Common Sense Networks, the for-profit affiliate of Common Sense Media, has formed a board of directors, with newly elected members including veteran children’s media execs Geraldine Laybourne and Gary Knell.
CSN, which operates the Sensical streaming platform, was founded in 2020. It aims to help guide families through an increasingly complex digital media ecosystem while also assisting brands and media companies in their efforts to engage with families.
Along with Knell, former CEO of Sesame Workshop and National Geographic Parners, and Laybourne, former president of Nickelodeon and co-founder of Oxygen Media, five other board members have been elected. The roster includes Eric Berger, who founded Common Sense Networks and runs it as CEO; Mary Berner, Cumulus Media President and CEO; Robert L. Miller, former Time Inc. veteran and President/CEO of Miller Publishing Group; investor and entrepreneur Robert S. Townsend; and Common Sense Media founder and CEO James P. Steyer.
Led by Berger, former head of Crackle, CSN has used Common Sense Media’s proprietary rubric and content evaluation platform in building Sensical as an algorithm-free destination for viewers aged 2 to 10 and their families.
In an announcement, Berger called it “a privilege to partner with this esteemed board of changemakers in navigating the next stage of Common Sense Networks’ evolution.” The growth strategy for CSN, he added, is “built on setting new benchmarks for creators and marketers and leads to a radically different ecosystem that fuels kids’ self-confidence and passion for learning.”
Knell, who is executive chair and a current advisor to Common Sense Media, said CSN has created “a thoughtful and much-needed business model that speaks directly into the rapidly changing media landscape for children. As entertainment companies and brands look to do better, I feel a sense of pride to be elected chair of this extraordinary group of leaders and look forward to elevating the work of this truly important organization.”
Laybourne, who helped build Nickelodeon from a fledgling early cable TV player into a multi-billion-dollar home for a number of iconic family properties, said CSN’s achievements are “refreshing,” especially Sensical. She said the streaming outlet is “a service that doesn’t talk down to kids and should be the model for the industry.”
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