This week, we're shining the spotlight on Senior Sales Manager, Ruth Preston. Read on for Ruth's thoughts on how the pandemic is influencing kids content, and find out how she and the team are making the most of this year's virtual Kidscreen Summit.
How did you start out in the industry and what role or roles have you had while working at Aardman?
I worked in children’s publishing for nine years selling international book rights, and moved to Aardman five years ago to join the sales team as Sales Manager. I was promoted last year to my current role of Senior Sales Manager.
What is a typical working day like for you?
My role is to sell Aardman and 3rd party produced shows to broadcasters and VOD platforms in a range of territories across the world. I spend my day in contact with clients, pitching content and negotiating deals, preparing for upcoming markets where we will meet our clients, and look at strategy and forecast with the rest of the sales team for future projects. I’m also in touch with the producers we distribute for to keep them updated on customer feedback.
What trends in kids programming are emerging in 2021?
I think that based on the experience of the last year, there will be a continuation of interest in family co-viewing content. Aardman series such as Shaun the Sheep: Adventures from Mossy Bottom and The Epic Adventures of Morph have cross generational appeal and comedy at their heart which makes them perfect for co-viewing. Also educational shows such as Learning Time with Timmy and Alphablocks and Numberblocks that we distribute for Blue Zoo, as well as content for kids with a focus on building emotional resilience.
How is your team adapting to digital markets?
We usually travel to multiple international markets as a sales team each year where we meet all our clients, look for new shows to distribute, find out what’s going on in the industry and pitch all of our content, so they’re vital to our business. All of the markets have obviously moved online this year but we’ve still been able to arrange virtual meetings with all our clients and we’ve created a new catalogue which has been a fantastic sales tool - something we’ll definitely keep using once life goes back to normal and we’re travelling again. I have missed enjoying drinks on the Croisette in Cannes with the team after a day of back to back meetings!
What are you looking forward to most at Kidscreen?
Definitely meeting with clients. Even though the market will be held digitally, one of the best parts of the job is pitching new shows and getting feedback. We have a lot of great content that we’re selling at Kidscreen this year!
Name three people who inspire you and why…
Shonda Rhimes - a very high profile, high achieving producer who’s owning her success!
Julia Donaldson - having read Room on the Broom, Stick Man and The Gruffalo on repeat to my two year old over the last few months, I am in awe of anyone who can write a picture book that’s as enjoyable to read the first time as the 100th… or 200th.
Marcus Rashford - The way he’s used his voice in the past year to campaign for children and bring about change has been incredibly inspirational.
What do you like most about working at Aardman?
Working in sales, I spend a lot of time talking to clients at international markets who all tell us how much they love Aardman. It’s pretty incredible to work at a company that’s held in such high regard and so well known around the world.
Who is your favourite Aardman character and why?
Definitely Morph! When I was a child and went to stay with my grandmother in the holidays, she had one VHS which was Morph so I watched it a lot. I still remember the feeling of seeing the Morph in the cabinet at reception on my first day and feeling pretty amazed that I would be working at the home of one of my childhood favourites!
Connect with Ruth on LinkedIn here.
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