Insights Ofcom announces changes to BBC’s operating licence requirements for children


Ofcom has confirmed changes to the BBC’s operating licence to allow it to provide more content for children online. This follows a request from the BBC to increase the provision of children’s news through the Newsround website, and to provide more new children’s content on BBC iPlayer.

Ofcom says that its research shows that children are increasingly consuming content online, while they are watching much less traditional, scheduled television on the TV. The evidence also shows that these trends have continued during the Covid-19 pandemic. Given these shifts in children’s media habits, Ofcom says that it makes sense for the BBC to provide more children’s content online. This should help the BBC to better engage with its youngest audiences, who are critical to its future success. Ofcom has therefore accepted the BBC’s requested changes to its operating licence, but it is also imposing additional safeguards. These will help ensure that the BBC maintains the quality of its linear children’s channels (CBBC and CBeebies) and that the impact of its online plans is carefully monitored.

Should it have any future concerns about the BBC’s performance in delivering for children, Ofcom says that it will take appropriate action, which may include imposing more prescriptive requirements in the BBC’s operating licence. To read Ofcom’s news release in full, click here.