The BBC has announced its biggest investment in children’s services in a generation, allocating an additional £34 million across three years to 2019/20, over and above existing budgets.
It will fund an enhanced online offer for children, with new forms of content and interactivity, and allow this to be delivered alongside the BBC’s children’s television channels, CBeebies and CBBC.
The announcement was included in the BBC’s Annual Plan for 2017/18, which was published today (July 4). The Annual Plan contains information on three areas, namely the BBC’s creative plans for 2017/18; its three year strategy and work plan for 2017/18; and each BBC services’ contribution to distinctiveness.
Aside from the increased investment in children’s services, the BBC’s three-year strategy includes a focus on persaonalisation, with the broadcaster’s goal being to provide audiences with a better service if it knows who they are and what they might be interested in. It says that audiences should be able to discover its content across all BBC services, powered by sophisticated, intelligent search.
Speaking about the Annual Plan, Sir David Clementi, BBC chairman said: “This Annual Plan outlines how we will strengthen the core values of public service broadcasting for all audiences – first and foremost through the brilliant year of programmes and services that it describes. And it offers a framework against which the Board will be able to assess the performance of the BBC and monitor progress. We are united as a Board in implementing these plans with one voice.”
Tony Hall, BBC DG, added:“Our ambition to reinvent the BBC for a new generation is our biggest priority for next year. Every part of the BBC will need to contribute to meeting this challenge. In this plan we set out our creative vision and some of the strategic decisions we will need to take to help us achieve that goal. The new funding we’ve announced today for our Children’s services – the biggest investment for a generation – will help us ensure we can maintain our reputation for world class programmes across our linear channels but also increasingly offer a personalised online offering for our younger viewers. By keeping our focus on our audiences we’ll be best placed to meet the challenges ahead of us and will ensure the BBC of 2022 continues to serves the whole of the UK.”
In an early response to the additional investment in children’s services, Josh Krichefski, CEO, MediaCom, said: “Video on demand services have transformed how we watch TV and film. The younger generation have been brought up online, a third of teenagers regularly view TV content via a smartphone and 38% name on-demand as their most common way to view, higher than the 35% who watch most of their TV live. Clearly, the opportunity to create engaging content that audiences now expect to see simply cannot be ignored and the platform that wins will be the one that provides the highest quality content, places personalisation at the heart of everything and makes the viewing experience all the more intimate.
“The BBC’s investment in video, live online programming, vlogs, podcasts, games and apps indicates that it will place online at the very core of everything it does. In a digital world, this is a positive step in the right direction but the key will be to attract younger audiences whilst also ensuring existing BBC viewers don’t feel alienated and that BBC heritage in high quality content is maintained. The likes of Netflix, Now TV and Amazon have spent many years building their offering and they have the subscribers and industry power to show for it. But even they suffer if viewers don’t respond well to content quality and storytelling – recent cancellations such as Good Girls Revolt and Sense8 show that even in on-demand, content and therefore viewing figures is king. Only if the BBC can combine its content heritage with platform innovation will it truly be able to start catching up with some of the on-demand leaders.”