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CBeebies Overview & Programme Opportunities

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Kay Benbow: Controller & Portfolio Head, CBeebies

 

All CBeebies content is commissioned by the Controller, Kay Benbow. Read more about the CBeebies Strategy.

CBeebies operates a rolling commissioning system. Proposals may be submitted throughout the year. All submissions for television and online should initially be made via e-Commissioning.
 

Programmes and content

CBeebies offers a mixed genre output presenting Entertainment, Drama, Comedy and Factual content. Content that is specifically produced for a young audience, at a pace and in a style that suits them and using a range of formats including live-action and animation.

High quality production values are a given and programme topics should engage a wide audience and with well-crafted storylines, a clear purpose and strong visuals in the case of TV and the web. We believe that our content should connect with our audiences featuring playful content that gives children knowledge and experiences to help them explore, learn and grow.

Our TV schedule is designed to follow the mood and energy levels of young children throughout the day. We feature stimulating and upbeat shows in the morning, followed by programmes with learning themes, activities and story telling during the day. Over the lunch hour we provide programmes for grown ups to co-view with their children and perhaps participate in activities such as make and do and in the afternoons we give children an opportunity to relax and have fun, until we wind down with calming stories before bedtime.

We want to see:

  • A mix of techniques: live-action - real children in the real world. Animation - reality meets fantasy.
  • A range of Formats: from straight narratives to game shows and activity driven content.
  • An online/interactive component (where appropriate): we are committed to translating all of our content to age appropriate web and interactive TV experiences. Children this age do go online, even though that may be mostly on their parents' laps.

From Teletubbies and LazyTown to Something Special and Charlie and Lola we advocate our philosophy of 'learning through play'.
 

The audience

CBeebies is for both girls and boys aged 0 to six years. This is a diverse and complex audience: two and three year olds are very different to five and six year olds.
 

Their world

Young children are egocentric. They think about now, not yesterday or tomorrow. They love to laugh and slip effortlessly between fantasy and reality. The key people they share their lives with are their parents and siblings. Our older audience have new found companions at school too. These groups are both play mates as well as being there to make them feel safe and secure.To the under fours the world is a magical place but between the ages of four to six years a sense of realism invades their fantasies and begins to root them in the real world. This coincides with them starting primary school and spending more time with other children.That said, their days continue to be filled with new experiences that leave them wide-eyed and excited.
 

Their relationship with media

At the youngest end children may be happy to passively view television however, from about five years children are highly media literate. Nearly 90% of them live in digital homes and have access to our digital channels. We've found children as young as three years using the internet and interactive television unaided. They are already playing games online and looking for more sophisticated content, usually comedy driven. Radio is a fantastic medium to stimulate the imagination of this age group. It can be both highly creative and gripping but also calming and relaxing. Not only do children love to listen to stories but listening is an extremely important skill that has to be learnt. Listening to the spoken word is a great tool in supporting kid's language development too. Radio can be both highly creative and gripping but also calming and relaxing. CBeebies Radio is also an opportunity to bring the TV characters our audience love, to them in totally different situations. Radio is a fantastic medium to stimulate the imagination of this age group.
 

What they are into

This age group actively seeks out comedy and laughs. They love silliness, simplicity and high jinks. Exaggeration and physical comedy really strike a chord because their verbal skills and reasoning skills are still developing.They prefer characters that feel real and whose behaviour appears instinctive, not fake or contrived. They also love the unexpected, things that happen out of the blue or behaviour you wouldn't expect from a certain person. It should feel physically rooted in the real world so that they can relate to it.Intermittent segments of repetition won't bore them but they want to wonder, explore and learn too - variety is key.
 

Commissioning team and process:

  • CBeebies operates a rolling commissioning process.
  • Proposals may be submitted at any time and must be submitted via e-Commissioning to the CBeebies Controller Kay Benbow.
  • Individual members of the public wanting to submit ideas should see the Ideas From the Public page.
  • CBeebies is a self-commissioning, self-scheduling department.
  • Enquiries concerning Acquisitions and Animations should be made to Kay Benbow (but proposals must be submitted via e-Commissioning).
  • All proposals are registered on a confidential database and independent suppliers will automatically receive acknowledgement of their proposal via the e-Commissioning system.
  • The Controller will either reject or progress proposals within six weeks of receipt (four weeks from acknowledgement).
  • Proposals may be provided with funded development, in which case the timetable to commission will be subject to negotiation between the external supplier and the BBC and determined by the development contract.
  • The final decision will be no later than 20 weeks after submission deadline; current plans aim to deliver a decision after 13 weeks. A successful proposal will be given approval by the Controller.
  • Projects may be held over in exceptional circumstances but only with the formal agreement of the supplier.
  • The same timetable and process applies to in-house and independent proposals.
  • Independent suppliers who are successful should expect to be assigned a CBeebies Executive with whom they will liaise throughout pre-production and production.


Queries

At any point during this maximum 20 week period, an external supplier may write to the Controller asking for a progress report and be guaranteed a response within 10 working days of receipt.

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