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Ofcom agrees to BBC reducing original productions quota for CBBC

Malory Towers is adapted from a series of books by Enid Blyton

UK regulator Ofcom has granted a request by pubcaster the BBC to reduce the original production quota set out in its operating licence for children’s channel CBBC.

Currently, 72% of all hours in each calendar year aired on CBBC need to be original productions. These currently include Dodger, Malory Towers and Shaun the Sheep. The BBC requested that this be changed to 66% in 2022 and 2023, and 68% from 2024 onwards, which Ofcom has approved.

The BBC’s request came as a result of the migration of young viewers online, which has led to a decrease in the number of children aged 6-12 CBBC reaches on TV each week from 27% in 2015 to 14%.

In response to this decline and to strengthen the appeal of CBBC, the BBC plans to invest in and show more UK animation and to increase programme acquisitions modestly.

Ofcom said: “Programme output cannot stay the same while audience habits change. The BBC has struggled to attract and retain younger audiences and this risks its ability to deliver on its mission and public purposes. These risks are compounded by funding pressures and rising production costs affecting all UK public service broadcasters.

“The BBC needs to evolve and innovate to respond to these challenges, including by experimenting with different kinds of programming to reach and build better connections with younger audiences.

“The BBC will continue to be expected to deliver a quality, distinctive service with a range of content for young audiences. We consider that the modest change in quota is unlikely in itself to affect the quality and distinctiveness of CBBC and that carefully chosen acquisitions can play an important part in making CBBC more appealing to audiences.

“We expect the BBC to publicly evaluate the success of changes to CBBC and continue to adapt as necessary. As part of our forthcoming consultation on the wider review of the BBC operating licence, we will seek additional transparency from the BBC on how it is delivering its mission and public purposes, including for younger audiences.”


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