The BBC is to launch a dedicated children’s on-demand service, giving users access to youth-oriented content from across the BBC and, in future, from external organisations.
The new iPlay service will be a partner to the BBC’s CBBC and CBeeBies services, and was announced as part of a speech by director of BBC Children’s, Alice Webb, as part of BBC Children’s Vision for the Future, in Salford.
iPlay will allow children to create a ‘personal menu’ of their favourite programmes which will, at a later stage, include educational content from ‘Britain’s greatest institutions’ like the RSPB, Natural History Museum and Sport England. The platform will also provide a space for the BBC to commission new types of content which could include interactive formats, film and audio clips, games, or digital creative activity, according to Webb.
The new service is designed to be interactive and allow children to express their creativity, with ‘learning and making’ at its core, ‘encouraging children to be active creators, not just passive consumers.’ iPlay will include blogs, podcasts and educational tools for children of all ages.
Webb also stated plans to increase the BBC’s offer for older children, by working with Radio 1, BBC Bitesize and BBC Three to ‘make the BBC a place for the nation’s 12-15 year-olds too.’ This will include content more suited to the demographic, including ‘dramas which reflect their lives, more up-to-the-minute current affairs and trusted news just for them.’ Perhaps most importantly, considering the changing ways young people consumer content, as much of this as possible will be made available on mobiles and tablets, according to Webb.
The BBC is also likely to increase its social media presence and activity too, as well as creating ‘trusted online communities, that will encourage interaction with our brands and talent and allow kids to share their creations with their friends, families and BBC buddies.’