There has been a glowing reaction to the BBC’s pledge of an additional £34 million (US$44 million) to the UK pubcaster’s kids television efforts over the next three years.
TBI rounds up statements emerging from around the UK TV industry…
Anna Home, founder and patron of the Children’s Media Foundation
“The Children’s Media Foundation [CMF] welcomes the new investment in children’s programming announced today by the director general, Tony Hall, as part of the BBC’s annual plan.
“It recognises the importance of this audience and the way children’s viewing habits are rapidly changing in the new digital world.
It also recognises the need for the BBC as the national public broadcaster to invest in British content and culture for children, something CMF has been championing for many years.
“We look forward to hearing about these new policies in much greater detail this evening when they will be discussed by Alice Webb and James Purnell in the opening session of this year’s Children’s Media conference in Sheffield.”
Spokesperson for indies body PACT
“Pact is delighted with the additional BBC investment in original children’s content over the next three years. The investment makes it all the more important that Terms of Trade are applied to digital content too – including online first and short form commissions – for the new online kids hub.
“Terms of Trade for digital content will give producers more control over their intellectual property, help boost innovation and the digital economy.
“Terms of Trade introduced through the Communications Act 2003 have helped grow the TV industry from a small cottage industry to a world leader in the space of a decade”.
Miles Weaver, director of product marketing at TV tech firm Piksel
“There is increased competition for a limited amount of entertainment time, with OTT services such as Netflix, and other players, such as social networks, turning up the heat for established broadcasters to maintain their share of viewer attention. It’s fascinating to see a British broadcasting institution change to reflect the viewing habits of a younger generation.
“This news, coupled with YouTube’s recent milestone of reaching 1.5 billion viewers per month, shows how and why this industry must change and why the BBC is pushing to confront this challenge.
“Operators must realise that putting linear channels at the heart of strategies is backward, and has led to short-termism, where decisions are not thought through strategically.
“A focus on immediate profit does not take into account long-term trends and places businesses at risk. Jobs are on the line, and re-engineering operations to build a new model is expensive and time consuming. So keeping heads below the parapet is an easier, “safer” decision.
“Long term, this will pose severe problems for media companies that do not reinvent themselves as the BBC is starting to do. To stay relevant and avoid losing the battle for the living room to disruptors and competitors, incumbents should focus on a digital-first model, where linear channels are but one output of a multi-channel platform, where they own the audience, and where they are quick to react to new trends.
“Hopefully this move by the BBC will keep them at the forefront of British entertainment for many years to come.”
Josh Krichefski, CEO, MediaCom
“Clearly, the opportunity to create engaging content that audiences now expect to see simply cannot be ignored and the platform that wins will be the one that provides the highest quality content, places personalisation at the heart of everything and makes the viewing experience all the more intimate.
“The BBC’s investment in video, live online programming, vlogs, podcasts, games and apps indicates that it will place online at the very core of everything it does. In a digital world, this is a positive step in the right direction but the key will be to attract younger audiences whilst also ensuring existing BBC viewers don’t feel alienated and that BBC heritage in high quality content is maintained.
“The likes of Netflix, Now TV and Amazon have spent many years building their offering and they have the subscribers and industry power to show for it. But even they suffer if viewers don’t respond well to content quality and storytelling – recent cancellations such as Good Girls Revolt and Sense8 show that even in on-demand, content and therefore viewing figures is king.
“Only if the BBC can combine its content heritage with platform innovation will it truly be able to start catching up with some of the on-demand leaders.”