The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

The Children’s Media Foundation – improving media choices for UK kids

Young Audiences Content Fund

After years of campaigning by CMF and others, the fund to create new public service content for children and young people is now only 6 months away for becoming a reality.  

The DCMS has handed over the plans for their newly announced Young Audiences Content Fund to the British Film Institute, which will fine-tune the criteria and operation of the Fund prior to launch in April 2019.

The DCMS policy paper revealed that £3m of the Fund's money would go to a new Audio Content Fund for public service content on commercial radio, and the remaining £57m remains dedicated to the the Fund for young audiences over the next three years.

It's now clear that the Fund will be operated by the BFI and provide up to 50% of finance for projects that have the backing of one of the three commercial public service  platforms: ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5.

Content proposals will have to meet criteria around diversity, nations and regions representation, indigenous UK languages, quality and innovation.

The BFI will be working with industry stakeholders on fine-tuning, and CMF will seek to be involved. Our reaction to the plan is broadly supportive but we are concerned about over-emphasis on newcomers producing content. We are calling for a broad mix of content from the challenging and innovative to tried and trusted genres such as drama and comedy - to ensure a wide reach.

The Funds will be assessed after their first and second years of operation.

This is a major success, following intense lobbying over several years by the CMF - first, to create awareness in politicians that a fund was needed, and secondly, to ensure that the fund proposed early in 2017 would dedicate the whole of its resources to the children's audience.

"What's Next for UK Kids?"

CMF staged the big policy debate at the annual Children's Media Conference in Sheffield on 4th July 2018.  Over 450 delegates crowded in to hear a message from Minister, Margot James MP and debate the future of UK kids' content in the face of Brexit, new funding, re-regulation and more.

What's Next for UK Kids can be seen in full here.

Ofcom Review - What Next?

The Ofcom Children's Content Review identified three main issues on the commercial public service b broadcasters (ITV, Channel 4 and Five) which are very much in tune with the CMF submission to their consultation:

  • A lack of original, high-quality programmes specifically made for older children across all genres
  • A limited range of programmes that help children understand the world around them
  • A limited range of original, high quality children’s programmes that allow UK children of all ages and backgrounds to see themselves and their lives reflected on screen

Despite their new powers to impose regulation on the PSBs Ofcom instead acknowledged the complexity of contemporary kids' media habits and wrote to the main PSB Channels asking them to reveal their proposals to improve provision by the spring of 2019.

CMF's reaction to the Report findings and recommendations can be seen here.

Children's Media Yearbook

The 2018 edition of the children's Media Yearbook is available now.

Published by CMF, this sixth Yearbook is packed with articles on the way children watch, the latest trends in content, research outcomes, policy discussions and news of success and innovation in every field of children's media.

It's available to download (cost: £7.95), or in hard copy which delivers within a few days (cost: £10 + p&p).

Making the Internet Safe

The debate on internet safety for children is now very live in the public space - and from many perspectives - cyberbullying, addiction, data privacy, inappropriate content on social media sites and many more.

In September Health Minister (and former Culture Secretary) Matt Hancock MP asked the Chief Medical Officer to come up with a guideline for the healthy use of social media by children and young people. The advice is expected in December 2018.

Meanwhile the next phase of the UK Government Internet Safety Strategy outlines their conclusions after their public consultation on the Internet Safety Green Paper. They plan to produce a White Paper before the end of 2018. The CMF response to the Green Paper is here.

Baroness Beeban Kidron, founder of 5Rights has published a report on 'persuasive design’ practices that deliberately keep children online to collect their data for commercial gain.

The House of Lords Communications Committee is also conducting an inquiry into potential regulation of the internet.  CMF contributed to this in May 2018.

Research

Research Blog image

CMF's Research for Parents answers parents' concerns about their kids' media use, with an accessible explanation of the most respected current research.

"Children, and the media they use, are frequent topics of public concern and debate. The Children's Media Foundation will stimulate and participate in this debate - across the entire range of media that children experience."

Philip Pullman, Author and Founder Patron,