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03/01/2018

Funding Boost For Children's Television In UK


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A new pilot scheme has been announced to help increase the range of children's television in the United Kingdom. 



Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced the government's response to the consultation on the Contestable Fund, outlining proposals for up to £60 million to be made available for content creators to receive up to 50% of the production and distribution costs of original television shows. 



The fund, which is still in development, would be available for content broadcast on commercial Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs), in addition to other free and widely available channels and on-demand platforms, as well as potentially online. 



Over the past 10 years, the output of children's television from PSBs in the UK has declined, with spending falling my £55m. It is hoped that this new investment will help reverse this trend. Furthermore, the initiative is aimed at stimulating greater variety in a market where the BBC is often the dominant buyer and broadcaster of children's content. For example, in 2016, the BBC accounted for 87% of all first run UK originated children's programming by PSBs.

The pilot is intended to complement other measures taken by government in this area, including the introduction of a children's TV tax break and new powers given to Ofcom.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: "High quality children's television is not only entertaining but plays a vital role in stimulating learning and giving young people a greater understanding of the world around them. This significant investment will give our world-renowned television production sector the boost it needs to create innovative content for a wider audience that would otherwise not be made."

The cash will be distributed over three years as part of a pilot commencing in 2019. Programmes from new and diverse backgrounds, and those made in the nations and regions, will be a particular focus. The funding for the pilot has been made available as a result of unspent funds from the previous licence fee settlement.

The BFI has been provisionally appointed as administrator for the fund, and will work with government on its final design, including whether the fund should include other genres in its scope.
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