ITV has announced the planned closure of its children’s channel CITV.
The channel was launched in 2006 following the success of the ITV children’s programming block, launched on ITV in 1983 to offer late afternoon special programs to children aged five to 13.
On Friday (March 10), the broadcaster announced that the CITV channel will close in early autumn after launching a new “dedicated destination for children” on its streaming service ITVX.
The new service, ITVX Kids, is set to launch in July 2023. It will be launched during the UK schools summer holiday season with a range of titles aimed at both school aged and pre-school aged children.
ITVX was launched in December last year to replace the ITV Hub brand as the online home of all ITV content as the channel seeks to compete with streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon.
Despite the closure of CITV, ITV has announced that it will retain the LittleBe pre-school segment on ITVBe and will also offer some early morning children’s content on ITV2 from September.
The ITVX Kids home page will be accessible via a child-safe ITVX Kids profile and will offer more than 1,000 hours of programming, according to ITV. The broadcaster has also said that accessibility for young viewers is “a huge priority”.
According to ITV, the “ambition” is for all ITVX Kids content to be subtitled, with 20 per cent of content offering audio description. The new offer also includes original programs in British Sign Language, such as Operational And Dare master.
Referring to the new plans, ITVX Editor-in-Chief Craig Morris said: “We are delighted to launch this dedicated destination for kids on ITVX which will feature a wealth of content including new series, recognizable brands and existing favorites across a age range , all in a child-safe area, with editorial care to guide viewing.
“The wealth of content will be available to stream free of charge, with the option for parents to opt-in to an ITVX Premium subscription for ad-free viewing.”
ITVX Kids will host both new product launches and highly recognizable children’s programmes, including the animated series MR Bean, Teletubbies, let’s go!, SootyAnd Bob the Builder.
New programming is expected to be added to the service on a monthly basis from July, with content spanning comedy, game shows, live action, animation and sports, “sourced from a wide range of distributors, from small independent companies as well as regional UK providers”. .
Additional coverage by Press Association