Digital children’s channels: A comparative analysis of three locally launched servicespurchase PDF
Authors: Katalin Lustyik And Ruth Zanker
children’s television,localization,New Zealand,Qatar,Hungary,globalization
There are over two billion children worldwide under the age of 18, who are targeted by an increasing number of television channels solely dedicated to them. As such globally circulated programmes and networks expand their reach using digital platforms, is there a need – and room for – locally produced television content for young people? From the perspective of national media policy advocates, locally developed, produced and broadcast programmes can provide children with a sense of their own place in an increasingly complex globalized media landscape and ensure that programmes are developed with the interest, perspective and views of local children in mind. This article explores the dichotomy between ‘local’ and ‘global’ television content targeting children in the context of debates on media globalization. Our three case studies from radically different media policy environments, focus specifically on locally produced content offered on dedicated national children‘s digital television channels launched locally to promote the cultural heritage of a specific nation or region. They provide concrete examples of how local content is conceptualized and what types of content children have to choose from. Our findings are paradoxical. Although each channel has been created to speak back to dominant audio-visual children’s flows from the periphery, our findings are that the better funded nationally based dedicated children’s channels have grown into successful market players beyond original national boundaries. The first case study examines dedicated local children’s provision in New Zealand, focusing on TVNZ6, a digital children‘s channel that operated as part of the public service broadcasting sector. The second case study focuses on children‘s television content in Hungary and uses the case of Minimax Hungary, an Eastern European regional commercial network targeting children growing up in a dynamically transforming post-communist media system. The third case study looks at television content produced in the Middle East by focusing on Al Jazeera Children’s Channel (JCC), a pan-Arabic non-commercial edutainment channel established in Qatar and funded by the Qatar Foundation.