Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Child's play

The current permanent vacancy running BBC output for children (based in Salford Quays) may have reminded the Executive they've got a problem with falling audiences for CBBC.

It was Auntie's most expensive tv network in 2013/4, at 15.4p per user hour. In October 2010, the channel's monthly audience share was 0.8%; in October 2014 it was 0.5%. Its figures have been static for the last six months, whilst the total audience share for children's output as a genre across all providers grew from 4.8% to 5.08%.

The Trust have been on the case since a review in September last year, and called for more action in their foreword to the Annual Report.  So here comes a reverse ferret. In 2012/13, BBC2 rebroadcast 1,360 hours of children's output. In 2013/14, that figure was zero. From Saturday 29th November, BBC2 will re-broadcast CBBC from 0600 to 1000. This will displace various old films and repeats, and weekend BBC TV reliance in general on James Martin. (In an extraordinary example of tv eating itself, nay gorging on its own entrails, BBC2 on Sunday has James Martin's Saturday Kitchen Best Bites, usually followed by two James Martin repeats).

The move may remind parents of CBBC's existence - that must be the hope. In the peculiar BBC way of accounting, BBC2 Controller Kim Shillinglaw, will have to give some of her channel's budget to CBBC. It may work out at less than 200 hours over a year, but it's something.  

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