Statement from Animation UK: Young Audiences Content Fund

Industry News  |  31 January 2022

In response to the decision by Government not to continue the Young Audiences Content Fund, Animation UK expresses disappointment and calls for a reversal of the decision and an urgent review of children’s content and investment options.

In response to the OFCOM consultation last year, “small screen, big debate”, Animation UK called for urgent attention to be placed on arguably the most important demographic – children and young people:

25% of the audience and 100% of the future.

Animation UK fully supported the introduction of the Contestable Model and argued strenuously for its application to children’s content. We have been involved at every stage of the pilot and have seen the evidence building to evidence the success of the pilot Young Audiences Content Fund.

We now join the growing group of organisations that have expressed dismay and concern about the decision to stop the YACF funding.

The three-year pilot of the Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF) has had a huge impact. The YACF has increased output through the PSBs, and in just a few years delivered quality content for the audience. The process has been responsive and inclusive; the nature & range of content also meets regional and diversity criteria. Furthermore, this funding model is particularly beneficial for the independent sector as it offers access to both production and development funds. We know it succeeded in allowing new British voices across the UK to be shown on screen.

Children’s content and regulation have been the subject of several reviews over recent years, considering changes in children’s viewing habits, declining advertising revenue and the well-documented reduction in the UK originated children’s content output.

We need a new debate urgently focussing on the value of PSB content for children, its criticality, impact, and the most effective ways of addressing documented market failure and documented lack of investment in the UK originated content over the last decade. To halt the funding of this new approach before this is done is both illogical and shows a disregard for the critical issue of children’s content.

We now urgently repeat our call for a new review of Children’s Content investment models.

Signed by the Animation UK Council:

Kate O’Connor – Executive Chair, Animation UK

Oli Hyatt MBE – Managing Director, BlueZoo

Phil Dobree – CEO, Jellyfish Pictures

Kerry Lock – Finance Director, Aardman Animation

Erica Darby – Joint MD, Spider Eye

Ian Liddell – CEO, Studio Liddell Ltd.

Ian Mackinnon – Co-founder, Mackinnon & Saunders

Ruth Fielding – Joint MD, Lupus Films

Britt Gardiner – Locksmith Animation

Jamie Badminton – Karrot Entertainment

Mark Taylor – A Productions