The Party Conferences and the APPG

November 7th, 2011

None of us are professional lobbyists and it’s been ‘interesting’ learning how to navigate around Westminster and the various broadcasting Powers That Be:

“Children’s TV, ah you want Culture Media and Sport” …

…“Oh, Children’s TV: that would be Children, Schools and Families”…

“Oh that would be Education.” …

Is children’s media just a Media Industry Thing? Or an Education Thing?  Or a Biz Thing?  Moshi Monsters has a strong public service ethos at its heart but is raking in huge sums.  As the most powerful communication tool we have, what about children’s media being an Equality Thing?  When she was Minister for Equality, Harriet Harmon, talked about reaching disenfranchised young people.  Even the most disenfranchised have a telly.  When …

Save Kids’ TV & Children’s Media Foundation Survey

November 6th, 2011

Following last week’s newsletter in which we outlined the plan to merge Save Kids’ TV with the new Children’s Media Foundation, we’d now very much appreciate supporters taking ten minutes to complete a questionnaire on what the new organisation will offer and how it should be funded.

You can access the survey by following this link. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/childrensmediafoundation

For full information on the merger plans you can read last week’s newsletter articles here.

Please let us know your views. The survey will be open until midday, Friday 11th November.

Campaigns and Consultations

November 6th, 2011

The campaigning continues in various forms.

Animation

Save Kids’ TV is supporting The UK Animation Campaign which has seen significant progress in the last few weeks, with the launch of a specially-commissioned report on the state of the animation industry and the pressure from foreign competitors – many of whom have various forms of state assistance.  Campaigning for tax incentives, Oli Hyatt and the team at UK Animation have been arguing the case with MPs including Nick Clegg and Vince Cable and have had major coverage in the press.  Up-to-date information is available on the UK Animation

Save Kids’ TV Becomes the Children’s Media Foundation

October 24th, 2011

Save Kids’ TV will shortly recreate itself as an exciting new body – the Children’s Media Foundation (CMF).

SKTV is joining forces with another well-respected children’s organisation – the Children’s Film and Television Foundation – to form a new body to better serve UK

What’s New About the Children’s Media Foundation?

October 24th, 2011

The CMF’s remit will be dynamic and evolve to suit the ever-changing needs of the audience and the industry.  However it will be built on the following foundations:

Its purpose will be to pursue quality in children’s media of all kinds, on all …

What Will Remain?

October 24th, 2011

The CMF will continue to be the guardian of the Children’s Film and Television Foundation archive.
The new organisation will continue to lobby for support for children’s content, respond to government consultations, and grow public and policy-makers’ awareness.
It will continue to be a point of contact for the press and other media for comment on issues relating to children and media.
The CMF Board …

What’s Next?

October 24th, 2011

The new organisation will still need the help of the many volunteers who have worked with SKTV in the last five years, and it will certainly rely on your support.

This starts with a questionnaire which will shortly be sent to all

Anna Home outlines the vision for the CMF

October 24th, 2011

The Children’s Media Foundation has grown out of two organisations which have the interests of children at their heart – and that will remain its position.

The new organisation has the following aims:

Greg Childs outlines the Save Kids’ TV thinking behind the new organisation

October 24th, 2011

Kids… Could there be a hotter topic?  They’re either getting the best exam results ever, or they’re knife-wielding, hoody-wearing looters. They’ll be paying for our pension plans and their student debt for the rest of their lives.  They’re over commercialised, too early sexualised, , anti-political, anti-social, ASBO’d and obese and generally disengaged!

Nigel Pickard outlines industry thinking behind the new organisation

October 24th, 2011

The Save Kids’ TV story is one we can be proud of.  It’s successfully brought to the attention of the public, the press and politicians that kids’ media needs support if it’s to be the best it can be – and that they deserve the best.

VLV Evening Seminar – Wednesday 2nd November 2011

October 24th, 2011

SKTV’s Anne Brogan is on the panel at this annual event hosted by the Voice of the Listener and Viewer…

‘CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMES –
OUT OF DATE IN THE

Conferences and Events

April 27th, 2011

Keeping you up-to-date with the latest events of interest:

The Children’s Media Conference
Sheffield – 6th to 8th July 2011.
This is the event at which Save Kids’ TV was born (back in 2006). Last year over 500 professionals from every sector of the children’s content creation and distribution industries attended – from radio via TV and the internet to book publishing. The Conference covers creative, business, strategic and policy topics and this year the theme is “Thinking differently…”
Registration for the three day event is open now.  There is an early bird rate available until 15th May, and a very good rate for students, …

A Future for Film Funding

April 27th, 2011

Following the BAFTA kids’ film evening (see our February newsletter) SKTV decided we should be more proactive about the lack of funding for independent UK kids’ films.

Since the demise of the UKFC and with the BFI taking over responsibility for the enlarged Lottery Film Fund there will be a consultation about future funding policy.

In association with the Children’s Film & TV Foundation (CFTF) we will be following up the principle of proportionality and ring fencing to create a specific kids’ film fund – which we discussed with DCMS Minister, Ed Vaisey.  This idea was also raised in a recent debate in The House of …

Liaising with PACT and UK Animation

April 27th, 2011

SKTV, PACT and the UK Animation Campaign hold regular co-ordination meetings to ensure where possible we offer mutual support for media industry campaigns on issues which affect the children’s audience.

Some of the latest news from these meetings…

ITV, PACT, Channel 4 and BSkyB have jointly commissioned an independent report into the contribution made by the UK audiovisual industry to the economic growth and cultural success of the nation – and how that momentum can be sustained.  The Chief Executives of all four organisations have also written to the Prime Minister about the vital importance to the UK of the audiovisual sector’s continued investment …

A Level Playing Field

April 27th, 2011

In January this year the SKTV committee asked an Oxford MPhil student, who researches EU policy, to look into the details of how our competitors supported their Children’s Media industries.  Jack Blumenau reported back in March producing an 11 page document looking at Australia, Canada, the US and a number of European states – Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Denmark and Slovenia. We added comparative information relating to the UK to create a very persuasive document for politicians and civil servants.  As the research paper’s overview says ‘ The paper provides striking evidence of the lack of a “level playing field” for UK content producers in the …

Save Kids’ TV Keeps up the Momentum

April 27th, 2011

SKTV has been busy since the February newsletter.  We have managed to get two meetings with Ed Vaizey (pictured) – the Minister at the DCMS responsible for broadcasting.  

In the first we outlined the continuing problem of lack of funding for British content, and that over time this will affect UK kids’ attitudes to and engagement with the society in which they live, and with British culture.

It’s a topic of concern to Vaizey, though we had to do some work persuading him that it isn’t inevitable that all kids programming has to be international.  By the end of the meeting  we think he understood that drama and …

The New Politics?

February 1st, 2011

You know how it feels when everything is coming together nicely: you can see the soufflé rising, the wheat harvest ripening and the Government about to do something? Then somebody opens the oven door, the storm clouds burst and we have an Election.

So for SKTV there was a bit of a hiatus over the summer while we waited for the new Government to emerge and for the new Opposition to change its leadership. The autumn conference season gave us an

Meeting the Minister

February 1st, 2011

Jayne’s Kirkham’s efforts at the Conservative Party Conference did not go un-rewarded.  Ed Vaizey’s office duly re-arranged the meeting, and Jayne, Anna Home and Greg Childs spent a rapid-fire hour with him on the 18th of January.  The Minister knew about the campaign, the issues and our position from meetings we had when he was in Opposition.   However he still had in his head the erroneous idea that children’s programmes would inevitably be international as that was the only way to get them funded.  We made it clear

SKTV Pushes for New Research

February 1st, 2011

Here is a tough question for you: how do you know that children benefit from access to quality children’s media? We all feel confident we know the answer, but where is the evidence?  At a time when some publicity hungry academics, keen to fill up their speaking engagements, are happily rehashing obscure, poorly researched data on the ‘evils of screen time’ for children – complete with attention grabbing headline – it is vital we have the evidence to refute their claims. So Save Kids TV is now involved in a project to pull together existing research and develop new lines

BAFTA Event Explores Children’s Cinema

February 1st, 2011

BAFTA came up trumps on 21st January with an event entitled ‘Is Something Rotten in the State of Children’s Cinema?’  It’s clear that UK Television, Animation and Film industries are facing some similar (though not identical) challenges – which is why several members of the SKTV committee attended.
The session focused in the first half on the achievements of the Danish Film Institute – which are considerable.   …

And Finally… Facebook!

February 1st, 2011

We know!  It’s taken an age for us to enter the social media space.  But it’s all happening at last in Facebook.   Just days ago the SKTV Facebook group was formed so now you can drop in, have your say, ask questions, post news and keep in touch.
A simple way to spread the word has …

International Research into “the level playing field”

February 1st, 2011

Territories around the world support their creative industries in a variety of ways – including levies, subsidies, production and transmission quotas, and minimum content regulations.   Academic researcher Jack Blumenau has joined the SKTV team to look at EU states and other countries and regions which set up systems which give their media industries an advantage in attracting funding to projects, or decreasing costs.  The aim is to collate hard evidence on how other territories are digging up the “level playing field” so that we can encourage our politicians to consider the same

Time Flies…

May 16th, 2010

First an Apology…

It’s been nearly a year since we contacted our supporters and for that we apologise. However I think that many of you will have seen or heard our forays in the press and on the radio.  And we certainly haven’t been inactive.  In fact the amount of lobbying we’ve been doing is our excuse for not being in touch for so long.    

What’s Been Occuring…

Working with our allies in PACT, the VLV and the entertainment unions, we were in contact with politicians of all three main parties during the run-up to the election.  Meetings with Shadow Broadcasting Minister Ed Vaizey produced clarity, though not much support for our campaign to create a funded solution to the crisis in kids’ content provision.  The Lib-Dems …

The Children’s Media Conference

May 16th, 2010

After six successful years as Showcomotion, the annual get-together of the children’s media industry in Sheffield has changed its name to The Children’s Media Conference , to ”tell it like it is on the tin”.  The Save Kids’ TV campaign was born at the 2006 Conference, when delegates realised the seriousness and speed of the decline in commissioning and production of home-grown children’s TV.  Since then the Conference has continued to debate the issues facing content production and broadcasting, and now welcomes over 450 delegates from across all the industry sectors dealing with children and media – including radio, interacive media, games, and book publishing.  Currently the CMC is offering an “early-bird” registration price of £180 + VAT for its …

The BBC Strategy Review

May 16th, 2010

The BBC has caused a stir by announcing the possible demise of Radio Six, the Asian Network and the BBC Switch service for teenagers, as part of its Strategy Review.  The good news is that they have identified Children’s content as a strategic priority, and a beneficiary of the savings they plan to make in other areas.  Director General, Mark Thompson, recently named Children’s as a key priority, and SKTV takes some credit for keeping up the pressure on all broadcasters to recognise kids as part of their core responsibilities.

However there is a downside.  The closure of the Switch service for teens is not something we would wish to see happen and the actual money being re-prioritised into BBC Children’s is only £10m.  …

Getting to Mums…and others.

May 16th, 2010

One way in which individuals or small groups can help the cause is by using sites such as Mumsnet and Netmums to seed discussions about the issues of media and kids and to increase awareness.  It’s better if this comes from concerned parents rather than from an organisation.  There may be other websites you know where this could be of equal value.  We would welcome any of our supporters using the information on our website to stimulate interest amongst a wider constituency.  And don’t forget to suggest they sign up for the newsletter!

Lobbying…

June 5th, 2009

SKTV has been lobbying extensively in the last 6 months to gain support for the comprehensive proposal we have put together to solve the problems in the provision of quality UK-produced content of children and young people.  Meetings with all the key players in the three main political parties included discussions with Don Foster, the Lib-Dem Culture spokesperson and ED Vaizey, the Conservative Shadow broadcasting minister.  We have also had a constructive conversation with Andy Burnham the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who expressed strong support that something should be done for kids – though with reservations about where the finance would come from.

We have had several meetings with senior civil servants and advisors to the Digital …

Uncle Bulgaria takes a stand…

June 5th, 2009

PACT has re-launched their video which shows how the Wombles would be if no-one in the UK mad kids TV any more!  Now Uncle Bulgaria is asking for your support in a letter-writing campaign to Andy Burnham, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Lord Carter who is conducting the Digital Britain review.

SKTV supports the PACT campaign, as this is the perfect time to let Burnham and Carter know how important it is not let the kids’ issue take a back seat in the Digital Britain Report.  You can join Uncle Bulgaria really easily at www.britishkidstv.com and follow the campaign on Twitter  https://twitter.com/  -  search for @gtuncbulgaria.

The Last Chance Saloon…?

June 5th, 2009

The Digital Britain report is in the process of being finalised and is due for publication on the 15th June. SKTV has met with members of the Digital Britain review group, and we have been active in lobbying to ensure that the children’s issue is taken seriously and addressed in the report.

However, we remain concerned that an apparent emphasis on technology and distribution will mean that children’s content is not high on the agenda. It is also likely that kids’ issues will rank behind news and regional news. We await the report with interest…

On the public service broadcasting front, it looks as if there will be a deal for Channel 4, perhaps along the lines of a C4/BBC joint venture.

Again, …

BBC Trust publishes review of BBC’s children’s services

February 12th, 2009

Following are some key points from the BBC Trust’s review of children’s services:
Although CBeebies is perceived to be performing very well there is a recommendation that its Service licence should be amended to include a commitment to the BBC’s global public purpose (Recommendation 1)

CBBC on television is reaching a large audience. However, reach has declined since the scheduling changes made as a result of the loss of Neighbours, and there is particular concern regarding Blue Peter and Newsround audiences. The Trust is concerned about this and has asked the BBC Executive to develop plans to address this decline and report to the Trust by the summer of 2009. (Recommendation 3)

NB The Trust does not have the power to …

Campaign Lobbies Dept for Children, Schools and Families

February 12th, 2009

This relatively new ministry under Secretary of State, Ed Balls, has responsibility for pretty much everything associated with the lives of children, so SKTV identified lobbying here as vital to gain government support for the Campaign.  SKTV Executive member Katy Jones made the issues clear to senior civil servants and Floella Benjamin, who has been tirelessly working independently for the cause, met the Minister and his senior team, to impress on them what would be lost when all public service content outside the BBC disappears.  Subsequently Save Kids’ TV drew together these two approaches and held a full briefing meeting with a key ministerial advisor.  The issues were dissected in detail, and the key point SKTV made was …

Westminster eForum: Digital Britain

February 12th, 2009

SKTV Executive member Jayne Kirkham asks Lord Carter about children’s provision.

At the Westminster eForum held on 14th January 2009, policy makers from Parliament and Whitehall, professionals and stakeholders from the IT and telecoms industries met to discuss Lord Stephen Carter’s ongoing Digital Britain Report. Having heard Lord Carter state the importance of News in a healthy democracy, where a plurality of opinion can engage and include all, SKTV Executive member Jayne Kirkham wrote to him stressing that Children’s content is equally important and for the very same reasons.

Lord Carter wrote back agreeing that UK originated children’s television programming, which reflects a range of different cultures and views and which helps children learn about society, plays a much valued …

Ofom’s Final Statement on Public Service Broadcasting (PSB)

February 12th, 2009

Of the four main reports released in the first few weeks of 2009, Ofom’s Final Statement on Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) and Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report are the most significant for the SKTV campaign. They highlight support for the BBC and suggest the creation of a new public service entity involving a restructured Channel 4, possibly in partnership with BBC Worldwide, or another partner. Both reports lay a great deal of stress of the importance of plurality in news provision, both nationally and regionally.

The Ofcom report has a section on Children’s which, while reflecting good intention, reads as anodyne, and lacks any sense of urgency present in previous Ofcom statements. The report states …

Annual Review 2008

November 12th, 2008

This is a quick outline of the key events which have been on SKTV’s radar since December 2007.  The report on the Annual General Meeting is listed under October ‘08 below.

January ‘08:
SKTV took on their first professional PR representative – Liz Morris.   This immediately streamlined our approaches to and response to the press and media outlets.  A number of newspaper articles, features, radio and television appearances have been the result over the last 9 months.

BBC DG Mark Thompson and Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision responded to Anna Home’s letter of the previous year.  Their response suggested they were not fully aware of the seriousness of the crisis facing children’s media in the UK.  SKTV wrote to the Chair of …

Save Kids’ TV Discount – VLV Children’s Conference – 5th November

October 27th, 2008

The Voice of the Listener and Viewer 14th Annual Children’s Conference takes place on Wednesday the 5th November this year, at the New Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden, London WC2, from 9.15 am – 4.45 pm.  This year the theme is “Children’s Television: a glimmer of hope”.  The VLV has offered Save Kids’ TV supporters a special discounted rate of £65 including VAT, as opposed to the usual rate for individuals of £88.  This rate is not available to corporates – only to individuals.

To obtain the special Save Kids’ TV discounted rate you need to write to Linda Forbes Voice of the Listener and Viewer, PO Box 401, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 9FY and send a cheque for £65.  Please quote the

Annual General Meeting – all welcome

October 20th, 2008

The Save Kids’ TV Annual General Meeting will be held on the 28th October from 6 – 8 pm at The Windsor Room, Baden-Powell House, Queensgate, Kensington, London SW7

Speakers from the producers’ alliance PACT, the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, the Federation of Entertainment Unions and Action for Children’s Arts will join SKTV Chair Anna Home for a discussion on the achievements thus far and the campaign plans for the future.

To book your place email admin@savekidstv.org.uk

The Campaign is entering a crucial stage with the publication of the final Ofcom report on Public Service Broadcasting.  The report concludes that Ofcom is unable to use its current powers to maintain children’s provision by commercial broadcasters, and highlights four …

House of Commons Event – 21st October

October 20th, 2008

House of Commons Event – 21st October
The Performers Alliance Parliamentary Group, in association with the NUJ Parliamentary Group and the Federation of Entertainment Unions are holding a public meeting at the House of Commons on Tuesday 21st October at 10 a.m. The meeting is intended to cover the general issues under the heading Public Service Broadcasting and the OfCOM Review but will significantly feature the concerns around children’s content as the unions are SKTV’s partners in the campaign.

It will bring together the workers in journalism, drama and TV production to meet the policymakers who will ultimately decide PSB’s future direction.

Speakers will include:
Mark Thompson – Director General – BBC
Tony Robinson – actor and writer
The Chair will be Neil Gerrard MP …

VLV Children’s Conference – 5th November

October 6th, 2008

The Voice of the Listener and Viewer 14th Annual Children’s Conference takes place on Wednesday the 5th November this year, at the New Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden, London WC2, from 9.15 am – 4.45 pm.  This year the theme is “Children’s Television: a glimmer of hope”.  With speakers to be announced shortly, the VLV conference always provides an in depth analysis of the issues surrounding children’s broadcasting – and one major focus this year will be on the final response to the Ofcom PSB review.

For more information go to: http://www.vlv.org.uk/pages/1-events.php  and to book, click through to: http://www.vlv.org.uk/pages/bookingform.php

There has been some press coverage recently about the VL’;s founder and long-standing chairperson Jocelyn Hay who has retired from …

Ofcom reports on Public Service Broadcasting and the debate moves into the political arena

October 6th, 2008

Ofcom’s second report on the future of Public Service Broadcasting is full of implications for kids’ TV in the UK.  It sets the agenda for the political debate on how PSB should go forward in the digital future.  It’s also the launch of a final consultation on the three remaining options for PSB as Ofcom sees it.

Ofcom have ruled out the BBC “going it alone” as the only Public Service Broadcaster  – a position SKTV felt would lead to reduction in choice and potential decrease in quality.  They have refined the models they outlined earlier in the year and now they come down to: An “Enhanced Evolution” model in which ITV, C4 and Five would retain their public service obligations, …

SKTV activities in recent months

July 22nd, 2008

Since our April Newsletter SKTV has been active in a number of areas. The main task has been to ensure a coherent response to the Ofcom Public Service Review which stresses the need for the kids issue to be dealt with promptly and with appropriate funding.

Next – our discussions with the BBC Trust to ensure their review recommends strengthening the regulatory position, so that BBC must maintain and indeed extend children’s provision and recognise its fundamental importance in the public service mix.

SKTV has been represented at some key meetings in recent months:
At the June 12th launch of the International Broadcasting Trust report “Screening the World”. This was a major survey into UK broadcasters’ commitment to portraying international …

Shadow Minister for Culture and Broadcasting speaks at Showcomotion

July 22nd, 2008

Showcomotion takes place each July. The two day conference covers all aspects of funding, producing and distributing children’s content, form the creative, business, and policy perspectives. This year 385 delegates descended on Sheffield and the opening address was given by Ed Vaizey, MP for Wantage & Didcot, and Conservative spokesman on Culture and Broadcasting. Showcomotion organisers said they found it interesting that while the Conservative party responded to the invitation within 24 hours, the DCMS, and Andy Burnham, the current Culture Minister has still not responded to a similar request!

While unable to commit the Conservatives to any particular policy or any one of the proposed Ofcom models he was extremely supportive of the industry and SKTV’s position on

The Impact of the Commercial; World on Children’s Well-being

July 22nd, 2008

The Department for Children Schools and Families has asked Professor David Buckingham to conduct an assessment of the Impact of the Commercial World on Children’s lives. The enquiry into the commercial impacts on children’s well-being is clearly in a wider context than just that of TV and Media but we believe that it is very important that SKTV are part of this wider debate about children and childhood.

Cary Bazalgette prepared our submission. Apart from its value as a response to the Buckingham process it’s an excellent statement of the fundamental principles underlying SKTV and puts children’s television firmly in the wider cultural context.

You can read it here.

BBC Trust’s Review of Children’s Services

July 22nd, 2008

The BBC trust is reviewing the whole of the children’s output; TV; Radio and online. It’s the first of their genre reviews and once again it’’s a triumph for the Campaign that they have realised that the health of BBC Children’s defines in no small part the security of the whole industry and hugely influences how the children’s audience is served.

The Review will be partly conducted through a public consultation to which the public can still contribute (until 15th August) http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/consult/open_consultations/childrens_services.html

SKTV felt that the questionnaire the Trust asks respondents to fill in, while useful retrospectively (i.e. are the programmes good, are they doing a good job?) does not enable the Campaign to get to the heart

Ofcom’s consultation on Public Service Broadcasting

July 22nd, 2008

As digital switch-over approaches Ofcom reported on their vision of the future of Public Service Broadcasting. The crisis in children’s television was included in the review and created the stimulus for Ofcom to bring the date of the review forward as the kids issue is seen as the “canary in the coalmine” for all the other PSB genres (like current affairs and regional news) under threat as regulatory powers have little meaning when there is no longer “gifted spectrum” for Ofcom to use a lever on the commercial broadcasters to persuade them to offer public service content even though it doesn’t make a lot of money from advertising.

Ofcom proposed four possible ways forward in the report and called for …

BBC announces new investment in kid’s programming

April 22nd, 2008

In this interview Jana Bennett confirmed that the core investment was secure and that the BBC were looking to increase investment both on TV and the web. She declared that the BBC’s commitment to this genre and to British production is ‘rock solid’. The BBC has since announced a further £15m investment in online activity – particularly aimed at CBeebies.  However no specific new figures for television were mentioned by Jana Bennett though she talked about ‘a thirst for original output’ with particular reference to CBeebies

SKTV is concerned that there is as much if not greater need for new/original output on the older channel CBBC and have written to Jana to raise the issue and to ask for clarification of …

Wombles’ U.S. Makeover!

April 22nd, 2008

The Wombles viral video produced by Pact highlighted the decline in UK kids programming in a funny & hard hitting way. The all new American Wombles made a huge impact on the web and getting wide press coverage including a full page spread in the Metro; coinciding with the Ofcom report . It has really put the kid’s issue back on the agenda.

If by any chance you’ve missed it you can find it at www.britishkidstv.com

Remember it’s viral, so spread the word by sending it to your friends!

Ofcom’s Second Public Service Broadcasting Review published on 10th April

April 22nd, 2008

The Ofcom PSB Review explores the future of all the genres on TV threatened by the collapse of the commercial channels’ commitment to public service broadcasting (such as regional news, current affairs and arts programming). These programmes were always underpinned by regulatory requirements and the fact that all the main broadcasters are “gifted” valuable spectrum on analogue TV, in return for which they provide a certain number of hours of the types of programmes which are difficult to fund with advertising revenue. As digital switch-over brings that to an end, the future looks bleak for all these genres. Of course this was already identified by the research into children’s television conducted last year. Those findings …

Pact unleashes the Bad Ass Wombles viral campaign

April 15th, 2008

As part of its campaign to save British kids’ TV, Pact has released a viral film starring much-loved characters The Wombles. The hilarious sketch, featuring the Bad Ass Wombles is set in Central Park, New York and aims to highlight the effects of US imports on our children’s programming.

The viral, created by Clikflik and featuring the voices of Bernard Cribbins, Wayne Forester and Emma Tate, can be viewed by visiting British kids’ TV where you can also sign the petition.

‘Children in Virtual Worlds’ Conference, Westminster University Event, London, 22nd May

March 26th, 2008

March 26th 2008

Westminster University’s CAMRI Research Centre and CBBC are staging a one day conference on children and virtual worlds – the online phenomenon capturing so many younger users in the last few years. From Club Penguin to World of Warcraft, kids are immersed in these multi-player experiences and this conference this conference will offer demonstrations, discussion and research on this new form of media for children.

The conference will run from 10.00am – 5.30pm at the University of Westminster 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS. You can register at www.ChildrenInVirtualWorlds.org.uk

Last year the University of Westminster carried out a research project for Save Kids’ TV collating the body of research which looks at the positive effects of …

The Byron Review – BAFTA/Showcomotion Event 3rd April

March 26th, 2008

March 26th 2008

TV psychologist Dr Tanya Byron was asked by the Prime Minister to conduct a comprehensive review into children’s use of screen time with interactive media and games. She reveals the findings of “the Byron Review” at a special event being hosted by BAFTA and produced by the Showcomotion Children’s Media Conference on the 3rd April in London.

The Byron Review will have important consequences for the debate into children’s use of media in this country. On the one hand it will no doubt provide some ammunition for the Toxic Childhood campaigners concerned with children’s “over-use” of screen time and some of the content they experience there. On the other it will raise further questions about the

Next steps for the Ofcom Review – 8th April report-back

March 26th, 2008

26th March 2008

Ofcom’s James Thickett responded to our last newsletter to let us know that Ofcom no plans to launch their final statement on the Children’s Review on the 10th April ‘08, not the 8th as previously planned.

This announcement will outline the various response to the consultation Ofcom launched last year into the interim findings of it s Review of Children’s Television, SKTV submitted our comprehensive plan for the future of children’s public service content in the UK to that consultation process.

Ofcom’s announcement on the 10th will also contain the first findings of the general Public Service Review, so the children’s conclusions will feed into that Review and form a significant part of the thinking for it as the …

Kid’s TV in the Balance and in the Balance of Payments

March 17th, 2008

17th March 2008

The loss of home grown children’s programmes on TV may damage the wealth and future of the UK online entertainment and games sector says Dr Chris Thorpe, Chief Technical Officer of Mind Candy, the creators of Moshi Monsters. This is an article which Chris wrote for online newsletter Licensing.biz, in support of Save Kids’ TV

I don’t need to tell anyone reading this about the statistics relating to the erosion of home grown children’s TV programming by imports from the US. Nor do I need to tell any of you about the impact this will have on British children, or indeed the effect it will have on the creative industries that have traditionally produced children’s TV programmes. I …

Alliance grows

March 17th, 2008

17th March 2008

Save Kids’ TV acts as the umbrella organisation for a growing alliance of bodies concerned about the future of kids’ content in the UKL and how that will affect our children, our society and the content creation industries. The Alliance has had some tremendous successes in recent months, not least the major coup pulled off by Equity, the Writers’ Guild and the Musician’s Union, acting together as the Performers and Writers All-party Parliamentary Group, when one of their supporting MPs was granted an Adjournment Debate on the crisis in Kids’ TV on the 4th December 07. PACT assisted by providing briefings for some of the MPs involved.

The Campaign Alliance now comprises 14 organisations which meet regularly

Write to your MP – the easy way

March 17th, 2008

17th March 2008

The Producers’ Alliance PACT have set up a simple method for anyone to find the address for their MP and send them a pre-written email requesting they sign an Early Day Motion tabled in the House of Commons last December.

The motion, proposed by Janet Anderson MP, states:”That this House welcomes the recent reports from the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and media regulator Ofcom which identify a threat to public service broadcasting for children; believes that public service television for children plays a hugely important role in contributing to the educational and cultural development of children; and therefore calls on the Government to ensure that UK children of all ages, races and faiths have …

Is Kids’ TV safe in the BBC’s hands?

March 17th, 2008

17th March 2008

The BBC’s announcement that it has cancelled Grange Hill effectively masks a more worrying piece of news: from Monday 11th February BBC 1 reduced its commitment to children’s programmes, pushing back the CBBC schedule by 20 minutes per day in order to make room for The Weakest Link.

CBeebies programming is now scheduled at 3 pm so that there appears to be no reduction in overall hours. But children over 6 are losing out. This was the age group identified as most under-served in Ofcom’s Future of Children’s Television Programming Report in October 2007. The news comes in spite of Director General Mark Thompson’s recent assurances to the Save Kids’ TV Campaign of the BBC’s “commitment …

Return of the Sleepy Giant – ITV revives commissioning

March 17th, 2008

…Or does it? Like the reports of Mark Twain’s death, the excitement in the broadcasting trade press about ITV’s supposed re-entry to the market is to say the least premature. ITV is spinning a small amount of money into a success story, but the reality is not so dramatic. Some of the new shows being discussed by the broadcaster were already in the pipeline – the tail end of deals they were forced to honour from programmes “green-lit” for production before they decided to halt commissioning. There are some commitments to new money – but these are nothing like the figures from a few years ago when ITV used to spend upwards of £30m per year …

Channel 4 to the rescue?

March 17th, 2008

17th March 2008

On March 13th Channel 4 revealed their thinking after a nine-month examination of their public service purposes and a massive survey of the audience. The Next on 4 plans explore the extent to which Channel 4 should provide an alternative public service vision to the BBC, and how that can be funded as their advertising revenues fall over the next few years. The Chanel 4 Board come down strongly against privatisation and simply competing in the commercial market.

In the short term they have proposed two pilot plans to explore what becoming a multi-platform public service alternative will be about. The one that got most of the press attention is the launch of a …

Second Save Kids’ TV video goes on YouTube

January 9th, 2008

To encourage people to sign the e-petition, we made a compilation tape to remind people of the kids’ shows they loved in the past. Thank you to the many producers and distributors who contributed clips, and to the lovely Chrissie Hynde, who let us use her wonderful song ‘”Kid” for free. There are 66 clips in total. How many can you remember? [youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=HCRReQALf04[/youtube]

Ofcom Consultation – the SKTV Response

December 20th, 2007

Ofcom’s report and discussion paper on the Future of Children’s TV called for views and comments on the issues raised, with a submission deadline of 20th December. Save Kids’ TV has been working on a comprehensive response which includes its proposals for an institution to protect the long-term future of quality media for children in the UK. We submitted the plan on the 19th and it can be seen in full here.

This was a major piece of work and our thanks go out to everyone who contributed to the debate and the final document.

The proposal envisages a “funded online destination” for kids from 6 – 15, which would include not only rich narrative content via video-on-demand, but …

The Voice of the Listener and Viewer Conference

December 20th, 2007

The annual VLV children’s conference was held on 7th November and was very well attended. Peter Duncan in his role as Chief Scout opened the conference with a plea to take the future of kid’s media and culture seriously. The conference was dominated by issues raised in Richard Deverell’s statement concerning the future of BBC children’s programmes and the impending cuts.

PACT and Save Kids’ TV were invited to outline their plans for solutions to the crisis, and media commentator Ray Snoddy responded from an independent perspective. He was concerned that tax incentives might be difficult to get past the Treasury in times of belt-tightening, but was more sanguine about the possibilities for Lottery and other forms of …

Parliamentary Debate

December 20th, 2007

An Adjournment Debate initiated by the Performers’ Alliance Parliamentary Group supported by PACT was held in Westminster Hall on 4th December. It was opened by Labour MP Neil Gerrard and all parties were represented. The debate ranged over all the Ofcom options and though there were differences in interpretation between the parties there was consensus that action needed to be taken to protect children’s programming in the UK.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Culture Media and Sport, Gerry Sutcliffe, responded to the debate. He agreed there were issues to be taken forward: “When respected industry figures such as Anna Home and Floella Benjamin and others speak we have to listen and take the issue seriously”. However he did …

Westminster Media Forum / Ofcom Debate

December 20th, 2007

This was held on 6th December and was intended for Ofcom to gather views in the consultation process. Speakers addressed the status quo and looked to the future. Responses to the Ofcom options were made by Five; Pact and SKTV. Anthony Lilley, Chief Executive of Magic Lantern Productions (and the co-author of the Ofcom report on the new- media PSP proposal for public service interactive content) made a strong plea that any new service be future-focused, which Anna Home for SKTV was able to reassure him our proposals were.

Ofcom stressed the need for the BBC to maintain its commitments and the possibility of tighter guarantees in terms of hours, and Anne Gilchrist CBBC creative director spoke strongly against …

Press coverage

December 20th, 2007

Coverage of the campaign has been on the increase since the release of the Ofcom report in October.

Save Kids’ TV representatives have made appearances on BBC Breakfast – with admirable help from ex Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry who took up the cause brilliantly. Floella Benjamin has also been in the press recently supporting the tax-break option and generally raising awareness.

There have been a number of radio interviews in recent weeks – including unusually a piece for an all-Ireland radio station. Perhaps the sequence with the most effective reach was Anna Home’s interview on Woman’s Hour earlier this month.

And finally the mainstream press are taking notice with the most recent articles being in the Observer and the Sun, …

Annual Review

December 20th, 2007

This is a quick sprint through the key events of 2007, which has seen real progress in bring the campaign to public and political attention.
January:

SKTV submits written evidence to the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee’s long-running investigation into the future of Public Service Television. After this and other allies’ interventions, the failure of children’s PSB is a major feature of the committee’s report when it is published in November.

SKTV advises Ofcom on the investigations needed for their Children’s Television Review.

February:

SKTV and international allies, the American Centre for Children and Media, and Action for Children’s Television Canada host an industry leaders’ breakfast meeting at Kidscreen in New York to discuss the UK situation and how it might …

Going forward with your help

December 20th, 2007

We’ve had an eventful and in many ways highly successful year. The issues were brought to the attention of politicians, the public are beginning to be more aware of what kids stand to lose and how that will affect all of us, and the Ofcom review was a major step forward which we suspect would not have happened so soon without the constant pressure of SKTV and its allies.

We have tried to keep you in touch with the issues, through the website, these newsletters and our press coverage. And we have ensured that at every turn and each event the SKTV position is represented.

We are more than a self-interest group. We represent the coming-together of concerned industry professionals, …

TV for the jilted generation – Bernard Ashley

October 29th, 2007

“They used to clear the car park at Elstree Studios when the exterior scenes for Grange Hill were being shot, so the building could stand in for the school. My favourite parking spot whenever I went in was under the school sign, as if I was up to see Mrs McClusky about my sons’ education. And when it was broadcast, the series seemed so real that the streets emptied early as schoolkids hurried home to see it.

Grange Hill was relevant to them, and still is. Liverpool or north London, the stuff of school is the stuff of children’s lives. Identifying with characters and with situations is a crucial part of growing up…” Read the full blog …

Petition launched

October 8th, 2007

October 3rd saw the launch of the Ofcom report which resoundingly revealed the crisis facing UK kids’ TV and supported many of the claims made by Save Kids’ TV and its campaign partners over the last 12 months. The report concluded by launching a public consultation on five possible futures for children’s media in the UK which will conclude on the 20th December. By March 2008 Ofcom will report on their analysis and recommend a way forward. But there is no guarantee that the Government will act – especially as support for the industry inevitably needs some element of funding.

With that in mind the Campaign has launched an e-petition on the 10 Downing Street

Campaign Hits the Headlines

October 8th, 2007

The Ofcom report made a real impression on the media. The figures were startling – only 1% of the 113,000 hours of content on UK kids’ TV is new UK produced programming. Budgets have been cut, production has been slashed and UK kids and their parents are able to identify what they are losing – home grown dramas and factual programmes in particular. In a round of newspaper, magazine, TV and radio interviews SKTV and campaign supporters made real headway in getting the public to understand just what their kids are losing and how this will affect us all in future.

There have been flurries of press interest in the past – but nothing as effective as a …

Ofcom reports on Children’s TV

October 3rd, 2007

Ofcom reports on Children’s TV
Ofcom launched its review of Children’s Public Service Broadcasting in February ‘07. Originally intended as part of the main review of PSB, the intense lobbying by SKTV, PACT and others alerted the regulator to the problems the industry faced, as ITV deserted kids’ commissioning and abandoned its commitment to terrestrial TV for kids, FIVE scaled back its children’s output and the effects of the advertising ban began to bite.

The children’s review was brought forward and has paved the way for a better understanding of just what is happening to public service programming in the commercial sector as the old constraints whereby commercial broadcasters traded certain genres of content in return for their valuable licences to …

What Save Kids’ TV needs to do next…

October 3rd, 2007

What Save Kids’ TV needs to do next…
In its review of Public Service Broadcasting to children Ofcom has identified that parents know their children need television programming which reflects their own culture and are concerned that there is not enough provision of such public service programming. Ofcom has also identified a huge funding gap that cannot be filled by commercial means. The market can no longer provide the programmes UK kids need and deserve. Drama and factual programmes for older children are the hardest hit, but all age groups and genres are affected. The BBC is also under pressure, and meanwhile repeats and imported programmes fill the schedules

SKTV believes that Government must intervene to ensure an …

Friends and Allies

October 3rd, 2007

Friends and Allies
The Save Kids’ TV sponsored meeting to co-ordinate the plans of eleven organisations engaged in the campaign produced a unique press statement revealing the extent of the alliance – from audience groups to craft guilds – and a unanimity of purpose. The alliance will meet at regular intervals to keep in touch. This is the statement which all parties will add to their own press-releases when reacting to the Ofcom review.

Joint statement on public service children’s broadcasting

UK-made children’s programming is an important part of public service broadcasting, reflecting the lives of children living in Britain today and telling their stories in a way that imported programmes cannot. The members of some of the bodies represented in …

Special General Meeting

October 3rd, 2007

Special General Meeting
There are still places available at the Save Kids’ TV special General Meeting in London on the 16th October ‘07. This will be your chance to find out more about Ofcom’s report on its Children’s Public Service Review and discuss SKTV’s reactions to it. It’ll also provide an opportunity to learn more about the consultation process Ofcom will undertake up to the end of 2007 and the various options it sees as potential ways forward. The SKTV Exec will outline initial thoughts on their proposal for a funded alternative Public Service Provider for kids, and are looking for ideas on how the campaign should progress from here.

Save Kids’ TV was born in a series of meetings …

Watching, Wanting and Well-being

August 13th, 2007

Watching, Wanting and Well-being
By Greg Childs

The latest salvo in the continuing attacks on children’s use of media came in a report issued by the National Consumer Council in which academics studied the attitudes of higher and lower income children (9-13’s) in relation to consumption, advertising, acceptance of media messages and the volume of television consumed.  The report – “Watching, Wanting and Well-being” available on the NCC website, makes interesting reading, not least because the research itself could be said to be “wanting” in many respects.  It contains inaccuracies – in that it claims children are watching more television when Ofcom’s latest figures clearly indicate they are not – and it glaringly states the obvious when it reveals that …

Toxic Childhood?

August 13th, 2007

Toxic Childhood?
By Jayne Kirkham

Ever since I can remember there has been someone banging on about how bad television is for children.  If I was old enough I would remember people banging on about the evils of the printing press.  However, it cannot be denied that the modern western lifestyle is having a devastating, some would say ‘toxic’, effect on the health and wellbeing of our children.  We’ve seen how mass produced food is harmful to kids, but what about the mass media?  Is that as harmful?  Is television ‘toxic’?

Academics such as Dr Aric Sigman would say yes and call for a ban on children watching television.  But such an argument is simplistic and polarising and in this day and age …

Harry Potter and the Great Funding Gap

August 13th, 2007

Harry Potter and the Great Funding Gap
By Becky Parry

The Showcomotion Conference brought together several perspectives on providing the best for British kids. In a session which discussed the lack of independent film-making in this country for young people (there are films for adults produced with UK Film Council money, but surprise, surprise, no films made specifically for children or families) speakers from Germany, Holland and Sweden outlined how their markets and funders support children’s film. The UK has a great history of providing some of the best children’s film production in the world – but on Hollywood-funded films, the profit for which return to the USA (e.g. the Harry Potter series). And the UKFC supports …

A New Approach

August 13th, 2007

A New Approach
By Adrian Mills

As the Ofcom review of public service provision for children draws to a close, it’s becoming clear that the final report will contain options for possible policy interventions which could help solve the crisis in Kids’ TV. Ofcom will be consulting on these during the Autumn, and while they cannot make any of them happen (that’s down to government) they want to stimulate a debate which could lead to the best possible option being adopted.

With this in mind, over the last couple of months SKTV has been developing a multi-media proposition which embraces children’s new relationships with media on all platforms. Our aim is to lay the groundwork for a …

What the Dickens…?

August 13th, 2007

What the Dickens…?
By Colin Ward

On the 6th July SKTV launched its new campaign video at the Showcomotion Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield. It immediately stirred up a healthy debate amongst the delegates as to what were the most important messages we should be trying to get across. On the one hand we want to let people know that there is a financial crisis in the industry but on the other we don’t want to dwell too much on the ad ban as that is already a fact of life.

Which sort of makes it hard to say very much, apart from “kids’ TV is really very good, honest”.

But the cold hard fact is that the commercial business model for kids’ …

A Co-ordinated Approach

August 13th, 2007

A Co-ordinated Approach
By Greg Childs

Save Kids’ TV is in the process of convening a meeting of all the groups campaigning for support for children’s media to compare notes on campaign planning.  This is in light of the forthcoming party conferences in September, the Parliamentary Select Committee report expected in the Autumn (on the future of public service broadcasting, in which children’s has been a major feature) and the Ofcom children’s PSB report in October.  While each of the many organisations involved has their own perspectives and skill set, Save Kids’ TV has been working to create links between bodies as diverse as the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, Action for Children’s Arts, PACT and the actors’ union Equity, as …

Time to talk-back

August 13th, 2007

Time to talk-back
By Janet Frawley

Ofcom have now completed their research into the state of the children’s television market and this will be presented to their Management and Board shortly.  The current aim is to publish this research report on October 3rd.  The results will feed into their full Public Service Broadcast Review early in 2008.  Because kids’ TV is experiencing a period of great change in the media landscape, children’s programming will have a special category in this review.

When they publish their children’s PSB report they’ll also suggest broad policy options, for public response and debate.  Save Kids’ TV will be responding with their own proposal for PSB provision for kids, and as part of the campaign we will keep …

Making a Commotion

August 13th, 2007

Making a Commotion
By Greg Childs

Save Kids’ TV was born at last year’s Showcomotion Children’s Media Conference. In the final session organisations like PACT and producers from across the kids media landscape focused on the melt-down facing their industry and realised that there was almost no public awareness of the effects that funding restrictions were going to bring to their kids viewing choices in the near future.

So Save Kids’ TV was well represented at the fourth annual Showcomotion conference on the 6th and 7th July at the Showroom Cinemas in Sheffield. Showcomotion is really the only time when all the various contributors to content provision for kids in the UK come together under one roof to discuss the creative, business …

Viral Video Launch

July 10th, 2007

The Save Kids’ TV Campaign was born at Showcomotion last year. This year’s conference, held from 4th-6th July, saw the launch of the campaign’s first viral video. Watch the video

We also announced an initiative to prepare a comprehensive plan, for a funded destination for public service kids’ media content, which could be proposed to the government once the Ofcom Children’s PSB Review is completed.

Philip Pullman offers support

June 6th, 2007

“There used to be such a thing as a sense of responsibility among broadcasters: a feeling that this extraordinary medium, with so much to offer and so much power to affect lives, should be used to make things better, richer, more interesting for those who made up the audience – especially for children. But the ideology of ‘profit before everything’ shows itself to be as toxic in this field as in every other. When audiences are regarded as customers to be separated from their money as quickly and efficiently as possible, there is no chance for life-enhancing work to flourish, and children are regarded as a marketing opportunity at best, a dangerous and feral threat at worst, and an expensive

An Update

May 23rd, 2007

I thought it would be a good idea to open this latest newsletter with a quick overview of recent events. And there’s more information at the end of the newsletter, if you would like to read on. Thanks.

On the 25th of April Bafta and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport co-hosted a Children’s Summit to discuss the crisis in the industry. The Broadcasting Minister Shaun Woodward was there with members of his civil service team. Also invited were Michael Grade (ITV), Jana Bennett (BBC), and John McVay (PACT), along with producers from the games industry and a cross-section of children’s TV producers and broadcasters. Unfortunately it turned out to be a deeply depressing meeting. There was absolutely no sign …

Can Television be good for Children?

April 17th, 2007

Can Television be good for Children?
By Dr Kaoruko Kondo and Professor Jeanette Steemers

Save Kids’ TV commissioned a review of the available recent research on the beneficial affects of television in children’s lives. Despite much of what we read in the press, there is a significant body of evidence based research indicating that children, families and society as a whole gains from the fact that children watch and enjoy television programmes. They learn from them both formally and informally, and they help them discover their place in the world.

“The purpose of this literature review is to identify and review research which supports the view that children’s television is a potentially beneficial medium; that in certain circumstances it can be …

Save Kids’ TV lobbies the Parliament Select Commitee on Culture, Media and Sport

April 2nd, 2007

Save Kids’ TV lobbies the Parliament Select Commitee on Culture, Media and Sport

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Culture Media and Sport has been deliberating on the state of public service broadcasting in the UK and, thanks to lobbying by Save Kids’ TV and our partner organisations, they have included as part of their terms of reference the crisis in commercial children’s television in the UK. Save Kids’ TV submitted the following document as evidence to the committee. It sums up the current issues and offers some thoughts on solutions…

“As media changes, we need to ensure that children don’t get short-changed. Even though 80% of homes with children now have multi-channel television, we feel strongly that whatever happens long-term, …

ITV pressure on Ofcom

March 29th, 2007

First – an apology for the long gap since the last newsletter. It’s been a very busy couple of months for Save Kids’ TV. There have been heartening signs that the campaign is not only being noticed, but is starting to have an impact. But this week’s news about ITV1 hours (see below) reminds us we shouldn’t assume all will be well. The fight goes on.

1. ITV PRESSURE ON OFCOM
Recent press reports have revealed that ITV now has no intention of meeting its quota of 8 hours a week of children’s programmes on ITV1, averaged across the year, despite the regulator, Ofcom, making it quite clear that they consider anything less “a significant change”.

In the …

Campaign makes progress

January 31st, 2007

1.   GATHERING MOMENTUM
The problems which are leading to a catastrophic decline in kids’ rich media production in the UK, and consequently to children’s impoverishment in the long term are starting to be noticed by some of the people and bodies which matter in trying to find a solution.  Thanks to the efforts of Save Kids’ TV and the hard work put in by organisations such as PACT and the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, there has been some real progress in the last few weeks.

In December members of the SKTV Executive Committee met Ofcom to discuss their plans to review Public Service Broadcasting in the children’s sector. That investigation is under way now, having been brought forward from their intended date …

Happy Christmas Kids – We Just Cut Your Hours!

December 21st, 2006

The CITV schedules for the first weeks of 2007 have been released to the press, revealing a drastic cut in hours, way above anything so far requested from Ofcom by ITV management.  Children’s programmes on ITV1 are down to just 2 hours a week – an hour on Saturday and an hour on Sunday mornings – with no kids’ programmes on weekday afernoons at all. 

ITV are claiming this is normal “flexing” of the schedule, which will be made up at other times in the year – the sort of thing they do to react to big sports events like the World Cup.  But rumour has it that this schedule extends after the first week of January when the kids are on holiday, into the rest …

Media Snacking… podcast from the Chair

December 5th, 2006

Listen to a full interview with Anna Home on the issues facing the children’s industry and kids’ media in the UK in an exclusive podcast for the Media Snackers website.

Pass the message on – Save Kids’ TV goes viral

December 5th, 2006

Our single most important message is that children deserve the best television and unless we act now they are simply not going to get it. We need you to pass that message on to as many people as possible and to help we’ve put a new download on the SKTV site under the ‘Action’ section. It’s a letter/email you can pass on to all your friends, work colleagues, and anyone else who knows you. In fact you can even pass it on to people who don’t know you because it’s not very demanding, all we are asking is for people to go to the SKTV site and sign up as a …

ITV planning further cuts?

November 23rd, 2006

Media Industry weekly, Broadcast Magazine are today (21/11) reporting that ITV is planning a return to the regultor, Ofcom, with a request to cut its children’s hours from the current 8 hours per week to 5 hours.  This would allow CITV to run a one-hour per day schedule on ITV1 on weekdays at the very most.   The article suggests that even if rejected the Broadcaster will only schedue one hour per day maximum and make up the remainder at weekends and during holidays. 

Broadcast goes on to state: ITV denied it was planning to cut back to five hours a week, but would not comment on the changes it is discussing with Ofcom. But a source close to the process said: “Ofcom only turned ITV down …

Ofcom decision impacts on kids’ production

November 17th, 2006

The Ofcom decision on high salt, sugar and fatty food advertising to children has been announced.  See the Ofcom press release for more detail.  It will have a severe impact on the number and quality of children’s programmes made in the UK.  Taking an initially estimated £39m out of the revenues of commercial broadcasters has huge implications for commissioning and simply confirms ITV’s decision to get out of kids’ production.

Now the Campaign enters a new phase. 

Producers’ Alliance Pact have accepeted the ruling, but like Save Kids’ TV they want to know where future funding to assure the continuance of quality kids’ content is going to come from. 

Their statement looks to the future: “Pact calls on Ofcom to ensure …

Growing Support

October 30th, 2006

Novelist and Children’s Laureate Jacqueline Wilson has expressed her support for Save Kids’ TV in a recent conference speech. Although a signatory of the “Toxic Childhood” letter in which 110 academics, writers and activists expressed their concerns about the amount of time being spent by children in front of screens, Jacqueline nevertheless expressed her concern over what will happen to original UK drama production if the television industry loses the money raised from advertising. At the conference Jacqueline took the opportunity to talk about the closure of Granada Kids and cast doubt on the wisdom of bringing in a ban on food advertising if there is no alternative funding to support children’s media. Full story on BBC …

Five Responds To Ad Ban

October 19th, 2006

Broadcast have reported that Five is re-evaluating its weekend children’s strand Shake in response to the likely ban on junk food advertising during kids TV. The broadcaster is holding off on most commissioning for the three-hour Saturday and Sunday block, which is aimed at five to 11-year-olds. Broadcast is also reporting that Ofcom is set to announce its decision on the advertising regulations imminently.

Five director of children’s programmes Nick Wilson denied Five would drop ‘Shake’ to concentrate on the pre-school slot ‘Milkshake’.

Ofcom Rejects Any ‘Significant Change’ To ITV Childrens

September 27th, 2006

1. OFCOM DECISION ON CITV HOURS

The hot news this week is that the Ofcom Board have come to a
decision on the request by ITV to reduce their regulated hours of
children’s programmes from 8 to 2 per week. The Board refused
permission for this “significant change in the volume of children’s
programmes”. This is the first small victory for the Campaign and
PACT, the Writers Guild, and the VLV. It remains to be
seen what ITV will do with the hours it now has to fill, in that
it hasn’t commissioned any new programming since December, and there
are no stipulations as to where they source the programming, what
time of day it goes out, whether it is repeats or originations and
whether they spend money on it. This …

Save Kids’ TV Campaign To Defend Children’s Media

September 8th, 2006

1. The Campaign and its aims

Following the General Meeting of the 6th September, purposes and objectives have now been defined as follows:
We are a campaigning organisation concerned with protecting the continued provision of indigenous UK media content for children.

Our objectives are to raise awareness, amongst the public and decision makers, of the current threats to the survival of children’s media made in the UK. We want to ensure that methods of support and funding are in place to counter those threats and in the long term improve the provision of quality media for UK kids.

What is being lost?
With millions of pounds of revenue leaving the industry if advertising bans are put in place, and millions more planned as cuts if …

Children’s Television Under Threat

August 14th, 2006

The Campaign is on the move in terms of press interest and the planning to ensure it’s consistent, focused and efficient. The four working parties have either met or split into further work groups over the last week.

There are a number of important issues facing the children’s media industry and the children’s audience, some short term, others slightly further off. The aims of the Campaign are broadly to ensure that children in the UK continue to enjoy and benefit from well-funded quality media, produced in this country, which addresses their lives, interests, values and concerns. In this we form part of a wider effort to preserve children’s cultural entitlement in the UK, and we are in discussion with groups already …

Campaign Calls On Tessa Jowell To Act

August 4th, 2006

LATEST NEWS ON WORKING PARTIES

The four groups pursuing various sections of the campaign have begun to meet separately to set out their plans.

The Policy Group will meet next Monday (7th August) – their role is to consider political and institutional lobbying and partnerships with other organisations such as BAFTA, the VLV, The Writers Guild, PACT etc. Rachel Murrell is co-ordinating this group.

The group considering new funding options for kids’ media, co-ordinated by Richard Langridge, is meeting on the 8th August.

The PR group, co-ordinated by Maddy Wiltshire, is working in sub-groups on different approaches to publicising the campaign and its objectives, including a viral web-based option.

The group looking at structure is planning an expansion of the website so that it …

New Campaign Launched

July 26th, 2006

The General Meeting

32 people attended the first meeting of the group which convened on the evening of the 24th July to try to decide the aims of the campaign, and how it should be structured, organised and financed. The two hour meeting made some real progress on both those topics and explored some ideas for the campaign itself.

Reports from the PACT Children’s and Animation Group, The BAFTA Kids Committee and the VLV all indicated support for what the campaign is trying to achieve. PACT reported that they had written to all MPs on the ad-ban issue, the VLV talked about their letter to Ofcom in response to the ad-funding consultation, and BAFTA Kids Committee have written to Ofcom …