“There is a bright future for public service children’s broadcasting”

PSB offers a “distinctive and different alternative” to Netflix or YouTube says BBC children’s director.

Netflix and YouTube can’t provide the same distinctive British children’s programmes as those funded by the licence fee, the current director of BBC children’s has told a major newspaper.

In an interview with The Guardian, Alice Webb – who has been the children’s director for the last five years, but is leaving this month – said that there is a “very bright future” for public service children’s broadcasting because it isn’t Netflix or YouTube.

“It offers a distinctive and different alternative,” she told The Guardian. “The peril comes when we try to be them. We’re not them and we don’t try to be them.”

While CBeebies – which broadcasts shows which also have strong licensing programmes such as Hey Duggee (pictured) – remains popular, the CBBC strand for older children has been affected by growing choice.

Alice commented: “By the age of seven or eight they’re taking independence but parents are having an increasing amount of influence. Parents tell us they really value the quality of what they produce, that it’s British, that it shows other children like theirs, that it’s not wall-to-wall cartoons.”

Friday (March 20) saw the BBC launch a new version of its iPlayer catch up service on smart TVs which makes it easier for parents to find child-friendly content (by clicking on a monster-shaped ‘children’ button).

In addition, the BBC is also preparing to unveil daily educational programming to fill the gap while schools are closed due to the pandemic.

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