Britain's ITV Seeks to Axe Children's Daytime Programming

31 July 2006

UK media regulator Ofcom is currently lending an ear to the wails of the nation's largest commercial network ITV, whose profits are under siege thanks to insipid programming, many believe.

The broadcaster seeks a solution by cutting its costs and its public service obligations via a reduction in children's daytime programming. ITV ceo Charles Allen argues that as its kids' programmes attract only 8% of the available audience on its flagship channel ITV1, the answer lies in axing the shows.

Most children, says ITV, watch television on dedicated channels and it is therefore no longer necessary to have an afternoon block of programming on ITV1. Instead, suggestes the broadcaster, kids should watch their favourite programmes on the newly launched CITV digital channel.

The runaway success of the Freeview digital platform and resultant popularity of multichannel TV means that an estimated 90% of homes with children already have access to several specialist children's channels.

Any easing of ITV's public service commitment must be agreed by Ofcom within the negotiations surrounding the broadcaster's annual statement of programme policy. Discussions are already under way and if Ofcom lends a sympathetic ear, ITV1 kids' programmes will disappear as of 2007.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff