The Government has announced that a £60m fund will be made available, from which companies will be able to fund up to half the cost of producing and distributing a piece original children’s content (so long as it is made in Britain of course).
This is of course a welcome boost to our industry, and follows the recently proposed Ofcom review of children’s programming that could see major broadcasters “forced” into spending more on youth audiences.
So will this renewed investment in children’s content be the catalyst to drive children’s audiences back to the linear TV set, and what impact might it have on the Toys and Games industry? There are many factors to consider, however the following will be prominent for marketers to consider:
- £60m is of course a huge sum, however when you consider the volumes Netflix are reported to be contracted to spend, it is comparatively insignificant. According to reports, the streaming giant could invest as much as $20 billion in content to continue attracting subscribers. Whilst not all of this will be invested in children’s content, the fact that young audiences are the subscribers of the future will not be lost on Netflix executives, so expect to see more children’s content in the coming months and years (https://qz.com/1044036/netflix-nflx-is-committed-to-spending-20-billion-on-future-content-but-its-not-a-big-deal/).
- Content is king, regardless of where it is hosted. Viewing hours to the main TV set has declined across all children’s audiences, but total video consumption is relatively stable over a 10 year period. This is of course down to the increase of streaming and On Demand services, and most importantly, YouTube. Therefore it will be important that any new content created using these funds are made available on such platforms, which will not necessarily see a resurgence in linear viewing.
- The greatest beneficiaries of new British content will likely be the BBC. With mixed success for CBBC and CBeebies licenses in recent years, owing primarily to lack of repetition, this is something that all potential licensees will need to be wary of. This could also have an impact on TV advertising budgets. Should the BBC host the majority of this new content, and it prove successful, is it likely to increase total viewing to TV, or steal share from commercial broadcasters?
So will £60m be enough? The evidence suggests that this should be just the starting point if TV content is to keep pace with the streaming colossi. As ever though, Generation Media will continue to track further developments in this area in order to anticipate the impact on our industries. If you have any questions however, please speak to a member of your account team or feel free to contact me directly.
Jonathan Chambers, Director of AV Investment