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David Kleeman
Strategist, analyst, author and speaker — for a quarter-century, David Kleeman has led the children’s media industry in developing sustainable, kid-friendly solutions. In May 2013, he broadened his focus, and is now building a unique new global kids & family "think tank” as Senior Vice President of Insights Programs and PlayVangelist for PlayCollective.

PlayCollective is a global market research, strategic business planning, brand building, and multi-platform product development company, that works with organizations of all sizes.

From 1988-2013, Kleeman was President of the American Center for Children and Media, promoting the exchange of ideas, expertise and information as a means for building quality. He remains 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, and a Governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 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 two book chapters and commentaries for the Huffington Post and Kidscreen.

Entries by David Kleeman

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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Kids in the Middle: Media's Unique Roles for Children of Immigrants

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 9:45 AM

Months ago, PlayCollective and the Children's Media Association produced an exchange between industry executives and academics on "bridging the gap" between these fields, toward incorporating research insights into media content for kids. Ever since, I've wanted to interview Rutgers School of Communication and Information Assistant Professor...

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10 Reasons Why We Need Research Literacy, Not Scare Columns

(9) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 6:43 PM

This column was co-authored with Glenda Revelle, Associate Professor, University of Arkansas, and Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents, and the Media at the University of Amsterdam, with additional contributions from members of the Children and Media Professionals group on Facebook.

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Kids and Educational Media: Desire to Learn vs. Design to Teach

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 3:42 PM

This week, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center published a fantastically rich study of children, families and media called "Learning at Home." Among other findings, it quantified something observers of the field had suspected for some time: Kids' consumption of educational content drops precipitously after age 5...

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In Media, Home and Schools: I Teach. You Learn. I Hope.

(1) Comments | Posted August 19, 2013 | 5:28 PM

I teach. You learn.

I hope.

Sadly, the relationship isn't 1:1; if it was, schooling would be far more successful, and educator assessment simpler.

In most situations, to teach conveys intent: a goal, plan and curriculum.

Learning is far more complex, resting on a wide variety of factors. These include...

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Children and Families, Media and Play: The Five Minute Futurist

(1) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 12:42 PM

At last week's Children's Media Conference in Sheffield, England, I was asked to play the "five minute futurist" - to project ten coming trends or developments for children and families (this being the 10th annual CMC, everything was "top tens"). The night before the panel, I told someone...

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Grasping at Elephants: Reporting on Kids Media Research

(1) Comments | Posted March 29, 2013 | 4:50 PM

I've written here (more than once) about the need for greater research literacy, not just for the general public but also among journalists, as they are often the public's first line of information and understanding about emerging study findings. This week, we've seen a prime example...

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The Two Freds

(2) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 5:30 PM

I've just begun a Senior Fellowship with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College. For someone in my field, merely having my name in the same sentence as Mister Rogers is a heady, humbling experience. I'm too old to...

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Big Bird is Proxy for a Golden Goose

(8) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 12:35 PM

If the threat weren't so serious, the flood of viral "Sesame Street" image mash-ups, Facebook posts and Tweets would be highly amusing. Public broadcasting supporters have been wonderfully inventive in slamming Mitt Romney's debate claim that he "loves Big Bird," but would end government public media subsidies.

I'm concerned, though,...

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Transmedia Makers: Frustration + Opportunity = Magic

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2012 | 12:02 PM

When the frustrated imagination of a generation meets the opportunity to bring its dreams to life, will magic occur?

For some time, I've been bothered by malleable use of the term "transmedia"; it seemed that the term could mean whatever a children's media content creator wanted or needed for the...

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Going 'Screen Free' vs. Getting 'Screen Smart'

(1) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 12:02 PM

April 30 - May 6 is "Screen-Free Week," intended to help families "break the screen habit." Unfortunately, by emphasizing "break" rather than "manage," this annual event doesn't promote wise family media habits any more than "Eat Nothing Week" would foster healthy diets.

When it was established in 1994, "TV Turnoff...

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