BBC Director-General Tony Hall has announced that the Corporation will spend an additional £34 million (€38.7m) on content and services for children over the next three years, describing it as its biggest investment in children’s services in a generation, enabling the Corporation to deliver an enhanced online offer for its youngest audiences.
This new investment will enable the BBC to reinvent how it serves its youngest audience in the years ahead. It will fund an enhanced online offer for children, with new forms of content and interactivity. The funding will mean that this can be delivered alongside the BBC’s children’s television channels, CBeebies and CBBC.
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.
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:
“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. “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.”
“Our audience is rapidly changing and now more than ever we need to keep up,” added Alice Webb, Director, Children’s. 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.”