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Interviews

INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER SKALA

18 Dec - 2019

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To learn more about innovative preschool LM interviewed Christopher Skala, Digital Content Expert for Kids

As the television program scenario is changing, the concept of preschool television is also changing dramatically. Let’s see how.

Today, a television producer cannot underestimate anymore the need for a new approach through preschool contents. The new mantra to take in mind could be INCLUSION & DIVERSITY, RELATIVES RELATIONSHIPS and EMOTIONAL NARRATIVE.

Then, on the platform front, it’s crucial to coordinate the use of the television tool along with YouTube and all the digital platforms in general. Finally, Licensing is a big part of preschool property development. We can also say that it can be widely developed at the stage a property already has broad cross-platform coverage and even before going on TV – given that TV is no longer the end but one of the means, albeit the most important one – for its conveyance.

Which is your idea of Innovative Preschool in terms of contents?

My belief is that innovative content as such is content that recognizes and utilizes the qualitative differences in how consumers react to – and appreciate – content on different platforms. What works on a linear platform is qualitatively different from what works on a Youtube platform. When this first became apparent as a phenomenon, my colleagues in linear content production could not have been more dismissive; in fact, they pointed to it as a perfect example of why youtube had to be dismissed and/or ignored. What I saw, in contrast, was a perfect example of content that could only work on YouTube and exemplified YouTube’s virtues – content devoted to Passion and Audience Energy.

Which are the most important platforms for the pre-school audience?

Youtube, obviously. Linear will continue to be of importance only as long as parents remember their own childhoods shaped by Disney or CBeebies. Once that generation has moved on to middle-age, my belief is that linear platforms as currently constituted will die away. It will be interesting to see how Disney’s + non-linear and Netflix model will fare. It should be born in mind that whilst Netflix is non-linear, it replicates the same values with respect to content as traditional linear TV.

Today, which are, according to you, the most important ingredients for a successful preschool content?

It really depends on where the content producer decides to aim on their creation. Digital? Linear, including SVOD? Now, there is no longer any single answer. The platitude of “engaging characters lovingly created” has become so meaningless. If a content creator is aiming for Youtube or a similar digital platform, then they have to bring to life an idea that is a passionate part of a preschooler’s life and which is direct, intimate and energetic.

How L&M is included in the main preschool brand identity and development?

If one is talking about either digital or non-linear but modelled on linear (e.g. Netflix), the requirement to be toy-etic no longer applies. In the case of the Netflix of this world, this is because their model is not dependent on ancillary rights exploitation, but on complete rights ownership to “broadcast”; in the case of Youtube, the creator will earn revenue from AD sales for a successful show and therefore they don’t need a ToyCo on board to make their show in the first place. 

This interview along with other exclusive content is featured in the latest issue of Licensing Magazine, which you can browse through at this link. Ask today at info@bm-eu.com for an annual subscription to receive our magazine in your office from January 2020.

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