Insights Government announces development of new multi-million pound pilot fund to help increase range of children’s television in UK


The Government’s response to the consultation on the Contestable Fund sets out proposals for up to £60 million to be made available for content creators to receive up to 50% of the production and distribution costs of original TV shows.

The fund is still in development, but would be available for content broadcast on commercial Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs), as well as for other free and widely available channels and on-demand platforms, and potentially also online.

The Government says that over the past decade the output of children’s television from PSBs in the UK has been in decline, with spending falling by £55 million. This investment will aim to help reverse that trend and is the first of its kind to specifically focus on children’s television.

The pilot is also aimed at stimulating greater variety in a market where the BBC is often the dominant buyer and broadcaster of children’s content. In 2016, the BBC accounted for 87% of all first run UK originated children’s programming by PSBs.

The Government says that the pilot is intended to complement other measures it has taken in this area, including the introduction of a children’s TV tax break and new powers given to Ofcom.

The cash will be distributed over three years as part of a pilot starting in 2019. Programmes from new and diverse backgrounds, and those made in the nations and regions, will be a particular focus.

The funding for the pilot has been made available as a result of unspent funds from the previous licence fee settlement.

The BFI has been provisionally appointed as administrator for the fund, and will work with the Government on its final design, including whether the fund should include other genres in its scope.

Anna Home OBE, Chair of the Children’s Media Foundation, said: “The Children’s Media Foundation welcomes the confirmation that the new Contestable Content Fund will focus on the children’s audience. It’s a much-needed stimulus for the UK’s children’s media makers and we hope it will bring new and exciting content for children of all ages that could not otherwise have been commissioned.” To read the Government’s press release in full, click here.