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Children’s Media Foundation Urges UK Government Intervention For Genre

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Children’s Media Foundation Urges UK Government Intervention For Genre

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Children’s TV has joined the growing list of UK genres jostling for government intervention after an emergency summit attended by the biggest players in the game.

The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF), which convened the summit earlier this month and was attended by YouTube, has forged a list of “possible interventions” required to help a genre in crisis and sent them to the UK culture department and regulator Ofcom. “Time is not on our side given the known impact on UK children,” said the CMF.

The eight proposals start with the government “needing to address the reality of the children’s media market as it is now, characterised by the loss of audience from UK broadcasters to online streaming and video sharing services.”

Backing up recent comments made by BBC kids boss Patricia Hidalgo, the CMF said that “while there is UK-originated and international content of value on these platforms, the audience migration has nevertheless led to a reduction in culturally relevant and UK public service media reaching British children.”

Other demands include considering “a new regulatory regime for ‘prominence’ that recognises the need to surface or amplify UK public service content,” and “investigating and considering the role of public service regulation in algorithmic and generative AI outputs for children.”

There were also points made about addressing market failure and introducing potential “fiscal interventions” such as tax incentives, levies or lottery funding. The CMF stressed that the money should not be taken from public broadcasters.

As Deadline revealed in December, the summit was convened to resolve grave funding issues amidst existential questions over the genre’s future. It was attended by YouTube, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Paramount-owned Channel 5, Sky, Pact and Animation UK, although not Netflix and TikTok, both of whom had been invited. Other delegates included producers, distributors, broadcasters, academics, researchers and children’s advocates.

The CMF said: “We believe that the current media lives of children and young people are contributing to the ‘crisis of childhood’ which is reflected in young people’s mental well-being, engagement with society and culture, and formation of values. While children have more choice than ever before – and there are many examples of good children’s content online – this shift has also led to a dramatic increase in the consumption of age-inappropriate content and generic or U.S.-focused content, rather than content focused on the needs of a UK audience.”

The CMF will join the queue of UK entertainment industry representatives jostling for government support. Bectu boss Philippa Childs wrote to Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer earlier this week demanding a summit with government over the freelancer crisis, while UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been “urged” to intervene and help the struggling indie film sector by the chair of the ongoing inquiry into British Film & High-end TV.

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