UK kids broadcaster CITV will begin commissioning shows again after getting extra broadcast hours. CITV has not confirmed how much it will spend on new product, but an ITV spokesman told TBIvision budgets and programme requirements should be clarified by end-February and that the new money will be for UK-originated programming.
Previously when CITV commissioned programming it spent over £30 million on kids programming, but its new commitment will be much smaller. Industry sources said it is expected to spend £3m to £4m ($5.8m to $7.8m) a year on two or three projects.
The catalyst for the ITV move is two-fold. Digital channel CITV has had its full complement of broadcast hours returned – they were cut previously to make way for ITV4 programming, which has now found a home elsewhere. The CITV channel has also proved a commercial success, generating a £4m profit last year.
ITV spokesman Tim West said the broadcaster is still finalising its plans, but that the aim is to get UK-produced kids shows on air. He said: "It’s really about working out the best way of getting money and thinking around answers to the problem of getting British product on the channel."
UK producers welcomed the news but said the move back into commissioning raised a number of pressing questions.
"They’re not saying what they want or for what age groups – it’s almost a statement to get people off their backs as they have been under a lot of pressure," one UK indie producer told TBIVision. "But it’s great they are getting new kids programming back on."
In recent times ITV has ordered live-action series Captain Mack, from UK producer Fireback. But that show was originally greenlit several years ago as an animated project before resurfacing in its live-action guise.