UK Regulator Opens Review of Children's Media

15 February 2007

LONDON: British communications regulator Ofcom on Wednesday embarked on the first phase of a comprehensive review of children's TV programming. Its remit covers all four BBC channels, ITV, Channel 4, Five, S4C and broadcast directory service Teletext.

The review's purpose is to establish how successfully - or otherwise - the channels have collectively and individually fulfilled their public service broadcasting obligations.

But for reasons unexplained by Ofcom [which failed to return a telephone call before WARC News' upload deadline], BSkyB, Rupert Murdoch's UK satellite monopoly is seemingly excluded from the study.

Some broadcasters regard the PSB obligation as onerous, although it is a fundamental condition of their broadcast franchise licenses.

A case in point is that of ITV, which last year (unsuccessfully) sought permission to axe kids' programmes from the daytime schedules of its flagship channel ITV1.

It argued that as a majority of children now prefer to watch TV on channels dedicated to kids' programming, it should therefore be released from its licence obligations. Ofcom was not persuaded.

The regulator says its review is designed to maintain and enhance the future quality of PSB, at the same time defining PSB's role in providing content to children both on commercial and non-commercial channels.

The review is part of Ofcom's programme of research into the future of PSB in the digital age. Its findings will be published sometime in summer 2007.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff