The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

New Campaign Organisation to Save Kids’ Content

CMF recently attended the well-supported launch of the new Save Kids’ Content UK campaign. in this article, campaign organiser William Pett outlines its aims and the challenges of revitalising UK independent children’s TV production.

save_kids_content_021-1The decline of UK-made children’s TV over the past fifteen years has been quite remarkable. The ill-conceived Communications Act 2003 downgraded children’s content from Tier 2 to Tier 3 programming, thus relieving commercial Public Service Broadcasters of their obligation to meet quantitative targets of children’s programming. The government sleepwalked into facilitating a dramatic decline in children’s content, one that was compounded in 2006 when Ofcom issued an advertising ban on high fat, salt and sugar foods (HFSS) around programmes watched by children. Though an important ruling for children’s health, the ban further reduced revenues that commercial PSBs could make on children’s content.

The Save Kids’ Content UK campaign has been set up to raise awareness of this issue in the media and amongst parliamentarians. Whilst the decline of children’s TV has been widely reported on within the industry, parents across the country are largely unaware of the decline. The campaign seeks to build support amongst the public and increase the pressure on the government to better support what is now a struggling industry.

save_kids_content_029The campaign launch took place in Parliament last month, and this saw speeches by the shadow education minister Lord Watson, the former children’s minister Tim Loughton MP and the Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie. There is a real cross-party interest, and indeed enthusiasm, amongst parliamentarians for tackling the issue.

The focus of the campaign is now on trying to galvanise public support for Save Kids’ Content UK, get senior representatives from across the television industry behind the campaign, and to explore with parliamentarians the best means of better supporting UK production companies. Save Kids’ Content UK is optimistic that, working with organisations such as the Children’s Media Foundation, we will be able to facilitate change.

Anna Home (CMF Chair) writes in response:
As the children's Media Foundation has long made the same argument, we fully support the aims of the Save Kids' Content campaign. We hope that it will succeed in raising levels of public support and increase political awareness of the issues.

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The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)