BBC Ups Investment in Children’s Programming


The BBC is investing an additional £34 million ($43.9 million) in kids’ content and services over the next three years, with a significant increase in the BBC Children’s online budget.

The investment includes enhanced online offerings for little ones, with new forms of content and interactivity that can be delivered alongside CBeebies and CBBC. BBC Children’s will continue to spend the majority of its budget on those two channels. The funding will see the budget reach £124.4 million ($160.8 million) by 2019-20, up from £110 million ($142.2 million) today. By 2019-20, £31.4 million ($40.6 million) will be spent online.

The investment is part of the BBC Children’s renewed strategy outlined in the BBC’s annual plan for 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 program 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’s Director-General, commented: “We put Children’s front and center throughout the charter renewal process and [this] 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, the director of BBC Children’s, added: “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 U.K., but as our audience increasingly moves online it’s our job to stay relevant, inspiring and engaging them on whichever platform they choose. [This] announcement means that whilst we’ll continue to make exceptional, distinctive public service U.K. 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.”

Anna Home, chair and founding patron of the Children’s Media Foundation, released a statement in support of the BBC’s announcement: “The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF) welcomes the new investment in children’s programming announced [this week] by Director-General Tony Hall as part of the BBC’s annual plan.

It recognizes the importance of this audience and the way children’s viewing habits are rapidly changing in the new digital world. It also recognizes the need for the BBC as the national public broadcaster to invest in British content and culture for children, something CMF has been championing for many years.”