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Kids round-up: UK’s Animation Skills Council to relaunch, Hopster lands at DISH

The UK’s ScreenSkills Animation Skills Council, formerly known as Creative Skillset, is set to relaunch in the new year under new leadership.

ScreenSkills is the industry-led skills body for the UK’s screen industries – animation, film, games, television including children’s TV and high-end drama, VFX and immersive technology.

Tom Box, co-founder and MD of Blue Zoo Animation Studio, has agreed to be the new chair. The appointment is expected to be ratified in January.

The revival of the council comes after discussions with key parties and is intended to tackle the critical skills needs in UK animation.

ScreenSkills is working with partners including Animation UK and Pact and colleagues in film to identify appropriate members for the revitalised council. The aim is to focus on recruiting representatives from companies working in animation and paying contribution into the Animation Skills Fund (commonly known as the levy).

Contributions of £33,000 have been made to the Animation Skills Fund in the year 2018/2019 to date, a significant rise on the year before. Contributions to the Film Skills Fund were £937,768 last year and the High-end Television Skills Fund raised £2.6 million.

Box said:”The skills issues faced by our industry are more prominent than ever before. The booming demand for animated content means there is a huge demand for a highly skilled workforce, but there are risks to growth from skills shortages, a lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry and the changing political landscape. I very much look forward to joining the council to help bring united action to build an even stronger workforce.”

UK preschool app Hopster launches on DISH

Hopster, the preschool learning and entertainment experience, has launched in a new children’s learning service on DISH.

The agreement with the US pay-TV giant sees the app make its content available to millions of DISH subscribers.

Priced at US$4.99 a month, Hopster’s SVOD content is now available to DISH customers with an internet-connected Hopper DVR (all generations), Hopper Duo, Joey (all models) or Wally set-top box.

DISH customers can also enjoy Hopster programming while on-the-go with the DISH Anywhere app.

Claire Hunter Gregson, commercial director at Hopster, said: “We are really happy to have been picked by DISH as the go-to children’s platform offering safe and educational entertainment for kids five and under. We believe that our content is unique on the service and hope that parents will appreciate the care we put into curating Hopster’s child-friendly video offering. ”

Horrid Henry episodes head to Netflix

The first episodes of the new fifth season of Horrid Henry are now available on Netflix in the UK.

The move was presented as an ‘early Christmas present’ to fans across Horrid Henry’s social platforms.