Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BBC Trust review of BBC children's services

The BBC Trust has published its review of BBC services and content for children. The overall tone is very positive, but it also makes several recommendations for improvement:
  • Scheduling decisions should prioritise children's output unless there is a strong public value reason for not doing so
  • Newsround and Blue Peter make an important contribution to the BBC's citizenship and global public purposes but audience levels have been falling in recent years and this decline has been exacerbated by recent schedule changes. The BBC Executive should boost audience numbers for content which contributes to these purposes
  • The arrangements for children's audio will have to change in light of very low audience numbers. The BBC Executive is developing a new proposal for consideration by the Trust
  • The BBC Executive should develop plans to address the decline in usage of the CBBC website.
The review also adds that:
  • There have been significant changes in the marketplace since the Executive last developed its investment plans, meaning the BBC's role as a provider of UK originated content is now even more important
  • If taken too far, the BBC's 'fewer, bigger, better' strategy could limit the range of children's output and undermine the BBC's ability to meet the needs of a diverse audience
In response, a joint statement has been issued by Jana Bennett, Director, BBC Vision, and Richard Deverell, Controller, BBC Children's.
We welcome the Trust's key recommendations, and will submit our responses over the next six months, in particular regarding CBeebies Radio; seeking the best ways of continuing to reach children via tv and the web and the overall investment plan for BBC Children's.

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