BBC announces biggest investment in children’s content and services for a generation

Tony Hall today announced that the BBC would spend an additional £34m on content and services for children over the next three years, enabling the Corporation to deliver an enhanced online offer for its youngest audiences.

BBC Children’s will continue to spend the overwhelming majority of its budget on CBeebies and CBBC, the UK’s most popular children’s channels, so they can go on delivering world-class, UK-produced children’s programming across all genres, including drama, comedy, factual and news.

However, this additional funding will deliver a significant increase in BBC Children’s online budget, reflecting the increasing share of children’s media time spent online and the 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 and interactivity that informs, educates and entertains.

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. – Alice Webb, Director, Children’s

The new investment, delivered as a result of savings across the BBC, will see the Children’s budget reach £124.4 million by 2019/20, up from £110 million today. By 2019/20, a quarter or £31.4 million will be spent online.

This investment will enable BBC Children’s to deliver its renewed strategy, set out in the BBC Annual Plan 2017/18:

• Content that stands out from the crowd: we will focus on a smaller number of stand-out titles for which we 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 that is delivered wherever and whenever our audience wants it: we will ensure our most popular content is always on, just as children now expect, through BBC iPlayer/iPlayer Kids. And through sign-in, we will ensure that children can enjoy age-appropriate content from across the BBC on BBC iPlayer

• Content that is supported by interactive capabilities that enable our audience to create, connect and share: we will join up and expand the set of interactive digital content, capabilities and experiences available to our audience, building on the engagement already achieved through our children’s websites and apps but with more opportunities to create, connect and share.

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, says: “We put children’s front and centre throughout the charter renewal process and today’s announcement reflects our commitment to our youngest audiences. We’re making BBC Children’s fit for the future, maintaining our world-class channels whilst enhancing our online offer to meet the needs of the next generation.”

Alice Webb, Director, Children’s, adds: “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.”

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