Channel 4 has pledged to boost its spend on programming aimed at older children to £5m annually by 2018, from its current level of £3m.
The strategy will focus on delivering content that appeals to 10-14 year olds in Channel 4’s 8pm slot.
The move follows criticism from Ofcom that C4 has not provided enough programming for older children.
The increase in spending will include a range of new programming including a new series in which Guy Martin trains unemployed Grimsby teenagers in construction and engineering; new 8pm drama, The ABC, set in a multicultural comprehensive school in Northern England; the pilot of new studio format Kidology; as well the return of Child Genius and Educating… which will return to a new school in 2017.
Channel 4’s Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt said: “Over the past three years we’ve steadily increased our spend and our share of the 10-14 audience. This additional spend will supercharge our strategy at 8pm and deliver even more great programming for this audience. From Gogglesprogs to our new drama ABC, we are commissioning hours of TV that promise to be compelling for young teenagers”
In Guy’s Big Build (wt) (produced by North One Television for C4), Guy Martin will recruit a group of unemployed Grimsby teenagers, who will be hired and trained in construction and engineering, to deliver a technical and engineering challenge on a site in Lincolnshire. It will feature the upcycling of old military hardware such as tanks, helicopters, planes, troop carriers and boats, and it will be powered by new cutting edge technologies – marrying the machinery of the past with the technologies of the future.
To accompany the series, Channel 4 is also developing a short form animated series for All4 which will pass on engineering knowledge about new technologies to a new generation of engineers.
The ABC (produced by The Forge for C4) marks Channel 4’s return to 8pm drama, with a new week-night series set in large Northern comprehensive school within a diverse community. The drama will air in 2017 and will be accompanied by a bespoke online series targeted specifically at older children.
Kidology (non-TX pilot produced by Boomerang) is a new studio based entertainment show that answers the questions we should all know the answers to but actually don’t. The stars of the show are kids whose curious questions will be answered by a cast of anarchic comedy players who will act out answers to questions such as ‘how do clouds float? And why do men have nipples?’ After watching the answer the kids have to decide if the answer they have been given is true or false.