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BBC iPlayer Kids: the kids are in control

Alice Webb

Director, BBC Children's & Education

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Launching the BBC iPlayer Kids app is a really exciting moment for us – and we can’t wait to see millions of children get excited about it too. You can download it here.

Children have always been a priority for the BBC - they always will be. And the BBC iPlayer Kids app is an important milestone because it’s a sign of our continued commitment to young audiences.

It’s the first product delivered as a result of our Big Digital Plan for Children –which recognises just how differently kids consume media in today’s digital age. Children’s programmes are currently the largest single genre on BBC iPlayer and were requested almost a billion times in 2015! So our audience has already shown us just how important on demand viewing is to them.

The BBC iPlayer Kids app builds on what we know about young audiences and media consumption and meets needs we know are deal breakers for kids and parents. We’re offering, choice and control, wrapped up in a child-friendly design and home-grown content on a platform parents can trust.
In a nutshell, the app is CBBC and CBeebies in their hands – a BBC iPlayer re-designed for a new, digitally-savvy generation. A place where children of all ages can watch and download content created just for them whether they’re fans of Danger Mouse, Topsy and Tim, Go Jetters, Blue Peter or anything else we show on our popular TV channels.

It’s free of charge, free from commercial influence and brand new today. But to help us get it right, we’ve already tested it with our imaginative, funny young audience – and I’m delighted to say they’re impressed! Have a look below

Kids in the driving seat

More than anything else, kids’ viewing habits today can be characterised by choice and control. Rocketing figures for mobile device ownership means that, today more than ever, kids are controlling their own viewing and playing, with millions of choices in the palm of their hand.

They still love the big screen in the corner too of course – two-thirds of all CBeebies and CBBC viewing still happens on our channels at the time we schedule it. But things are changing. TV is now one of a range of options – a choice they make about how to spend their screen time.

As well as the long form TV shows they’ve always loved and continue to watch in their millions, children love social media, short-form content, creative online tools and games.

All this choice is exciting, empowering and entertaining. And when kids choose CBBC or CBeebies, it’s educational, informative and inspirational too. We’re delighted UK kids are still choosing the BBC in their millions - we reach 44% of 0-12s - and we really want to keep them with us – watching our two channels or the mainstream BBC iPlayer, browsing our websites and now using our bespoke app.

As the only Public Service Broadcaster for kids in the UK and the only large investor in British content for children, broadcasting more than 8000 hours of content a year, we have a duty to make this content accessible and deliver it how and when kids want it. As long as kids and parents continue to watch our output on our TV channels, we’ll continue to put our programmes there, but we need to meet their on-demand needs too.

Child-friendly design and content

For all their sophistication, it’s important to remember that our audience aren’t grown up yet. They approach finding content in different ways to adults - and as valuable as BBC iPlayer has always been to them, it hasn’t been designed for their specific needs.

Research tells us that for kids, ease of access is absolutely paramount – and if something is too hard to find or open, they’re quick to find an alternative. BBC iPlayer Kids is designed to deliver what kids want from a digital platform, so they can explore it with ease.

An on-demand service parents can trust

Of course, parents are one of our most important audiences and we’ve developed this app with their safety expectations in mind. We’re proud to be the media organization that children and families trust more than any other and, in this digital age, we know how important that is.

With a simple online set up that uses just the child’s age (and doesn’t capture any personal data) we’ve filtered content to be age appropriate. So, whether it’s in the back of the car on a long journey with a tablet, or on the bus to school on a mobile, parents can be confident their children are only watching content that is appropriate for them. And with features that show the availability of subtitles, audio described and signed versions of shows, we’ve made the app accessible to all of our audience.

Inform, entertain, educate…inspire

Last year, I spoke about what an exciting time it is to be a member of our audience. The digital changes happening now are far reaching and allow kids to connect with us in more ways than ever before.

In his speech setting out the future vision for the BBC last year, Tony Hall made clear that children are front and centre of it and we remain absolutely committed to that vision.

This is just the start of what we’ll be offering them in the future, as we keep on providing the home-grown content children need in a way that continues to inform, educate, entertain and inspire.

Alice Webb is Director, BBC Children's

  • Download the BBC iPlayer Kids app
  • Read a press release about the launch of the BBC iPlayer Kids app on the BBC Media Centre website

 

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