The children’s content budget has decreased by 8% in the last eight years.
Pact, Children’s Media Foundation and Animation UK said that the figure should not fall below £100m per year for the next Charter period.
The groups want the BBC to commit 8% of its annual original content budget to children’s programming.
Pact’s chief executive, John McVay, commented: “Pact published a report a year ago with the Ragdoll Foundation outlining our concern about the crisis of choice in children’s TV. Although this joint statement doesn’t solve the issue of the lack of commercial PSB investment in children’s programming, we think that such a commitment by the BBC would go some way to securing excellent content for British children in the future. We want to secure a children’s production sector in the UK that is both internationally competitive and one that we can continue to be proud of.”
The BBC makes up 97% of all spend on new children’s content in the UK. Since 2003, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have reduced spending on children’s by 95% – £58m in 2003, compared to £3m in 2013.
Oli Hyatt from Animation UK added: “Animation UK is pleased to be part of this initiative to secure original content for children on the BBC. Ring fencing the BBC budget at this level would be the first step in slowing the erosion of UK PSB content for children, and would stop the rapid decline of original programming for under 16s on the BBC.”
The groups say they support the continued existence of the licence fee, but propose that the Government develops a Children’s Alternative Fund to stimulate broadcasters and other platforms to commission and carry UK-focused children’s content.