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Lobby groups call for BBC kids' TV funding promise

Lobby groups call for BBC kids' TV funding promise
Jon Creamer
15 February 2016

A group of leading children’s TV lobby groups are calling for the BBC to make a funding commitment to original children’s programming.

Pact, Children’s Media Foundation and Animation UK are calling for the BBC to commit to a minimum of 8% of its annual original content budget for network programming to be allocated to children’s programming, and for the actual figure to not fall below £100m per year over the course of the next Charter period.
The organisations says they are particularly concerned that the BBC Children’s content budget has decreased by 8% since 2008  and has not been ring-fenced from BBC cuts over recent years, with further cuts announced in 2015 still to be implemented (although the BBC Director for Children’s has initially indicated that investment in children’s content will be maintained).

There is also concern as the BBC makes up 97% of all spend on originated children’s content in the UK while there has been a dramatic reduction in spend and investment in children’s content by the commercial PSBs, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 over the last ten years.
John McVay, Chief Executive at Pact, said: “Pact published a report a year ago with the Ragdoll Foundation outlining our concern about the crisis of choice in children’s TV. Although this joint statement doesn’t solve the issue of the lack of commercial PSB investment in children’s programming, we think that such a commitment by the BBC would go some way to securing excellent content for British children in the future. We want to secure a children’s production sector in the UK that is both internationally competitive and one that we can continue to be proud of”.
Anna Home, Chair of the Children’s Media Foundation (CMF) said: “The Children’s Media Foundation supports the proposed target as the minimum needed to fulfil the BBC's essential and unique public service role in the provision of culturally and socially relevant content for children and young people in the UK”.
Oli Hyatt from Animation UK said: “Animation UK is pleased to be part of this initiative to secure original content for children on the BBC. Ring fencing the BBC budget at this level would be the first step in slowing the erosion of UK PSB content for children, and would stop the rapid decline of original programming for under 16s on the BBC.
Historically, funding for children's programming has been disproportionately low, and with the industry that supplies it at breaking point, the BBC can use this initiative to show the value it places on children's TV. The 8% represents an improved but not ideal position, with 19% of our population being under 16 the imbalance is obvious. However we believe this is a realistic and achievable red line that the BBC should be held to’.

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