UK kidcaster CBeebies is launching a new look and sked next month in a play to tighten its already strong grip on the attention of preschoolers in the territory’s increasingly competitive kids TV market.
‘We started to look a bit old fashioned, a bit flat’ says Michael Carrington, CBeebies, creative director, explaining why the net has decided to reinvigorate itself.
Come March 19, along with a fresh set and a rejigged online look, the net has divided its new sked into four distinctive blocks meant to mirror the rhythms and daytime routines of its demographic. First up is the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Get Set Go block that will aim to capture the 4 to 6 demo with upbeat programs like Lazytown and short-form animation. Cbeebie’s new 30 x 10-minute in-house production Tommy Zoom is also slotted in the block.
Discover and Do is up next; it features three hours of repeats directed at the non-school-attending zero to four crowd. Anchoring the block will be stalwarts Big Cook, Little Cook and Boogie Beebies.
From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Big Fun Block will look to zone-in on the after-school set, while ideally retaining their younger siblings. It will be the home of new acquisition Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies, a 52 x 11 co-pro with Nat Geo Kids that follows the title character, a sassy elephant, and a her brood. Additionally, the program utilizes BBC’s Natural History Unit and Nat Geo’s live-action nature archives.
Appropriately enough the final block has been dubbed Bedtime Hour, and is designed to capture the entire zero to six demo with shows that focus on storytelling. Beginning at 6 p.m., Ragdoll’s new In the Night Garden anchors the block. The 100 x 28-minute surreal live-action series from the mind behind Teletubbies is filmed in HD and features a magical setting where Teddy Bear Igglepiggle and his dancing friend Upsy Daisy find adventure.
Carrington adds CBeebies will be making its first foray into radio on BBC7 starting next month. The plan is to transmit three hours of kids programming between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day on terrestrial radio.
Stay tooned for more details.