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Kids’ Stuff

Tue, Mar 31, 2009

TV & Media Industry

child watching tv

[Photo by Aaron Escobar]

Been spending quite a lot of time scanning through the EPG recently, feverishly making notes of trends in channel outputs, trying to identify gaps in the schedules that Not From Concentrate and its growing community might be able to fill.

More detail on that later, but in terms of what channel seems to be offering the greatest choice to its audience and consistently delivering fresh, mainly homegrown, content then it seems to me that CBBC is the frontrunner here, and should be the benchmark that other channels and broadcasters would do well to emulate and build upon.

Kids TV Schedules

Every day – albeit only 12 hours – pretty much every genre is covered for its anklebiting and above audience. Allow me to demonstrate:

Animation: Funky Fables; Street Monsters; Arthur; Pinky and Perky
Arts & Music: SMart; Dance Factory
Comedy / LE: Rocket Boy & Toro; The Showoff Monster; Basil Brush; ChuckleVision; Uncle Max; Hider in the House
Current Affairs / News: Newsround
Drama: Scoop; The Sarah Jane Adventures; The Revenge Files of Alistair Fury, The Falls of Faith; The Story of Tracy Beaker
Education: Get 100; Hot Rods
Factual: Only in America
Factual Entertainment: 50/50; Escape from Scorpion Island
Lifestyle: Best of Friends; Who Wants to be a Superhero
Multicultural: Jakers: The Adventures of Piggley Winks; Paradise Cafe; Three Delivery
Sport: Eliot Kid

Perhaps a couple of slightly tenuous classifications here, but pretty much the only clear genre missing is religion, although Reggie Yates does seem to have Messiah-like omnipresence on the channel.

Combine this TV schedule with multiple opportunities for the young audience to engage online, and you’ve got an enviable multiplatform proposition that offers real choice and diversity of content genres and production methods.

Quickly cross-referencing the producers in the schedule, shows a sizeable chunk produced by the Beeb – natch – but 50%+ produced by UK indies and a minimal amount of acquisitions.

BBC1 Schedule Comparison

Comparing this schedule to that of BBC1 on the same day – with an extended timeframe [18 hours] – does show a marked difference:

Arts & Music: Film 2009
Comedy / LE: The Weakest Link
Current Affairs/News: News; Breakfast
Drama: Doctors; Diagnosis Murder; EastEnders; Holby City; All The Small Things; Damages
Factual: Missing Live; The Planners Are Coming
Factual Entertainment: Homes Under The Hammer; To Buy Or Not To Buy; Cash In The Attic; Bargain Hunt
Lifestyle: The One Show

Pretty weak, huh? Animation does figure actually, but just during the children’s hour, and by shoehorning in repeats from CBBC. Really bugger all education, multicultural, sport or even comedy programming. There’s a massive bias towards done-to-death in-house productions and a smattering of US acquisitons. Indies don’t get much of a look-in and innovation is non-existent.

Dr Seuss apparently said “Adults are obsolete children”, so broadcasters could – and should – adopt more of a CBBC approach to their scheduling and creativity to enrich the viewer experience. Try it. We might like it.

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5 Responses to “Kids’ Stuff”

  1. Nigel Anderson says:

    As a parent of a one year old I’ve been amazed at the quality of programming on CBeebies, the infant version of CBBC, but was worried by this in the Observer the other day about how appalling TV for older children is:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/22/bbc-cbbc-childrens-television

    I don’t know because I don’t watch it, but as a writer I’ll maybe think of it as an opportunity.

  2. UHT MILK says:

    Even I like the chuckle brothers, basil brush and Hider in the house, in fact I want to be a childrens TV presenter – I’ll do it in the style of a vicar if they’re missing a religious element…it’s worth a thought.

    Any production co’s signed in? Hmmm?

    Welsh Blessings
    MILK.

  3. Paul Treacy says:

    This might go down well on kids tv; http://www.vimeo.com/6447987
    No idea how to get it there though.

  4. Nicki Fineman says:

    Great blog post. Really looking forward to reading more.

  5. thomas charms says:

    Absolutely brilliant post guys, essential reading

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