ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 must do better with their children’s programming, says television regulator Ofcom, after noting a lack of original content and on-screen diversity.
The UK’s media watchdog has given each of the country’s commercial public sector broadcasters until next March to produce a plan to improve their offering for kids.
A report published by Ofcom yesterday states that 90 per cent of older children have turned to YouTube as their go-to viewing platform, while the three commercial PSBs have cut investment in original children’s programming as streaming services capitalise.
The report goes on to state that it found a ‘lack of original, high quality programmes specifically made for older children across all programme genres’ across all three channels.
“Currently no PSB shows programmes specifically made for 13 to 15 year olds and three in ten children aged 12 to 15 feel there aren’t enough programmes for children their age,” it said.
Ofcom has ordered ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 to find innovative ways of using the internet to reach children ‘to revitalise their approach to how and what they offer to young audiences.’
The body also revealed that there is only a ‘limited range of programmes that help children to understand the world around them.’
The BBC has been singled out as the only broadcaster who provides new programming for children.
A lack of diversity in programming has also been highlighted.
Ofcom stated that TV viewing dropped by 40 per cent for children aged four to nine and by 47 per cent for children aged 10 to 15 between 2010 and 2017.
ITV has cut the amount of new UK made children’s shows on its main channel from 158 hours in 2006 to 47 hours in 2017. Meanwhile, Channel 4 no longer shows any new UK made programmes made for children.