“The BBC must remain a cornerstone of high-quality, UK-produced children’s content. This role is even more important given widespread concerns that other public service broadcasters are reducing their investment in children’s output.”
That’s the recommendation of the BBC Trust, which oversees the work and output of the BBC, in a review published today.
It said that BBC’s services and content for children were “performing very well”. While identifying some areas for improvement, it “congratulated staff for the performance they have achieved with the resources available.”
Key findings of the report included:
- Children’s content is popular and appeals to a wide audience
- BBC services generally outperform commercial providers in terms of usage levels and quality measures
- The services make an important contribution to the BBC’s public purposes and, on the whole, offer good value for money for the licence fee payer
Recommendations for improvement included:
- Scheduling decisions should prioritise children’s output unless there is a strong public value reason for not doing so
- Newsround and Blue Peter make an important contribution to the BBC’s citizenship and global public purposes but audience levels have been falling in recent years and this decline has been exacerbated by recent schedule changes. The BBC Executive should boost audience numbers for content which contributes to these purposes
- The arrangements for children’s audio will have to change in light of very low audience numbers. The BBC Executive is developing a new proposal for consideration by the Trust
- The BBC Executive should develop plans to address the decline in usage of the CBBC website
Controller of BBC Children’s, Richard Deverell, said, “There can be no better stamp of endorsement on the work we are doing than from the parents and children who say they love and value what we do on CBeebies and CBBC. It’s a testament to the hard work, commitment and passion of everyone working on these services.”
What do you think of the BBC’s provision for children on TV, radio and the Internet?