BBC to triple entertainment spending for 7-12 year olds – Deadline

The BBC will triple its investment in UK animation for ages 7 to 12 over the next few years as Chief Children Officer Patricia Hidalgo discusses the company’s potential to produce the next generation of global hits.

The BBC’s aim is to broadcast three original British animations per year for this audience of older children, compared to only one currently.

Speaking to the Manchester Animation Festival this morning, former Turner EMEA children’s boss Hidalgo described the move as a “significant increase”, which comes as the BBC offers “great content for this older target” in the spaces of factual entertainment, drama and comedy.

Additional animations will start appearing in about 18 months and in the meantime the BBC is looking to increase its mix of animations through acquisitions and pre-purchases. Last year’s content budget for older children’s channel CBBC was £ 58million ($ 78million), with £ 25million ($ 33.8million) spent on younger CBeebies .

Animation spending for 0-6 year olds will remain stable and Hidalgo, who ran Cartoon Network’s European animation studio and oversaw hits such as The Amazing World of Gumball, wants to “create many great UK animated shows that can resonate with children here in the UK and have the opportunity to become global hits as well.”

Hidalgo took to animation after his team conducted research showing only three culturally British animated titles were in the most viewed age range – Mister Bean. Horrible Henry and Danger Mouse – against 10 other countries.

Even UK produced shows such as The Amazing World of Gumball feature American characters and take place in the United States, she added.

“It’s not ideal for these kids,” Hidalgo added. “They watch shows quite frequently that do not fully reflect themselves, their culture or their world.”

Hidalgo first signaled her animation ambitions over the summer, when she launched the £ 800,000 ($ 1.1 million) Ignite initiative in a bid to uncover a UK equivalent of The simpsons, which she once described as “about roast beef instead of turkey.”

Ignite, which Hidalgo says is a first of its kind and will be repeated in 18 months, will hand over development funding to 20 producers, three of whom will be piloting for a full commission.

The Manchester Animation Festival runs until November 30.

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