CBBC’s Newsround is cutting its after-school broadcasts after Ofcom approved the BBC’s proposal to prioritise investment in online children’s news.
After 50 years of airing three daily bulletins, the BBC children’s programme will broadcast just one report in the morning from September onwards.
The plans, which were proposed by the BBC back in November 2019, are part of the broadcaster’s strategy to increase children’s news content online, with the reduced number of TV bulletins allowing for online Newsround stories to increase from an average of four a day to an average of 20.
In a statement on the BBC website, Newsround Editor Paul Plunkett wrote that a record 1.7 million users visited Newsround online during lockdown. “The number of children watching the bulletins on CBBC TV channel have been declining for a number of years so we need to shift resources to where the kids are.”
He added that the scrapped mid-morning and teatime bulletins will allow CBBC to employ its “first, full-time environment journalist” and that the show will continue to deliver in-depth Newsround Specials, with a Newsround YouTube Channel launching in September.
“Given Newsround’s long and proud heritage these changes aren’t ones we’ve taken lightly. Nor is it about saving money – the amount we spend on Newsround will stay the same,” he continued. “But these changes are necessary if Newsround is to mean as much for the next generation as it already has for the millions of kids who’ve watched it for nearly 50 years.”
Stu Rowson, Head of Discovery at BBC Children’s tweeted in response to the news, writing that this was “huge news for the future of Newsround”.
“Around 750,000 kids (estimated) watch our morning bulletin online in classrooms,” he said. “Sad day for teatime TV bulletin, but changing is the best way we can serve kids the news they need.”
In November 2019, the BBC asked Ofcom to reduce the number of required hours of live TV news broadcast from 85 hours per year to 35 per year, which would allow them to limit the five-to-ten minute Newsround bulletins to just one per day.
Newsround, which is currently presented by Ricky Boleto, Martin Dougan and Nazia Mogra on CBBC, began airing on BBC One in 1972 and has since launched the careers of Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Julie Etchingham and Helen Skelton among other journalists.
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