Thursday, August 17, 2006

Creative Future or Destructive Future

Kids & Teens

All children's output including radio, online and learning will eventually be consolidated under the CBeebies and CBBC brands which will be given tighter audiences targets – up to 6 and 7 to 11 years respectively.

Create a broadband based teen brand aimed at 12 to 16 years, including a high volume drama, comedy, music and factual content.

So believes Mark Thompson, as part of his Creative Future initiative. But the technology available to most people at present simply isn't up to it, and experts say TV quality pictures from the internet will need at least 8Mbit/s. However the BBC has already started to implement the age limitation policy on CBBC - leaving teens without programmes. Newsround received lots of complaints when it was announced that Byker Grove would be axed (see blog 13 May 2006).

Creative Future has narrowed the target age of CBBC so that it now aims at 7-11 age group. But why narrow this age range? Was the reason to avoid dealing with the full range of diversity issues? I think that is part of what Creative Future has become. With two children's tv channels it's strange that there isn't enough time to broadcast programmes for teens as well. Two channels for ages 0 to 11?? Not every family has the internet by a long way.

The BBC teens website is only for girls at the moment, and also it's full of old-fashioned gender stereotyping.

It was always about the digital age and the internet - but it was also a catchall policy. What easier excuse to avoid making the transition to an inclusive childrens tv? It would be a great pity to lose Newsround. Rather better to bite the bullet and make Newsround an inclusive and diverse friendly programme, and the flagship children's programme of a new 21st century BBC.

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