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GWR Studios

Programming Profile

Guinness World Records Q&A C21Kids Summer Special 2024


PietzschKaren Gilchrist
VP, TV and digital, global brand and digital team
Guinness World Records


Please tell us about your main objectives over the summer.
Our objective is to find homes for two amazing kids’ series we made last year. The One Thing (produced for DaVinci channel) is a 26×15’ co-viewing series that explores the skills honed by record holders and how they go about becoming the best in the world. Our Guinness World Records (GWR) presenter tries to learn a skill or life lesson in the hope they can take away ‘The One Thing’ from this amazing encounter. The show launched on Da Vinci in January of this year so we are now actively looking for partners to acquire this great live-action series.


We have also been re-editing our BAFTA-nominated series Officially Amazing which ran for seven seasons between 2012-2018. Hosted by the engaging and energetic Ben Shires, this smash hit, fast-paced kids’ show features the funniest, scariest, most amazing record attempts from around the world. The series has been cut down into five seasons of 30’ episodes and refreshed and re-invigorated for a new audience in 2024. The ABC in Australia will premiere this series in June.


What is the company’s mission and strategy in the kids’ content space?
The company has a very clear ambition to allow more kids to watch, learn about and experience world records at first hand, whether that’s having a go at an individual challenge, or maybe participating as part of a school group. We believe all kids have the potential to do something amazing, and through us they can explore and find out what they are good at, practice and have a go. It’s not about getting the record necessarily, but the journey of setting a goal, working towards it and finding out what they can achieve.


Over the past number of years, we have created a swathe of records that can only be attempted by kids. Of course, though, not all kids want to participate, but there is inspiration in watching other kids achieve best-in-the-world status, and so we are committed to telling the stories of our amazing young achievers and celebrating them across our content, whether that’s in print, digital, at live events, or on TV.


What new shows are coming down the line that you’re particularly focused on?
The launch of GWR Studios in 2022 has given us the opportunity to work on more productions independently as well as co-developing ideas with international producers and broadcasters.


Previously, we would license our brand for record-breaking shows, but GWR Studios has enabled us to partner more creatively as we have built such an experienced and talented team. We are in several early development conversations at present which are very exciting. Nothing more can be said at this stage, but we hope to have an announcement later on in the year. We are in development on several large scale shows with production partners around the world, like our highly successful Italian series Lo Show Dei Record, made with Banijay Italia. We have a raft of paper formats that we are in conversations about, following the success of GWR Shorts and The One Thing.


How is the company making use of opportunities in the social media and digital space for its kids’ content?
We’re putting a lot of effort into growing our kids’ YouTube channel and in the last year alone it has grown 366%. Kids are so important to the brand as a whole; they are the main audience for our number-one selling book and we create dedicated content for them on our kids website too.


We make it our mission to be everywhere kids get their content, so the social and digital space are increasingly important. This is also why we have developed partnerships with VoD platforms such as Kidoodle, why we are working with providers of content in the classroom and why we have worked with various YouTubers and influencers in recent years.


We are also exploring opportunities in the kids’ gaming space. Wherever kids are spending their time, we want to be there.


What is the biggest issue facing the kids’ industry and what is your company doing in response to it?
Budget cuts across the whole industry leads to fewer commissions and acquisitions. There’s less inclination for risk taking, with broadcasters tending to focus on certain types of content which has been successful for them in the past.


The eclectic mix of kids’ viewing patterns away from broadcasters has also meant that unless properties have a solid onward value as a brand then they are less likely to be picked up. In response to this, we are ensuring we provide content in different places and in different forms that reflect what and how kids are choosing to watch. It’s important to be nimble. We have a team of data analysts who help us reflect on how we can improve our performance.


How can kids’ content companies survive and thrive during the economic crisis?
It’s important to be open to new opportunities, to be nimble and agile to try to capitalise on the latest changes in kids’ viewing habits and how they are spending their time. We also feel that content creators, whether companies or social creators, should be open to working together more openly and flexibly on projects. But as ever, ultimately, it’s about creating great content kids will love. That fundamental requirement hasn’t changed, we just have to be more creative about how we do it.

More programming profiles

  • 09-01-2023

    Kathryn Hubbard, head of content licensing at Guinness World Records, discusses the recent launch of GWR Studios, the new shows in its production pipeline and the company’s plans for this year.


    What is the strategy behind the recent launch of GWR Studios?
    Guinness World Records has been producing content for television since 1998, with programmes being produced in 21 territories worldwide and distributed to over 150. Over the years our output has expanded to include producing content for digital platforms as well as for our own social channels, which have grown massively – we have over 22 million followers on TikTok and cumulatively our channels receive 4.6 billion views per year.


    Launching GWR Studios has allowed us to consolidate our in-house production experience under one roof and to put greater focus on creative development of new formats and different ways in which to celebrate our record holders and their incredible stories.


    How does GWR Studios work with other producers and distributors?
    Previously, we have worked with third-party producers and licensed out our brand and formats. However, in the last five years our involvement within these productions has become so integral that we are now seeking direct commissions ourselves from broadcasters.