Fewer first-run programmes and less news: The BBC’s plans to change what it offers to children have been approved by Ofcom this week. But the regulator has imposed safeguards to protect the BBC’s linear channels.
The number of first-run programmes that CBBC needs to broadcast each year has been cut from 400 to 350 hours. As part of the change, some of this quota can be used for children’s programmes that debut on the iPlayer. As a safeguard to protect the current linear CBBC service, Ofcom has stipulated that 175 hours of first-run children’s programmes must debut on the CBBC channel each year.
At the same time, the BBC has been allowed to cut the various editions of Newsround broadcast across the day on the CBBC channel, in favour of a main edition in the morning. The change is designed to focus resources on the time of the day when current CBBC audiences are most likely to be watching the news, with interest in the afternoon bulletin having declined over time. But the BBC will continue to be required to screen 35 hours of news each year on the CBBC channel. It will also need to continue to provide quality children’s news online.
CBeebies will still be required to carry at least 100 hours of first-run programmes each year, but in combination with the iPlayer. 50 hours of first-run programmes will still need to debut on the CBeebies channel. This will safeguard against the BBC moving all new / first-run programmes for pre-school children to the iPlayer.
The BBC originally planned to implement the changes at the beginning of April. Ofcom has confirmed that the BBC can now make the requested changes to its children’s services with immediate effect.
Eric Archer | RXTV Newsdesk