The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

BBC Trust – Reviewing the Review

First CMF Evening Event welcomed over 50 to quiz the Trust and BBC on the management of services for children...

"Reviewing the Review" (25th September) was the first in a bi-monthly series of Children's Media Foundation events designed to stimulate discussion and improve understanding of children's media issues. Westminster University hosted the event, which over 50 people attended.

Shadow Minster for Broadcasting and Culture, Helen Goodman M.P. opened the event by congratulating CMF for providing a regular forum for reasonable discussion of the various media-related issues facing children and parents, and the children's content industry.

BBC Trustee Alison Hastings outlined the main findings of the Trust's Review of Children's Services - the first since 2009.   Director of BBC Children's, Joe Godwin responded and laid out some priorities for change.

Some of the key issues which emerged from the Review were:

  • the difficulty of migrating children from CBeebies to CBBC and the handling of the age range on the"edges" of both channels (4-6 and 10-12)
  • improving cross-promotion on the main BBC Channels now that there are no children's "blocks" on BBC ONE or TWO
  • interactive improvements - taking into account content for tablets and mobile
  • making children’s radio programming more available

BBC Children’s Director Joe Godwin talked about the need to better represent children across the whole of the country while avoiding concentrating on minorities to the detriment of broad, popular programming. He also felt that there was a danger in BBC Children's online and interactive output falling behind what’s expected by the market and a need to better appeal to children in other places – social platforms and video services like YouTube - though there issues yet to be resolved around social media and children.

Joe was challenged by Mike Watts of PACT, Jeanette Steemers of the University of Westminster and the VLV, and Marc Goodchildfrom the CMF on a wide-range of topics, including:

  • the unexpected impact of Delivering Quality First budget cuts -  particularly when children’s was supposed to be protected
  • the need to reach 2 million children who currently don’t consume the BBC children’s channels although they watch BBC ONE
  • the possible effect of potential top-slicing of the licence fee by future Governments.

CMF Chair, Anna Home, commented on the Event and the BBC Trust Review process:

"It was a lively and enjoyable evening and it is clear that there is a lot of support for BBC Children's.

However there was a general feeling that the Trust's response to the consultation reflected in the Review was a touch complacent and at the CMF we feel that there are still questions to be asked of both the BBC Trust and the BBC Executive about funding and the impact of cuts on commissioning; on commitments to range and diversity;  on under-serving 9 to 12 year-olds; and online/apps provision.

We will be responding to The Trust on these and other issues raised by the consultation, and we are also briefing the Culture Media and Sport Parliamentary Select Committee for their up-coming meeting with the Trust and Executive.

In the light of this summer's Ofcom report on children's PSB provision, and the continuing lack of UK-originated PSB content, the role of the BBC remains crucial.  It is important that both the Trust and the Executive accept that fact and do all they can to support children's content. CMF will do all we can to make sure they do!"  

Comments are currently closed.

The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)