This document explains Ofcom’s plans to carry out a review of children’s content on TV and on-demand and streaming services. We are seeking input from audiences and industry to help us build a comprehensive view of the current quantity, range and quality of provision of children’s content, the role of the public service broadcasters (PSBs) in the provision of children’s content, as well as the impact of changing industry and audience dynamics.
Ofcom’s review of children’s content will help us assess if and how we might use the new power provided in the Digital Economy Act 2017 (DEA). The DEA enables Ofcom to publish criteria for the provision of children’s programming and, if appropriate, to set conditions on the licensed public service channels (Channel 3 services, Channel 4 and Channel 5) to ensure that children’s programming meets the criteria. This might mean setting out what quantity, type or range of children’s content we think is appropriate to meet audience needs and be in line with Parliament’s expectations of public service broadcasting, and then designing quotas to help ensure that this content is made available to younger audiences.
The review will be carried out in light of our general duties for PSB in the Communications Act 2003, in particular Ofcom’s duty when reviewing the fulfilment of PSB purposes to have regard to the desirability that PSB services ‘(taken together) include what appears to OFCOM to be a suitable quantity and range of high quality and original programmes for children and young people’ (s. 264(6)(h)).