to children?s television, film, radio and interactive media. Inevitably, the conference weekend was dominated by the debate over Ofcom's proposed restrictions on advertising food to kids. The sale or closure of Granada Kids by ITV had been announced just before the conference and this was seen by many delegates as the first 'fall-out' from the impending ban. The Ofcom proposals sparked impassioned discussion in many sessions with delegates arguing that the regulator should stop passing the childhood obesity ?buck? to the media industry.
The conference opionion was that, while commercial broadcasters, the indie sector and distributors all stand to be affected by a ban, the biggest losers will be children themselves as high quality UK-centred programmes will be cut back. A new sense of realism also gripped the conference as delegates explored the potential for new commissioners of kids' content to emerge and sought new approaches to funding.
The conference took place during the 8th Showcomotion Young People?s Film Festival. The conference is grateful to this year's Foundation Sponsors: Cartoon Network; BBC Children's; CITV; Disney; GMTV & Nickelodeon.
For further information contact Kathy Loizou, Showcomotion Kathy@showcomotion.org.uk
Images available, photocalls can be organised on request: 0114 276 3534
- Letter to Tessa Jowell MP below
- Full list of speakers and sessions is available here: http://www.showcomotionconference.com/agenda/
12 July 2006
Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP
Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport
Department for Culture Media & Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH
Dear Ms Jowell
I write in my capacity as chair of the Showcomotion Children?s Media Conference held in Sheffield last weekend.
An audience of over 300 people from all areas of children?s media expressed great concern at the current situation involving proposed changes to television advertising to children and the subsequent effect on programme funding. They saw the demise of the production arm of CITV, Granada Kids, as symptomatic of the precarious future of ITV?s commitment to children?s content on ITV1 ? a network with a proud record of quality programming from Worzel Gummidge to My Parents Are Aliens.
There appears to be a real and growing threat to the provision of original kids? content made in the UK for commercial channels. The BBC is a great provider but it should not be the only provider. The dedicated children?s channels such as Disney and Nickelodeon are presently unable to fill the gap left by a significant reduction in terrestrial funding.
If funding children?s content is no longer viable through advertising, another solution has to be found. If not, a highly creative industry, admired world-wide may wither and die and the experience our children have enjoyed for fifty years based in their own culture and traditions may be severely eroded.
The delegates at Showcomotion wished to raise this issue and initiate a public debate about the future and worth of media dedicated to children and young people.
They felt that, in the drive to prevent the continued advertising of high fat, salt, and sugar foods, parents and the country at large are unaware of the long-term implications for the cultural heritage of Britain?s children. Whilst our industry does not wish to condone the promotion of a bad diet for the country?s children, it equally cannot stand by and allow children?s rich imaginative and cultural diet to be eroded. Quality indigenous children?s media needs your support at this critical time.
Anna Home OBE
Chair Showcomotion Children?s Media Conference
cc Ofcom: Stephen Carter; Content Board; & Consumer Panel
Young People's Media Network - Coordinator
c/o ECMC (European Centre for Media Competence)
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