UK government launches £60 million Contestable Fund for children’s TV

The UK government has launched a new Contestable Fund in an effort to boost home grown original children’s TV content.

The three-year programme will provide up to £60 million to support the production of UK public service content through two separate funds.

The Young Audiences Content Fund will be administered by the British Film Institute and allocate up to £57 million in support of content for viewers up to 18 years old. Meanwhile, the Audio COntent Fund will contribute £3 million in support of public service audio content for all ages.

The funding arrives following a report from Ofcom that highlighted the recent decline in the production of public service programming for kids, with broadcasters spending around 40 per cent less in 2017 than they did in 2006.

Ofcom data frm 2017 also shows that more than 40 per cent of 12 to 15 year olds felt the content they watched last year didn’t reflect their lives. The Contestable Fund will include development funding dedicated to new voices. Around five per cent of the total funding is earmarked for programming that features languages such as Welsh and Gaelic.

Back in September, ToyNews –’ sister title spoke to Anne Wood, the founder and creative director of the British children’s TV content producer Ragdoll Productions who said that while the Contestable Funding is a start, £60 million will only “scratch the surface of the kind of funding British TV needs today.”

“What we need in the independent sector is a competitive marketplace,” she said. “As long as the attitude remains that shareholders come first, we are not going to get that and without competition you can’t run a business – you can’t run a business with just one customer [the BBC].

“The children’s TV sector needs parity, competition and funding that is equal to other British made TV that targets older audiences.”

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