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BBC is investing heavily in children’s content to combat Netflix and YouTube

BBC is investing heavily in children's content to combat Netflix and YouTube

The BBC announced it will invest £34 million ($44 million) to develop children’s content over the next three years, in an effort that could help it compete with American streaming giants like YouTube and Netflix.

The majority of the funds will go towards developing CBeebies and CBBC, BBC’s TV channels aimed at children under age 6 and between 6 and 12, respectively. Additional funds will develop BBC’s online offering, including live online programs, online video blogs, and interactive digital content.

Here’s why the BBC’s planned investment is important:

  • It’s indicative of the decline in children’s TV viewership. UK children’s TV viewership dropped from roughly 15 hours per week in 2015 to nearly 13.5 hours in 2016. Additionally, Ofcom reported viewers between five and 15 years old spent more time online than watching TV in November 2016. Subsequently, CBBC channel has seen a drop in its audience, according to BBC correspondent David Sillito, contributing to the BBC’s justification for investing more in online content.
  • It demonstrates the influence of American streaming companies like YouTube and Netflix. The BBC reiterated the importance of investing in content for young viewers, and how Western American companies have shaped British culture. For instance, YouTube usage is particularly popular with younger UK children — 54% of those between 5 and 7 and 73% of those between 8 and 11 use YouTube. Nearly a quarter of UK households subscribed to Netflix in March 2016. Though CBeebies and CBBC are the UK’s most popular children’s channels, the BBC’s investment indicates the growing significance these American streaming platforms play in UK children’s lives.
  • Other companies are making upgrades to their children’s content offerings as well. Netflix recently introduced an interactive episode of its children oriented show “The Adventures of Puss in Boots,” where viewers can make choices that affect the story’s outcome (a la choose your own adventure). YouTube’s children oriented platform, YouTube Kids, boasts 8 million weekly viewers and recently announced four new children’s series that will be released on YouTube Red. The BBC’s concerted focus into bolstering its children’s online programming offerings could help it retain eyeballs that might have otherwise gone to YouTube and Netflix.
  • Getting viewers at an early age could help with long-term retention. Children present potential long-term customers — being brought up on BBC content could cause children to be long-time viewers, as they may become familiar and acquainted to the BBC content ecosystem. This, in turn, could help solidify the network’s future viewer base.

SOURCE: Business Insider