×

BBC Boosts Kids’ Programming to Fend Off Streaming Services, Social Media

The BBC is sinking an extra £34 million ($44 million) into its children’s services to fight off competition from Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and U.S.-owned social media platforms such as Facebook.

The U.K. public broadcaster said the money would come from cost savings elsewhere in the BBC Corporation, and that the extra cash would be used across its CBeebies service, which caters to preschool kids, and CBBC, which is for older children.

The BBC said it would invest in “new forms of content and interactivity.” On the TV side, the BBC is by far the largest funder of original programming for kids in the U.K., with ITV and Channel 4 having scaled back after rules curbing ads for unhealthy food limited the commercial value of kids’ TV for them. The BBC has, however, faced new competition from streaming services Amazon and Netflix, both of which have invested heavily in kids’ content, mostly out of the U.S.

British children are also spending more time online and on social networks, and while the BBC introduced a Kids iPlayer last year, it is mindful of losing eyeballs to newer services. Accordingly, the BBC Children’s online budget will get a significant boost and receive about a quarter of the new funding. There will be new online content, games, vlogs, podcasts, and apps.

The £34 million will be distributed over the next three years and takes the overall kids budget to £124 million.

Tony Hall, the BBC’s director general, said: “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,” said Alice Webb, director of Children’s. “We’re home to the most popular kids’ TV channels in the UK, but as our audience increasingly move[s] online, it’s our job to stay relevant, inspiring and engaging them on whichever platform they choose.”

More TV

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • TV Writer Christopher Knopf, Former WGA

    TV Writer Christopher Knopf, Former WGA West President, Dies at 91

    Prolific Emmy-nominated television writer Christopher Edwin Knopf, former president of the Writers Guild of America West, died in his sleep of congestive heart failure on Feb. 13. He was 91. Knopf was born in New York and attended UCLA, leaving during his senior year to join the Air Force during World War II. He finished [...]

  • Jussie Smollett The Black AIDS Insitute

    Jussie Smollett Case: Two Suspects Released Without Charges as New Evidence Emerges

    After two days of questioning, the Chicago Police Department announced Friday evening that it has released two suspects in the Jussie Smollett case without filing charges. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that detectives had developed new information in the case. Police no longer consider the men to be suspects. “Due to new evidence as a [...]

  • GOTHAM: L-R: Guest star Cameron Monaghan

    TV News Roundup: Fox Drops 'Gotham' Final Season Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Fox released a new trailer for an upcoming episode of “Gotham” and Disney has announced the cast for its upcoming “High School Musical” series.  FIRST LOOKS Showtime released a new trailer and the official poster for the upcoming fourth season of “Billions,” premiering March 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In [...]

  • Chris Rock

    Chris Rock to Direct Kenan Thompson Comedy Pilot at NBC

    Chris Rock has come onboard to direct the NBC single-cam comedy pilot “Saving Kenan,” Variety has learned. Rock will also executive produce the pilot, which stars “SNL” mainstay Kenan Thompson. Thompson will play a newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Apollo Global Management Buys Majority Stake in Cox TV Stations

    Private equity giant Apollo Global Management has cut a deal with Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises to buy a majority stake in Cox’s 13 TV stations as well as three newspapers and a handful of radio stations in Ohio. Apollo has been in the hunt for broadcast TV stations for some time. Cox’s station group, which includes [...]

  • Ken Jeong TV Take Podcast

    Listen: Ken Jeong on His Return to Stand-Up and New Netflix Special

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, talks with Ken Jeong about his Netflix comedy special, “Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho,” and being a judge on Fox’s “The Masked Singer.“ Jeong started working on his new standup act after ABC canceled his show “Dr. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content