Report highlights importance of children's TV

Image: Silverpoint 3 (C)BBC Zodiak Kids Studio UK Ltd

An Ipsos MORI Omnibus survey conducted on behalf of ScreenSkills’ Children’s TV Skills Fund shows overwhelming support for the provision of children’s programming for the UK audience.

“At a time when budgets for children’s television are being squeezed and content is either disappearing from our screens or being sidelined, it’s clear that the British public overwhelmingly still believe that programmes made for children are very important,” commented Sarah Joyce, Head of Unscripted and Children’s Television at ScreenSkills. “We also know that people want to pursue careers specifically in children’s television and there is a real risk that they might not be able to realise their dreams and ambitions in the future.”

The research found that the vast majority of respondents perceived children’s television as important, with 81% saying that children’s TV was a central part of growing up for a child and only 16% saying that the quality of children’s television was not important.

83% of the those questioned also had fond memories of watching children’s TV when they were younger and over three quarters (77%) agreed that children’s television had a ‘special place’ in British culture.

In terms of accessibility of content specifically made for young people, there was overwhelming agreement (87%) that children’s programmes should be available to watch on free-to-view broadcast television, and 60% of the respondents considered this to be ‘very important’.  Additionally, eight in 10 of the participants also thought that it was important that children’s television is available to watch via free catch-up and on-demand services. In terms of the provision of children’s programme on paid-for streaming services, 50% of people said that it was important.

Parents or guardians of children aged 15 years old or under, were also asked about the viewing habits of their children. On a typical weekday, children (those aged 15 or under) were most likely to watch children’s television programmes (82%) and social media video content (82%).

The Children’s TV Skills Fund was created in 2015 by ScreenSkills to invest in UK-wide skills development for crew in children’s TV. Industry-led, the Fund focuses on reducing skills shortages and closing skills gaps to create a sustainable, inclusive workforce.

“There is clearly an appetite for quality, original programming,” concluded Sarah Joyce. “We are keen to work with the children’s TV industry to see what can be done to ensure that children in the UK continue to have programmes made specifically for them.”

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