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David Kleeman
Strategist, analyst, author and speaker — for more than a quarter-century, David Kleeman has led the children’s media industry in developing sustainable, kid-friendly practices. He is currently an independent consultant on children’s and families’ play, learning, and media.

David is SVP of Global Trends for Dubit, where he uses the company's strategy and research consultancy, quarterly tracking survey and digital production expertise to explore questions about the future of children’s media. What content trends will define the streaming age; how does children’s play changes as they interact with a mix of the digital and the physical; what are ‘best practices’ in media, toys, games and activities for kids; and how can we build stronger ties between academia and industry.

From 1988-2013, Kleeman was President of the American Center for Children and Media, an executive roundtable and professional development hub promoting the exchange of ideas, expertise and information as a means for building quality.

He is advisory board chair to the international children's TV festival (Prix Jeunesse), a 2013 Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, a board member of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, and a Governor of the Television Academy. In 2014, he received the “Pioneer” Award from Kids @ Play Interactive.

Kleeman travels worldwide seeking best practices in children’s and family media, technology and products; he has given presentations on six continents. He writes extensively for trade and general press, including three book chapters and frequent commentaries in the Huffington Post and Kidscreen.

Entries by David Kleeman

Creativity in a Time of Calm

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2016 | 11:28 AM

What would happen if a farmer didn't have to worry about extreme weather for five years? Could she concentrate on innovative growing techniques or new crops? If a race driver knew the specs for his car formula were fixed for a half-decade, could he focus on optimizing calibration and technique...

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CES 2016 and Kids: Five Trends to Keep an Eye On

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2016 | 11:43 AM

Like the blind men and the elephant, Consumer Electronics Show (CES) attendees view its overwhelming range of products through the lens of their own work and interests. For those in TV or video, there were new screens galore, from tiny to titanic. Athletes had a football field-sized floor...

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Are Activists' Asking the Wrong Questions About YouTube Kids

(1) Comments | Posted December 1, 2015 | 3:31 PM

Last week, two advocacy groups renewed their complaints against YouTube Kids, claiming that a "limited but systematic search" turned up hundreds of promotions for foods that ought not to be advertised to children under the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. I don't question that there...

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Next Week's Forecast: Deluge (of Media)

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 4:30 PM

Next week, Common Sense Media will release a new study on media use among children 8-18. The world has changed radically since the last iteration of this study, five years ago.

"Radically" may be too weak a word: the previous study came out three months before...

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Content, Distribution, Discovery: The Royal Family

(2) Comments | Posted September 17, 2015 | 4:47 PM

It's a truism that "content is king," but content without well-targeted distribution leaves a lonely kingdom. So, perhaps distribution is queen?

Even if you have both of those, though, young people need to know how or where to find your content in today's anything, anytime, anywhere media world. Otherwise, the...

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Children's Programming Driving SVOD: A "Sticky" Situation

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 4:28 PM

To quote Congressman Morris Udall, "everything has been said, but not everyone has said it yet." When it comes to last week's announcement from Sesame Workshop and HBO, we may be about to prove Udall wrong - at this point everyone, including me, has weighed in on the...

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Can You Tell Me How We Got Here, From Sesame Street?

(8) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 2:00 PM

The past week has seen much outrage and hyperbole in the wake of Sesame Workshop's announcement that Sesame Street will have a first window on HBO, nine months ahead of its PBS broadcast.

When it comes to children's public service television, however, we reap what we sow. Edward...

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Small Fingers, Big Insights: Mobile App Design and 0-5 Year Olds

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2015 | 7:48 PM

By now, to say that tablets and mobile apps are popular among young children is superfluous, akin to saying they like sweets. A new study, however, shares rich detail of under-5s' surprising digital competencies, as well as how mobile media use is shaped by - and shapes -...

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Don't Hold Your Breadth

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2015 | 3:14 PM

A couple recent events have gotten me thinking about diversity in children's TV content:

  • Last week, I had dinner with a longtime friend who is a partner in a top-shelf arts media production company. We first met over 20 years ago when Scott was developing an original television story ballet...
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Time... Compressed

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 1:42 PM

I was excited this week when one of my Google Alerts popped up with a link to an infographic on games and gaming, from parents' perspectives. I always love studies about how families are connecting or not through digital media, since we're now well into a time when both parents...

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Five Things I Love About Research

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2015 | 4:33 PM

I know just enough about research to be dangerous. That's mostly a joke, but not entirely. As an undergraduate, graciously allowed to take Ed School graduate courses (thank you, Gerry Lesser!), I learned how to read and interpret research, and some rudimentary study design. But, that was so long ago...

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Digging the Sandbox

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 12:46 AM

Maybe you recall Sy Sperling tagging his TV advertisements for "Hair Club for Men" with, "I'm not just the President, I'm a client." Thinking of that, it feels a little less self-serving for me to write a blog post touting the upcoming Sandbox Summit, now presented by

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YouTube Kids: Implications for the Kids Media Industries

(1) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 6:12 PM

It's an organizer's dream to kick off a conference with a wave-making keynote that ripples throughout the event. Kidscreen 2015 certainly got that with Malik Ducard's introduction of the YouTube Kids app.

Though the news had broken the week before (and been speculated about for months), Ducard's walkthrough...

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Reality, Risk & Reward: Is US Kids TV Ripe for Authenticity and Autonomy?

(1) Comments | Posted February 12, 2015 | 12:35 PM

I was reluctant to be wooed by "MasterChef Junior," but it won me over. Now, can children's media learn from that series' success, and expand its own boundaries?

I love cooking competition and reality shows. Still, too often on these series it's not just the meat and veggies...

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Kids, Families and E-Reading: Growth and Trust

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 11:37 AM

This post is co-authored with Kara Liebeskind, Research Manager at PlayCollective. The post is excerpted from Kara's article in Publisher's Marketplace.

Children have been reading ebooks much longer than there have been mobile devices: the Living Books CD-ROM series dates back to 1992. It...

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Enter the PlayMatrix

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 6:37 PM

Long ago, in the dark times of broadcast-only TV, there was limited children's programming: a few shows sufficed for all kids. With the arrival of multi-channel cable, kids channels brought the opportunity for age-targeted program blocks, fostering two dimensions of consideration: content and age.

The Internet added interactivity to the...

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Rules of Engagement

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 9:46 AM

This past week, three colleagues and I prepared an article pitch, on historical and other reasons why research scientists and industry content creators haven't always connected well, and suggestions for collaboration going forward. As we worked, a small memory kept tickling my brain and, after some searching, I was able...

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Ruling Galaxies But Not Countries: New Research on Women in Film

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 6:08 PM

It's a pleasure to feature a research/industry collaboration that is having measurably positive effect. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (GDIGM) has a long-standing relationship with Dr. Stacy Smith's laboratory at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.


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Kids and Media: Screen or Window?

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 5:18 PM

When I was little, my grandmother had an apartment overlooking the East River in New York. I could sit for hours, doing nothing but look out at the passing boats. I can't recall a single time when anyone expressed concern that I was getting too much "window time."

Today, I...

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Springboard or Crisis? The 'Talent Show Experience'

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 2:49 PM

This post is co-authored with Maya Götz, director, International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television.

"It was an experience that I never want to repeat. It was depressing, sad. I'm 16 years old, and I'm not yet able to cope with things like that. I...
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