Last month ITV announced the sad ending of their children’s television channel CITV (originally Childrens ITV), with all content moving to ITVX, their new VOD platform.  Retiring the CITV name after 40 years on air truly marks the end of an era for so many – including us here at Mostly.  With great shows including Jungle Run, Horrid Henry, Art Attack and Sooty, CITV was a staple for childhood broadcast TV.  Many point to the axe of government funding for children’s programming in 2022 as reason behind the downturn in children’s TV production combined with changing viewing trends in children.  Research by Ofcom revealed that in 2022, children were twice as likely to watch TV on VOD than on Linear TV, with nearly all (96%) children watching VOD, compared to only 56% watching live TV.  BARB viewing data shows the time spent by British children watching children’s linear TV channels has dropped by a steep 62% since 2019, whilst streaming figures for children rose by over 30%.  However, Greg Childs of the Children’s Media Foundation has warned against the relocation, citing concerns for those children who only have access to broadcast television.

From a media perspective, the impact on advertisers is unclear at the moment.   Sean Japp, MD of Mostly Media North spoke to ITV and says “It’s a sad demise for a fantastic channel, which has been a key driver for sales in the Toy Industry for many years as well as keeping many a child entertained.  Talks are ongoing on how the shift to VOD will affect trading for this year’s key sales period of August to December”.  The transition to VOD seemed inevitable, but wistful nonetheless, and it’ll be interesting to see how the change affects CITV’s viewership and impacts advertisers.