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. It might seem like a lot but it doesn’t go far to produce high-end drama and factual programmes, without producers still needing to resortt to co-production for additional finance, which inevitably means a dilution of the UK content. And when you realise that the amount of money being released by the entire Strategy Review could be as much as £600m a year – then £10m is a derisory figure (less than 2%).
The BBC Trust is currently consulting on the proposals so you can have your say. The consultation closes on the 25th May. SKTV has written an open letter to Michael Lyons, the Trust Chair, pointing out that once again kids are being short-changed. This is available for download from the Save Kids’ TV website. We will also follow up with a full response to the consultation.