The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

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

Joined-up Policy

CMF Director Greg Childs gives an assessment of the current policy initiatives which should lead to more content for children and young people being produced in the UK.

With the Young Audiences Content Fund potentially working hand-in-hand with Ofcom's requirement on the public service commercial broadcasters to come up with more content for children and teens - the prospects for innovative, relevant, UK-based content looks more positive than for some time.

Read our analysis of current policy initiatives here, or watch the presentation in this short video.

Children's Media Yearbook

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

Published by CMF, the 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).

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 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. CMF has provided a full run-down of what's known so far about the criteria and priorities of the £57m Fund, and how it will relate to the public service commercial broadcasters in the UK.

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 its resources to the young audience.

The BFI have now recruited a Head of Fund - the former Head of Acquisitions and Independent Animation at BBC Children's - Jackie Edwards.

"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

The Ofcom Children's Content Review identified three main issues with the supply of programmes by the commercial public service broadcasters:

  • 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

Ofcom acknowledged the complexity of contemporary kids' media so chose not regulate at this time. Instead they wrote to ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 with a request to them to formulate proposals to improve provision by March 2019.

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

Making the Internet Safe

CMF is contributing to a number of the negates on various aspects of internet safety for children and young people. We believe that in general the major platform and social media providers should do more to make their sites "default family friendly", to improve media literacy amongst parents, and provide parental controls that are "default on".

Latest news:

September 2018: 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. CMF is contributing new research to the CMO's consultation.

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.

March 2019 will see the next phase of the UK Government Internet Safety Strategy - a White Paper. The CMF response to the Green Paper is here.

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

"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."

Sir Philip Pullman, Author and Founder Patron,