As the Beeb carries out its initiative to strengthen its role in home-produced children’s content in the UK, the BBC Trust has endorsed of a package to reinforce the creative strength of BBC Children’s and help CBBC maintain its position.
This includes an additional investment of approximately US$41.8 million over three years, an internet focus on children’s audio content, a plan to up the Children’s websites budget by roughly US$1.6 million to build quality and reach, and to continue monitoring the CBBC program block on BBC One with the development of a half-hour daytime show that will air weekdays at 5:30 p.m.
The multimillion dollar investment will be funneled into making new, original shows for kids, in particular drama and comedy. Additionally, some of the money will help fund further seasons of 3rd & Bird and Kerwhizz for CBeebies.
The Beeb will also be focusing on streamed, downloadable audio content for children on the internet, and the CBeebies website will relaunch in November, with every page featuring a link to a new version of the CBeebies Radio Player.
As for the CBBC site, the company is looking to increase weekly reach by April 2010 to 900,000 unique users through improved search engine navigation and the development of multi-platform commissions for shows such as Horrible Histories, Tracy Beaker and Serious Explorers.
As for kids content on BBC One, Newsround and Blue Peter will stay in their respective timeslots for the next two years while development begins on a potential program alternative for the 5:30 p.m. window. The Beeb is also looking to extend CBBC channel hours and refresh its web offering with the US$1.6 million budget increase, providing series on demand through the iPlayer.