BBC pledges £34m investment in children's services to stave off online competition

BBC pledges £34m investment in children's services

The BBC has committed to spend an extra £34m on children's content over the next three years as part of its plans to reinvent the corporation "for a new generation" and stave off competition from media giants like Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.

The new investment, delivered following savings made across the BBC, will see the budget for children's programming reach £124.4m by 2019-20, up from the current figure of £110m.

In the three years, £31.4m will be spent online on content that will include video, live online programme extensions, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, quizzes, guides, games and apps.

Director general Tony Hall said it was "the biggest investment in children's services in a generation".

"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,” he said.

Netflix announced it was producing its first British children’s programmes late last year to broaden the appeal of its subscription streaming service and fill a gap in the market left by the UK broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 as they decreased their spend on kid’s TV.

At the same time Amazon began heavily marketing its library of children’s programming and revealed it would build a commissioning team in London.

The BBC said it wants to respond to changes to the way children "are watching and consuming programmes," as children increasingly migrate from live TV to on-demand viewing.

Meanwhile according to research from Childwise released last year, children under the age of 16 in the UK are spending more time on the internet than in front of the TV for the first time.

"Investment in British content - particularly for the young - is vital, unless we want more of our culture shaped and defined by the rise of West Coast American companies," the BBC said.

In 2016 the BBC increased its savings target by £100m to £800m a year over the next five years.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.