@North - Commissioning new interactive BBC content for children

Wednesday 18 November 2009, 11:00

Peter Salmon Peter Salmon Director, England

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Besides Jimmy McGovern's powerful drama series The Street, the big winner at this weekend's RTS North West Awards was Dragons' Den - a jewel in BBC Two's crown - and particularly its multiplatform spin-off, The Online Den.

Now it's the turn of the children's multimedia sector to make an impact supported by BBC North.

Later today at the Manchester Media Festival I'll be announcing a new initiative for multimedia content makers in the North of England.

It's called '@North' and is a plan to make £500,000 available to commission up to four new pilots of interactive content for CBeebies and CBBC.

It's a really innovative scheme and perfectly captures some of our big ambitions for the move to Salford Quays.

In fact, it feels very much like a sign of things to come.

Firstly, it's come about through partnerships and will be run in collaboration with the regional screen agencies: Northwest Vision and Media, Northern Film & Media and Screen Yorkshire.

Secondly, this is a very real, very tangible, investment in the North.

We have allocated the money. We have published the guidelines. We have given everyone a blank sheet of paper. And now it's up to the creative teams from Newcastle to Crewe to blow us away with some fantastic ideas. The BBC can be the platform that shares the brilliant work already being done across the North with audiences throughout the UK.

Thirdly, it's about bringing together editorial and technology - something we want to be second nature at our new base.

And finally, it is a chance for the BBC to be more open, more collaborative, and to support the wider media sector with training, technical infrastructure and audience insight that will leave a lasting legacy in the digital economy of the North.

It's a new concept for the BBC, a new way of working and - with up to four CBBC commissions up for grabs - a new commitment to producing groundbreaking content inspired by the North of England but loved by everyone.

If you are an indie or digital agency in the North and are interested in the @North project, get in contact with mario.dubois@bbc.co.uk

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