BBC Children’s Productions will soon be under new management as it shifts from operating as a unit of the pubcaster, to being overseen by commercial arm BBC Studios. This transition should be a done deal by April 2022, and it plays into the BBC’s plans to build up its commercial income.
The crux of this strategy is to increase BBC Studios’ financial returns by 30% within five years. Seating BBC Children’s Productions under the BBC Studios structure will allow the unit to compete in the market for commissions and work with a broader range of partners beyond the pubcaster. In a press release, the BBC acknowledged that the global children’s entertainment market has grown dramatically in the past few years.
A BBC spokesperson said to Kidscreen that it’s too early to say if this will mean new hires, but this was not a proposal made with an eye towards making redundancies.
BBC Children’s Productions just announced last week that it has hired Tali Walters to lead drama production. Helen Bullough the head of BBC Children’s Production will be overseeing the move, according to a BBC spokesperson.
For its part, BBC Studios is actively working on several kids productions, including Bluey with Australia’s Ludo Studios. It also recently signed a deal with YouTube Originals for a new series called Workout Badges. Henrietta Hurford-Jones is currently the division’s director of children’s and content partnerships. BBC says there will be no impact on the Studios staff who work on children’s already.
The BBC is hoping to turn some of its proprietary kids shows into global entertainment brands that will air on a wide variety of broadcasters and platforms beyond its own channels. It plans to leverage the in-house marketing team’s expertise to sell its children’s programming to more buyers in order to generate a greater return on investment. BBC Children’s Productions is the maker of series including Blue Peter, JoJo & Gran Gran (pictured) and My Mum Tracy Beaker.
BBC Three’s in-house production team and BBC Global News will also move under the auspices of BBC Studios.