Television

Parents place high value on originality of kids shows in the UK: study

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MUMBAI: According to the results of a YouGov poll, parents in Great Britain place a high value on originally produced, children’s programming and like to watch their favourite children’s programmes with their own children.

The poll, commissioned by Pact – the trade association for independent producers – was conducted amongst a sample of 2551 adults across the UK.

Other key findings of the survey include the following:

• 66 per cent of parents believe original children’s programming provides families with shared cultural experiences

• 70 per cent believe that original UK children’s programmes contribute to the UK’s cultural identity

• 73 per cent agree that original UK produced children’s programmes encourage children to read and play imaginatively

• 73 per cent agreed that original UK children’s programming is even more important in the age of multi-channel television

• Just 21 per cent agree that programmes from countries like Japan and the US are just as high quality and family friendly as children’s programmes produced in the UK.

These findings come at a critical time for the UK children’s programming industry. Over recent years there has been a steady decline in the level of new UK children’s programming shown on commercially funded public service broadcasters (ITV, Channel 4 and Five).

ITV stopped commissioning new UK children’s programmes 12 months ago. It has continued with this policy despite Ofcom’s ruling that it is not allowed to cut the amount of children’s hours it broadcasts each week. Furthermore, it has also recently cut the total number of children’s hours to just two per week, despite Ofcom’s ruling.

Pact also understands that Five’s commissioning of new UK programmes for older kids (outside the so-called pre-school genre) is under severe pressure.

Historically the UK’s broadcasters have been renowned the world over for funding and broadcasting imaginative, high-quality and family-friendly programming.

Successful contemporary shows made by the commercial broadcasters include:

* My Life As A Popat: nominated for a Commission for Racial Equality award (ITV)

* My Parents Are Aliens: deals with contemporary family values (ITV)

* Fifi And The Flowertots: promotes the environment and health (Channel Five)

* Peppa Pig: celebrates the warmth and humour of family life (Nick Jr)

* A Different Life: teaches about children with unusual lives – from having rare disabilities to living in the South African bush (Five)

* Art Attack: encourages kids to experiment (ITV)

* Michaela’s Wild Challenge: explores nature and the environment (Five)

* Brainiac: promotes science as fun (Sky1)

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