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CBeebies must invest more in UK focused shows


The BBC Trust has amended its remit for CBeebies, so the MediaCityUK-based channel broadcasts more programmes developed for UK audiences.

The new requirement has been added to its service licence to ensure CBeebies “contributes to the promotion of the BBC’s public purposes.”

The updated regulations state:

“In line with the BBC’s statutory commitments, it should show a high proportion of original productions. Together with its commissioning of new content, it should make a significant contribution to the UK children’s production sector each year.

Its output should include the following types of programmes: music and movement, storytelling, make up and make do, simple science, natural history, puzzle programmes and animation.

CBeebies should invest directly in animation co-production, and the majority of its investment in acquired programming should be in content which is developed for a UK audience at the outset.”

The channel has a budget this year of £29m and at least 50% of investment will be in pre-buys, rather than other forms of acquisition.

Today, Joe Godwin, director of BBC Children’s stated in his blog:

“A lot of our content is officially defined as being “acquisitions” – whilst this might make you think it must be ready-made stuff we buy from other producers, in reality it simply means we don’t fully fund it. We “pre-buy” it – which means we commit to  invest and get involved in storylines and scripts from the outset, before a single frame is created.

“So we get the highest quality programmes, tailored for our audience, at a fraction of the full cost. And because CBeebies is one of the world’s leading preschool channels, and producers want our involvement, we get the same level of editorial input and script approval that we would if it was a fully-funded BBC production. On CBeebies all this “acquired” programming is animation, which is so expensive to produce, few broadcasters have ever fully funded it, and it has always required international co-productions and broadcaster co-operation. Animation is by its nature easier to “localise” by re-dubbing, which is why UK animation made to CBeebies exacting requirements can also be easily sold to other broadcasters.”

He added that the changes didn’t mean that budgets for CBeebies would be cut, instead it’s “making better use of new programmes and being less reliant on some older ones.”

No other channel reflects what life is like for children growing up in the UK, and no other pre-school channel spends so much on British production.The BBC is committed to the provision of high quality Children’s content, and has a duty to encourage UK production,” he added.

CBeebies is aimed at children aged 6 and under.

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