Broadcaster’s annual children’s budget will rise from £110m to £124.4m by 2019-20.
In order to keep pace with the shift to online viewing habits, the BBC has pledged the biggest investment in homegrown children’s content in a generation, hoping to curb the influence of shows backed by US rivals such as Netflix and Amazon. The broadcaster has committed to spending around £31.4m of the increased budget online.
Spending on British-made children’s programming by UK broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 has decreased sharply in the past 15 years, while services such as Netflix have plugged the hole by funding increasing numbers of original commissions for children.
In March, the BBC was asked by the regulator Ofcom to produce more UK-commissioned programming for children, and has responded by announcing a £34m budget increase over the next three years. The BBC director general, Tony Hall, and chairman, David Clementi, will announce the new children’s strategy on Tuesday with a much greater focus on online content.
A BBC source commented: “Tony Hall has set a clear challenge: to reinvent the BBC for a new generation. The way children and young people are watching and consuming programmes and other content is changing fast, and the BBC needs to respond. We are exploring how new technologies can enhance how children and adults can access services and discover new content.”
The corporation said multimedia content would include video, live online programme extensions as well as clips, pictures, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, quizzes, guides games and apps. The new digital content will sit alongside the existing children’s TV channels, CBBC and CBeebies.