On Friday October 21, 2016 the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) released three policy statements regarding health recommendations on media use by children. A review of these policy statements shows the AAP has referenced 190 different research papers and articles to support their position. Almost 30% of the papers were made available in 2015 and 2016, and generally reference a large body of helpful information regarding screen use by American youth. Over 75% of the referenced research can be downloaded for free. In an effort to help advance the interests of researchers, educators, and industry here is a collection of all of the AAP referenced research in an Excel spreadsheet with links to easily access and download all of the material.
Archive for the 'Conferences' Category
[The following is an article I wrote for the online magazine Kidscreen, June 1, 2016.]
Every year at the end of May, between the Google IO and the Apple Developer Conference in San Francisco, roughly 50 talented and passionate children’s app developers meet to hear the latest industry news, view upcoming apps and discuss best practices for mobile development. And last week’s seventh-annual AppCamp conference in Monterey, California was no different. What has changed, though, is the kids mobile market.
You would think with the latest industry news of Toca Boca’s acquisition by Spin Master, and Age of Learning receiving a US$150 million investment, that the bright sunny skies of Monterey were foreshadowing the future of the industry.
But opening discussions at the conference, which were led by many successful developers, painted a very different picture, as concerns about sustainability, lack of monetization, discovery and growth were top of mind.
Having a successful app, or a portfolio of successful apps, is often not enough to provide sustainable revenue for a company. It’s become clear that in order to survive, app developers need to diversify their offerings beyond mobile. Licensing of intellectual property, app bundles, toys and television are all helpful ways to create stability and sustainability, though each requires its own set of expertise and ongoing cultivation in order to succeed.
Regular AppCamp speaker and Toca Boca co-founder Björn Jeffrey shared that while his company enjoys a rare and privileged place in the children’s app world, it has been actively diversifying its offerings. Toca Boca has been building a new interactive television subscription service scheduled to launch in the fall, and it has also pursued developing new toy products through its Sago Mini subsidiary based in Toronto. Toca Boca also actively seeks out other partnerships and licensing opportunities, as Björn believes the industry will continue to see consolidation in the app space. He’s also concerned about a current “app fatigue” in the marketplace.
Valérie Touze, co-founder of Edoki Academy in Paris, echoed Björn’s sentiments. Touze, who specializes in creating Montessori apps, strongly believes that developers can’t rely on the slim chance that Apple will feature their apps─a rare opportunity that provides a brief boost in sales, and something that a developer can’t control nor request. Diversification, Touze believes, will help avoid disappointment.
Industry vet Mark Schlichting, founder of NoodleWorks and a key creative on the Living Books series from yesteryear publisher Brøderbund, noted that we’re in a mature market. With any sector, there is a rise, a plateau and a fall. This happens with every media platform: CD-ROMs, console devices, electronic handheld games─and now, children’s apps? We’re either at a plateau, or just starting to see a decline, depending on how you look at this maturing industry. Unlike the early days of the App Store, nowadays there’s a predominance of big companies and big licensed brands. For companies that can afford to make such apps, these businesses may not be focused on generating revenue, but rather care more about generating brand visibility, brand engagement and cross-promotion of other non-app products.
Dan Russell-Pinson, president of Freecloud Design, and the creator of the mega app hit Stack the States, believes there’s an “excitement gap” occurring as well. When the iPad launched in 2010, there was a hunger for apps, which were an exciting thing to download, share and talk about. Now, apps are commonplace. While Dan said he continues to release new mobile games simply to maintain his existing revenue base, he believes the market is supportive of price increases, moving up from US$1.99 to US$2.99, or US$2.99 to US3.99 per download.
French developer Pierre Abel of L’Escapadou, a pioneer in the app industry who shares all of his app metrics and sales data in his L’Escapadou blog, talked about the challenges of being a small developer. Abel offered this thought with which he and many other small studios struggle: Is it more important to create new apps for new revenue streams, or should a developer focus on updating one’s existing library of apps? It’s often impossible for a small studio to do both at the same time.
While app industry roadblocks abound, Google Play insider Shazia Makhdumi noted that similar challenges occur in other markets, such as the book world, the music industry and even children’s television. These industries have seen similar problems with monetization, discovery, advertising, visibility and audience-building. Could it be that the children’s app world, along with its many challenges, is simply following a similar pattern to other, more established media industries? And as the sector matures, are new ways of monetizing—say through subscription (or dare we say even advertising)—providing new financial opportunities and stability?
There are, of course, slivers of sunshine.
AppCamp attendees were treated to sneak previews of mobile products that will hit the market in the coming months from the likes of StoryToys, Kindoma, Originator and Edoki Academy. The level of innovation in these apps was impressive and extremely high. What was being shown will certainly raise the creative bar for the rest of the industry. It also provided a glimpse into what success in the children’s app world will look like in the future, at least in terms of quality and features─if not revenue.
The next gathering of the children’s app industry will occur at the 16th-annual Dust or Magic Conference in early November. At that time, the industry will collectively compare notes again, evaluate what has worked, discuss what needs more attention, and hopefully see some positive steps forward with new subscription-based business models that will likely grow in popularity.
Scott Traylor is the founder of 360KID and a consultant to many children’s interactive businesses and products (none of which are referenced in this article). He’s also a former computer science teacher and currently lives in Silicon Valley, searching for the next big opportunity in the children’s industry. Scott can be reached at Scott@360KID.com.
Our great big list of kids conferences for 2016 is ready to be released! It’s a compilation of major events that touch on different areas of the children’s media world. Apps, toys, eBooks, education, television, video games, and more. A similar list was created last year at this time for 2015 conferences. The 2016 list is now available in two flavors. The first is a PDF doc that sorts events chronologically. The second PDF segments conferences by media type, or focus.
You may be asking yourself, “Is every children’s media event included on this list?” The answer is no. There are 68 events listed here and you could easily add hundreds more. However, the conferences included tend to be among the biggest or best known events in their specific area of focus.
A few notes about what’s new in our conference list since last year:
- Conferences related to virtual reality and augmented reality were added as this business sector is heating up fast. These events are not specifically child focused, but is an area worth watching as it could offer new opportunities with children’s media down the road.
- One digital video conference, VidCon, was added as more and more kids watch digital videos on mobile devices. Another event to look for is YouTube’s Brandcast, which at the time of writing has not publicly announced a date for 2016.
- Two big children’s research conferences, Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and the Cognitive Development Society (CDS) are biennual events, and 2016 is an off year for each. See you in 2017!
- The iKids event from Brunico has been folded into their annual Kidscreen conference.
- Early Education & Technology for Children (EETC) has been folded into the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) annual conference.
- Also not included at the time of posting, Common Sense Media and Vicky Rideout should have a Zero to Eight media use report out sometime in 2016. An event date has yet to be announced but I’m told to look for it later in the year.
If you know of other events not included on our list that could be of benefit to the children’s media community, please do share a comment below, complete with the event name, date(s), location, and URL. Thanks for your help, and I look forward to seeing you at a future event!
Where do you go to stay smart in the kids interactive industry? What conferences keep you on top of your craft, while also helping you grow your network? What events are vital to attend to learn the latest trends? There are so many conferences these days which ones are right for you? Look no further, here’s a compiled conference list to get you started! It covers areas of the children’s interactive media business like toys, eBooks, video games, children’s television, apps, play, research, consumer products, and more. The list below covers most of the big US and international shows in 2015, and just a few important smaller events.
You can download a PDF copy of this list here. Let us know what you think. Which events do you attend? What speakers draw you to an event? If there’s an event that’s not on this list, and you think it’s important, please let us know in the comments below.
|#||Conference w link||Location||Date(s)||Focus|
|1||Consumer Electronics Show (CES)||Las Vegas, NV||1/6-9/15||Hardware, tech|
|2||Kids@Play||Las Vegas, NV||1/7/15||KidTech|
|3||Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair||Hong Kong||1/12-15/15||Toys|
|4||Digital Book World||New York, NY||1/13-15/15||eBooks|
|5||FETC||Orlando, FL||1/20-23/15||Ed tech|
|6||PAXsouth||San Antonio, TX||1/23-25/15||Gaming|
|7||Nuremburg Toy Fair||Nuremburg||1/28-2/2/15||Toys|
|8||NY Toy Fair||New York, NY||2/14-17/15||Toys|
|9||Digital Kids Conference||New York, NY||2/15-17/15||KidTech|
|10||Kidscreen Summit||Miami, FL||2/23-26/15||Broadcast, Children’s TV|
|12||Game Developers Conference (GDC)||San Fran, CA||3/2-6/15||Gaming|
|14||SXSWedu||Austin, TX||3/9-12 2015||Education|
|15||SXSW Gaming Expo||Austin, TX||3/13-16/15||Gaming|
|16||SXSW Interactive||Austin, TX||3/13-17/15||Interactive|
|17||SXSW Music||Austin, TX||3/17-22/15||Music|
|18||Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)||Philadelphia, PA||3/19-21/15||Research|
|19||Sandbox Summit||Cambridge, MA||3/22-24/15||Play|
|20||Dust or Magic Masterclass||Bologna||3/25/15||eBooks|
|21||Bologna Children’s Book Faire||Bologna||3/30-4/2/15||Books|
|22||Early Education & Technology for Children (EETC)||Salt Lake City, UT||3/15||Early ed, edtech|
|23||London Book Fair||London, UK||4/14-16/15||Books|
|24||Games for Change||New York, NY||4/21-23/15||Serious games|
|25||Dust or Magic eBook Retreat||Honesdale, PA||4/15||eBooks|
|27||Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)||San Fran, CA||5/3-5/15||Ed tech|
|28||Maker Faire Bay Area||San Mateo, CA||5/16-17/15||Maker|
|29||Book Expo America (BEA)||New York, NY||5/27-29/15||eBooks|
|30||AppCamp||Pacific Grove, CA||5/30-6/2/15||Children’s Apps|
|31||“Content in Context (CIC, AAP)||Wash DC||6/1-3/15||Ed publishing|
|32||NAEYC Professional Development conference||New Orleans, LA||6/7-10/15||Early ed|
|33||Licensing Expo||Las Vegas, NV||6/9-11/15||Licensing|
|34||Digital Media & Learning (DML)||LA, CA||6/11-13/15||Ed tech|
|36||Interaction Design & Children (IDC)||Medford, MA||6/21-24/15||Research|
|37||International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)||Philadelphia, PA||6/28-7/1/15||Ed tech|
|38||Children’s Media Conference (Professional)||Sheffield, UK||7/1-3/15||Broadcast|
|39||Playful Learning Summit||Maddison, WI||7/7/15||Serious games|
|40||Games, Learning & Society (GLS)||Maddison, WI||7/8-10/15||Serious games|
|41||ComicCom||San Diego, CA||7/9-12/15||Entertainment|
|42||International Reading Association (IRA)||St. Louis, MO||7/17-20/15||Education, reading|
|43||Serious Play||LA, CA||7/15||Serious games|
|44||Casual Connect||San Fran, CA||8/11-13/15||Gaming|
|45||Burning Man||Black Rock Desert, NV||8/29-9/5/15||Art, mind|
|46||Digital Kids Summit||San Fran, CA||9/15||KidTech|
|47||World Congress of Play||San Fran, CA||9/15||Toys|
|48||Maker Faire New York||New York, NY||9/26-27/15||Maker|
|49||MIP Jr.||Cannes, France||10/2-4/15||Children’s television|
|50||MDR EdNet||Atlanta, GA||10/4-6/15||Ed tech|
|52||Fall Toy Preview||Dallas, TX||10/6-8/15||Toys|
|53||Meaningful Play||East Lansing, MI||10/15||Serious games|
|55||Dust or Magic||Lambertville, NJ||11/1-3/15||Kidtech, children’s apps|
|56||NAEYC Annual Conference||TBA||11/15||Early ed|
|58||SIIA Education Business Forum||New York, NY||12/15||Ed tech|
|59||Star Wars Episode VII release||US||12/18/15||Entertainment|
NOTE: Items highlighted in red indicate specifics about an event that have yet to be announced as of 11/10/2014.