The BBC is spending over £30 million in the fight for your children, the corporation has announced.
Outlining its first annual plan, Director General Tony Hall highlighted the growing challenge to reach children in a generation that is being increasingly influenced and courted by global giants, such as Netflix, Google and Apple.
A further £34 million will be spent by the corporation in children’s content and services – its biggest investment in kids’ services in a generation – over the next three years. This, Hall emphasised, will fund a period of reinvention, as the BBC enhances its online offer for children, with new forms of content and interactivity. The extra cash will mean this can be delivered without taking resources away from the BBC’s existing children’s channels, CBeebies and CBBC.
Indeed, the BBC will continue to spend the overwhelming majority of its kids’ budget on CBeebies and CBBC, the UK’s most popular children’s channels, so they can go on delivering programming across drama, comedy, factual and news. This additional funding will be directed at the Beeb’s digital arm, reflecting the increasing share of children’s media time spent online and what the Beeb admits is “increasing competition” for their attention. It will ensure that the BBC “continues to reach as many children as possible with quality, commercial-free, public service content”.
Alice Webb, Director, Children’s, comments: “Our audience is rapidly changing and now more than ever we need to keep up. We’re home to the most popular kids TV channels in the UK, but as our audience increasingly move online it’s our job to stay relevant, inspiring and engaging them on whichever platform they choose. Today’s announcement means that whilst we’ll continue to make exceptional, distinctive public service UK children’s content across all of our platforms, we’ll also be able to develop a more personal online service that meets the evolving needs of our audience.”
The plan is to focus on a smaller number of stand-out titles for which the BBC will commission TV series and high-quality brand extensions across all platforms. This will require delivery of an all-year-round support of multimedia content, including video, live online programme extensions and clips, pics, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, quizzes, guides, games and apps. Content will be delivered “wherever and whenever our audience wants it”, through BBC iPlayer and the iPlayer Kids app.
“We put children’s front and centre throughout the charter renewal process and today’s announcement reflects our commitment to our youngest audiences,” said Hall, in a rallying cry for the organisation to move with the times and win the “next generation” of audiences. “We’re making BBC Children’s fit for the future,” he concluded.