The British kids TV industry has been handed an $81M boost to fund the next Peppa Pig and Teletubbies – money that will be available for SVOD services including Netflix and Amazon, commercial broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4, as well as the BBC.
The government will fund up to 50% of the production and distribution of new kids shows as part of the deal, which will help stem the declining business, which has seen spending fall by $74M over the last ten years. Spending on home-grown children’s programming by public service broadcasters fell by 26% between 2006-16. In 2016, the BBC, which runs kids channels CBBC and CBeebies, accounted for 87% of all children’s programming.
This contestable funding pot, which will be run by the British Film Institute (BFI), was first mooted by the government in May 2016. A detailed policy paper will be published in 2018 setting out how the fund will work, with the first awards distributed from the beginning of 2019/20.
Teletubbies creator Anne Wood welcomed the funding, saying kids TV producers “desperately need more support.” Anna Home, Chair of the Children’s Media Foundation, said it was a “much-needed stimulus for the UK’s children’s media-makers, and we hope it will bring new and exciting content for children of all ages that could not otherwise have been commissioned.”
UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley added: “High-quality children’s television is not only entertaining, but plays a vital role in stimulating learning and giving young people a greater understanding of the world around them. This significant investment will give our world-renowned television production sector the boost it needs to create innovative content for a wider audience that would otherwise not be made.”
John McVay, Chief Executive of Pact, said: “Pact has long campaigned for increased investment in original children’s content to incentivize new entrants to the market. This, along with the introduction of the PSB criteria through the Digital Economy Act, will encourage the commercial PSBs back to the table and foster new talent.”