Each year, The British Toy & Hobby Association and Silverstream TV work hard to bring innovative video content to Toy Fair, EN learns more about the unique partnership.
“It adds a real spark to the show. It brings every element together,” says Majen Immink, head of operations and sales at the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA).
Immink is referring to Toy Fair TV, the video content produced by Silverstream TV for the association’s Toy Fair trade show.
The show is one of the more complex productions the Silverstream team undertakes each year, with two live roaming camera crews on the show floor across three days, daily show highlights and an dedicated exhibitor Demo Zone.
“The whole point of Toy Fair TV is to try and get an exhibitor’s name and brand out on the screens,” Abi Edmonds, senior producer at Silverstream, tells EN. “And it’s also just a little bit of fun.
“Exhibitions are tiring, so when visitors are sitting in a cafe having a break they can still be involved and still take in some of the atmosphere of the event and listen out for those key new products that they have come to the show to see.
Silverstream work with the BTHA throughout the year to ensure the video content on the three days of the show is tightly scheduled to ensure maximum exposure for the largest number of exhibitors. While big brands can have their moment in the spotlight, Immink and her colleagues are keen to allow independent toy producers and smaller exhibitors a time to shine.
“It’s a packed show and everyone wants to be on the central aisle,” she explains. “But they can’t necessarily be on the central aisle. You might be a new exhibitor in the greenhouse area [for small companies and startups] or you might be further over in a corner.
“That’s the beauty of live television; we can get over there, no one is in a corner and everyone gets that added publicity. I think over the years people have engaged more and more. It’s about listening to them and continuing to improve it.”
Companies who feature on Toy Fair TV have the opportunity to demonstrate their product and have the footage broadcast across more than 12 screens throughout the show, bringing the potential to be spotted by buyers who might otherwise have missed their stand.
And the reach of Toy Fair TV isn’t limited to the show floor. The Demo Zone provided a platform for exhibitors – every hour on the hour – to present their products to the toughest critics of all: a panel of children.
“What’s more important than getting the feedback directly from the kids themselves?” Immink points out. “They’re the ones who are benefitting from the play value, the ones who want the products.”
Exhibitors who visit the Demo Zone are able to take away the footage of their demonstration on a USB, to use after the show in their own marketing or promotional material.
The footage filmed by the roving camera crews, along with pre-recorded interviews, is also streamed live on the Toy Fair website.
Streaming exhibition content online can occasionally raise eyebrows in the industry, with some thinking it devalues the exclusivity of the live event, however Immink herself is a staunch advocate, arguing that if anything it adds value to the live experience.
“In the past we’ve had several people watching online live through the website and then come down to the show,” she says. “Often they’ll head to stands having seen what’s happening on Toy Fair TV and likewise if they haven’t made it to the show and they’ll be watching live online.
“I think that live element really brings it to life; we’ve got a good split of live and recorded, and a really great vibe with the Demo Zone and on the stands.”
Of course, filming so much live content can have its own quirks for the Silverstream team.
“There’s always the fun element of live hiccups,” laughs Edmonds. “We had someone on a hoverboard crash into some signage, but that’s live television isn’t it! It’s what you want. It’s a big technical production for the team and Olympia is a big venue.
“It’s a challenge to get everything to reach and go live and to get our stream up and running on the website. It’s a huge technical production and something that we do extremely well every year at Toy Fair.”
The collaboration between BTHA and Silverstream has reached the point where both parties are happy with the video content offering they provide for exhibitors. At this stage, says Immink, it’s more about refining than drastic changes year-on-year.
“It’s really evolved over the years,” she concludes. “I think we’ve now got to a place where it’s really streamlined, it’s working really well and it adds value to the show and to the exhibitor experience.
“I think it’s part of Toy Fair now.”