Canadian children’s programming has come far in the 20+ years the Shaw Rocket Fund has existed. Producers have researched, tested, created and thrived. They’ve worked hard to produce content that parents are excited to show their children – colourful, stimulating, educational and entertaining programs. We’ve seen animation, live-action, adventures, dramas and comedies. We’ve seen some truly great programming that deserves to be celebrated.
We, at the Shaw Rocket Fund, wanted to create something unique that would not only showcase the talent of our Canadian producers and their amazing Canadian content, but that had a focus on our one key stakeholder – the one we always come back to for everything we do:
We created the Shaw Rocket Prize to celebrate the excellence in Canadian kids programming and from there, everything fell into place. We knew we had to have kids involved, and what better way than to have children, the audience, choose the winner?
We also knew we needed global representation and so developed an International Jury of industry leaders to select the finalists for the kids to vote on. 34 esteemed members of the children’s media industry from across the globe sat on our jury over the years, and we’re so thankful they have. These professionals set the stage for the kids.
The Shaw Rocket Prize evolved over its 11 successful years. From awarding one prize to three, to moving from classrooms to a Canada-wide online vote, to showcasing our top programs in Ottawa, to expanding the vote to include digital experiences like associated games and social media content – it was always exciting to keep up with kids!
Our Kids Jury has always held the responsibility of crowning our winners. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that kids love to be entertained. They’re mesmerized by visual stimulation from a very early age, and as they grow, they develop an inquisitive and curious nature. They enjoy dancing, moving around and singing along. They ask questions, tell stories – and love to hear stories – and show their personalities. While kids themselves haven’t really changed, the way they enjoy their programming has.
We know things are constantly on the move in our industry. Kids’ viewing habits have shifted from appointment viewing to on-demand in various formats, and technology is increasingly available to them. This means while they’re watching TV, maybe they’re also following along on Instagram or playing a game with their favourite characters. Maybe that weekend, they’re downloading an app so they can play in the car on the way to soccer practice.
The Shaw Rocket Prize was about giving kids a say; recognizing that they have opinions and letting them tell us what programs speak to them, what motivates them and what intrigues them. Kids themselves got to reward the production companies who created and delivered programs in a way that captivated their interest.
We were honoured to have Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau create a video message for the 2016 Shaw Rocket Prize:
We’re fuelling kids’ creativity by fuelling the content that is made for them.
The classic Shaw Rocket Prize had an incredible 11-year run and we’re continuing to find innovative ways to make voices of Canadian children heard.