I've criticised Creative Future once or twice before. When Mark Thompson first announced the initiative on 25 April 2006 he said that the CBeebies and CBBC brands will be given tighter audience targets – up to 6, and 7 to 11 years respectively, and he said there would be a broadband based teen brand aimed at 12 to 16 years. The decision, a few days later, to axe Byker Grove, was not well received (see blog 13 May 2006). In autumn 2006 the plans were altered and CBBC now retains the original 6-12 year old target audience.
Having tighter audience targets was a foolish idea from the start because people develop at different rates - some are babyish at 15 and others are like adults at 10. So it was obviously misguided to try to further narrow the target age limits.
It is interesting to note that CBBC is now asking for kids to take part in their next reality exploration series, Serious Ocean, but as with all programmes in the Serious series, applicants must be aged between 12 and 15.
On CBBC Newsround's website, there is still a sharp cutoff in messages (ie none in the sampled data) from kids above 13. Curious eh?