ABC expands kids' services
Rose Major

With the last of Australia’s commercial networks detailing digital plans (see separate story), public service broadcaster ABC has taken the chance to reveal the line-up of its new digital-only childrens' channel, ABC3. And the positive response to its plans has led the broadcaster to increase its provision of childrens’ services elsewhere.

As part of the new provisions, pre-school programming on the broadcaster’s existing multichannel, ABC2, will expand. From December 4, ABC for Kids on 2 will broadcast weekdays from 9am to 6pm and weekends 6am to 6pm. Currently, ABC2 airs kids’ programming 10am-4.30pm on weekdays.

ABC3 will broadcast 6am to 9pm, with content suitable for older children airing during the later part of the schedule. On weekdays, ABC3 will offer two hosted blocks of programming, Studio 3 in the morning and RollerCoaster in the afternoons.

Programming will include dramas My Place, Dance Academy and Dead Gorgeous, animation CJ the DJ, science show Richard Hammond’s Blast Lab and documentary series Be The Creature.

Much content from the channel will be available on ABC1 in the early years, with ABC3 programming screening on ABC1 from 6-8am and 4-6pm on weekdays. ABC3 programming will also be available online, via a kids’ version of ABC internet TV service iView.

Kim Dalton says the changes on ABC2 are in response to audience demand. “When we launched pre-school content on ABC2 last year, the response was immediate and definite. Parents and carers made it clear they wanted more commercial-free programming for young children that had an Australian voice. That dedicated programming will now be available all day, every day on ABC2.”

ABC for Kids on 2 will include an hour of programming from international hit childrens’ entertainers The Wiggles.