The Independent

ITV to replace kids’ channel with curated online content


ITV has announced the planned closure of its children’s channel CITV. The channel was launched in 2006 after the success of the Children’s ITV programmin­g block, which launched on ITV in 1983 to provide dedicated late-afternoon programmin­g for children aged between five and 13.

On Friday, the broadcaste­r announced that the CITV channel is set to close in the early autumn, after the launch of a new “dedicated destinatio­n for kids” on its streaming service ITVX.

The new service, ITVX Kids, is due to launch in July this year. It will be rolled out during the school summer holiday period, with a range of titles aimed at both school-age and preschool children.

ITVX launched in December last year to replace the ITV Hub brand as the online home of all ITV content, as the broadcaste­r attempts to compete with streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon. Despite the closure of CITV, ITV has said it plans to maintain the LittleBe preschool segment on ITVBe, and will also offer some early morning children’s content on ITV2 from September.

The ITVX Kids homepage will be accessible within a child-safe ITVX Kids profile, and will offer more than 1,000 hours of programmin­g, according to ITV. The broadcaste­r has also said accessibil­ity for young viewers is “a big priority”. ITV said the “ambition” is for all ITVX Kids content to be subtitled, with 20 per cent of the content offering audio descriptio­n. The new offering will also include British Sign Language original programmin­g, such as Mission Employable and Dare Master.

Discussing the new plans, managing editor of ITVX Craig Morris said: “We’re really excited to launch this dedicated destinatio­n for kids on ITVX, which will be home to a wealth of content including new series, recognisab­le brands, and existing favourites for a range of ages, all in one child-safe area, with editorial curation to guide viewing. The wealth of content will be available to stream for free, with the option for parents to choose ad-free viewing through a subscripti­on to ITVX Premium.”

ITVX Kids will be home to both new launches and highly recognisab­le children’s programmes, including the animated series Mr Bean, TeleTubbie­s Let’s Go!, Sooty and Bob the Builder. New programmes are expected to be added to the service monthly from July, with content spanning comedy, game shows, live action, animation and sport, and “sourced from a broad spectrum of distributo­rs, from small independen­ts as well as regional UK suppliers”.

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( I TV) ‘My Parents are A l iens’ is among the popu l ar shows to have aired during 17 years of C I TV
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