A review of Children’s programmes by the BBC Trust has concluded the digital channels CBBC and Cbeebies should broadcast after 7pm.
Currently the two digital channels close down at 7pm each evening at which time BBC Three and BBC Four begin broadcasting. However, the BBC Trust feels that both channels should broadcast for longer as children are staying up later. The report suggests that nearly 4.5 million children aged between 4-12 stay up after 7pm.
The BBC Trust also reports that BBC One and BBC Two should broadcast shows aimed at older children.
The Beeb previously had a teen strand of programming which was axed as part of the corporation’s drive to cut costs. At the time it was widely claimed the BBC were retreating from the teen market due to the success of E4 at targeting the audience.
The corporation instead decided to concentrate on pre-teen children and thus school-drama Grange Hill was dumbed down and eventually axed while Byker Grove as axed outright. The BBC Trust report suggests the Beeb were mistaken in abandoning the teen market altogether.
Overall the BBC Trust’s report concluded that CBBC and CBeebies are “performing well” and are “much loved” by children and parents alike. However, the Trust felt the corporation needs to do more to retain older children on CBBC and needs to do more to get children to progress from CBeebies to CBBC.
The Trust also felt that some programmes should be broadcast on channels other than CBBC and CBeebies – such as the recent BBC Three broadcast of Wolfblood. The BBC removed the children’s block of programmes from BBC One and BBC Two; a move which was criticised at the time.