BBC Set to Fight Netflix With More Money for Kids TV

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The broadcaster will pledge an extra $44 million toward children's content to counter the growing influence of online offerings.

The BBC is set to counter the growing influence of SVOD rivals such as Netflix and Amazon in children's content by announcing a multimillion dollar cash injection. 

The broadcaster will on Tuesday unveil a £34 million ($44 million) increase in spending on homegrown children's TV over the next three years, pushing its annual spend on children's content from $142 million to $160 million from 2019-2020, alongside a commitment for at least a quarter of the figure to be spent online.

The move comes amid a significant fall in U.K. investment in that area, with media watchdog Ofcom estimating that spending on first-run U.K.-originated children's programming almost halved in the space of a decade, dropping from $180 million in 2005 to $99 million in 2015.

“Investment in British content, particularly for the young, is vital — unless we want more of our culture shaped and defined by the rise of West Coast American companies,” a BBC source told The Guardian

BBC director general Tony Hall and chairman David Clementi are expected to announce the new cash boost Tuesday. 

“Tony Hall has set a clear challenge: to reinvent the BBC for a new generation,” the source added. “The way children and young people are watching and consuming programs and other content is changing fast, and the BBC needs to respond. We are exploring how new technologies can enhance how children and adults can access services and discover new content.”

The BBC shuttered its youth-oriented TV channel BBC3 last year, moving the content online.