In response to calls by the BBC and Channel 4 for greater prominence for their digital services, the Commercial Broadcasters Association (COBA) has fired back – warning that intervention should not include changes to traditional linear TV, as doing so could damage much-needed investment in UK children’s programming.
According to COBA, its multichannel members invested £23m in first-run, UK-made children’s programming last year, representing one of the biggest sources of investment in home-grown kids content outside the BBC. It says forcing them to move their traditional linear channels to worse positions on the TV programme guide, so that BBC children’s channels can take their places, would reduce audiences for commercial channels, damage their ability to generate ROI, and so reduce their ability to invest in programming such as Disney’s First Class Chef (pictured here). COBA goes on to argue that the BBC children’s channels are already performing successfully and “do not require further prominence”.
Adam Minns, COBA’s executive director, said: “Investment in UK-made children’s content by multichannel broadcasters should not be taken for granted, particularly given declining commissions from Public Service Broadcasters and competition from online services. As broadcasters, COBA members are heavily regulated, they provide a safe environment for UK children, and they invest their own money in home-grown content. The net result of moving BBC channels up the TV guide and commercial channels down will be less investment in British children’s TV.”