Advanced Television

Content industry ‘Responding to the Crisis of Childhood’ campaign

February 29, 2024

Figures from the UK children’s content industry, regulators, academics, policy makers and advocates for young people’s wellbeing came together today at the Children’s Media Summit 2024 on February 28th to try to find answers to the major issues faced by the children’s audience and the industry in these rapidly changing times.

Organised by the Children’s Media Foundation, the summit examined the issues and consequences surrounding the massive shifts that have occurred as older children and teenagers migrate from linear channels to new and unregulated video-sharing platforms, often on social media, where very little UK public service content features.

Affecting not only young people themselves, the shift has long term implications for UK culture and society as young people fail to find relevant and appropriate UK content on international platforms. Meanwhile the loss of audience is already impacting on the children’s media industry, as commissioning reduces in response to the lost revenue.

This has in turn significantly affected the availability and effectiveness of public service and culturally relevant content for children and young people in this country and could have life-changing effects on their well-being and sense of self, and their connections with each other, and with the world around them.

Having consulted representatives from producers and broadcasters of children’s content, including the BBC, ITV, C4, C5, Sky, Pact, Animation UK and the UK Children’s Media Plan, the summit has resulted in the production of a Responding to the Crisis of Childhood campaign document which the Children’s Media Foundation is inviting the industry and children’s advocates to support on their website.

Closing the event, Nigel Pickard, Board Director, Children’s Media Foundation (CMF) said: “We are facing a cultural crisis as research from Ofcom reveals the dramatic shift in audience viewing as children and teenagers migrate to unregulated platforms such as YouTube and TikTok. At this summit we call on policy makers to address these issues in order to ensure that today’s children’s audience be given access to the same range of culturally relevant, trusted and life-affirming content that was made available to previous generations, in a form and on platforms that reflect the way children and young people live today.”

Contributors to the summit included: Paul Lindley, OBE author of Raising the Nation; Director of Children’s and Education, BBC, Patricia Hidalgo; Lucy Murphy, Director of Kid’s Content, Sky UK and ROI; John McVay CEO Pact, Kate O’Connor, Executive Chair Animation UK,  Magnus Brooke ITV Group Director of Strategy, Policy and Regulation.

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