The U.K. government has unveiled a new £60 million ($81.3 million) pilot fund to increase the variety of children’s television in the country.
With the fund, as much as £60 million will be made available for content creators to receive up to 50 percent of the production and distribution costs of original TV series. The fund is still in development, but will be offered for content broadcast on commercial public service broadcasters (PSBs), as well as for other channels and on-demand platforms, and possibly also online.
The output of kids’ TV from PSBs in the U.K. has been falling over the past decade, with spending down by £55 million. The pilot is meant to stimulate greater variety in a market where the BBC is often the dominant buyer and broadcaster of children’s content. It aims to complement other measures taken by the government in this area, including the introduction of a children’s TV tax break and new powers given to Ofcom.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley commented: “High-quality children’s television is not only entertaining but plays a vital role in stimulating learning and giving young people a greater understanding of the world around them.
“This significant investment will give our world-renowned television production sector the boost it needs to create innovative content for a wider audience that would otherwise not be made.”
Anna Home OBE, chair of the Children’s Media Foundation, said: “The Children’s Media Foundation welcomes the confirmation that the new Contestable Content Fund will focus on the children’s audience. It’s a much-needed stimulus for the U.K.’s children’s media makers, and we hope it will bring new and exciting content for children of all ages that could not otherwise have been commissioned.”
John McVay, chief executive of Pact, added: “Pact has long campaigned for increased investment in original children’s content to incentivize new entrants to the market. This, along with the introduction of the PSB criteria through the Digital Economy Act, will encourage the commercial PSBs back to the table and foster new talent.”
The funding will be distributed over three years as part of a pilot starting in 2019. Programs from new and diverse backgrounds, and those made in the nations and regions, will be a particular focus.