BBC Children’s to target teens with extra budget

Posted on: Sunday 11 July 2010 6:38pm

From Broadcast – 8th July 2010 – by Will Strauss

BBC Children’s plans to use some of its recently approved extra budget to try to attract more teenage viewers to its CBBC channel.

Joe Godwin, director of BBC Children’s, told delegates at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield last week that if the BBC Trust approves current proposals to extend the broadcasting hours to 9pm, the channel will look beyond its regular six to 12 year-old remit and commission content that appeals to young teenagers.

The move comes as the BBC Trust backs plans to close teen strand BBC Switch.

“Extended hours and extra money will allow us to better serve the top end of our audience,” Godwin said. “We won’t change our target audience but a lot of what we do already attracts older children. [The content] we’ll look to develop will satisfy their media needs, although it won’t be badged ‘teens’ because they would run a mile.”

In May, the BBC Trust issued revised service licences for the BBC that included an £8.5m increase in the BBC Children’s budget.

During the same conference session, CBBC controller Damian Kavanagh said: “I want bigger ideas and content that kids want to talk to their friends about.”

He is looking to inspire and empower children and provide positive role models. Seriousfactual and “citizenship” drama, and an emphasis on diversity, are high on his agenda.

Kavanagh also revealed that he would start commissioning directly “into slots”. Money is set to be “pumped” into 8am – a slot that will be put out to tender – and at 5.45pm he wants “event” content.

Kavanagh urged indies to adopt a more conversational pitching style. “I want to be in a situation where I can tell [producers] yes or no quite quickly,” he said.

The Children’s Media Conference (formerly Showcomotion) ran from 30 June to 2 July in Sheffield

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