In the face of heavy competition from American streaming services like Netflix and Amazon and web/mobile-based video platforms like Youtube, the BBC has decided to make its biggest investment in children’s content in a generation. The broadcaster announced on Tuesday that it will invest an additional £34 million (US$44 million) over the next three tv seasons.
The money will be used on content and services that will enhance the BBC’s online offerings for children, both on CBeebies, which is the BBC’s preschool channel, and CBBC, with offerings for 6-12 year olds. The investment raises the overall annual children’s budget to £124.4 million (US$161 million) for the 2019-20 season, up from £110 million today.
By 2020, nearly a quarter of that annual budget – £31.4 million – will be spent on online programming and services. The increased spend on digital viewing is a reflection of the squeeze that the BBC feels from the evolving viewing habits of children. Viewership on CBBC has declined, as children shift from linear television to digital alternatives.