CBBC hires drama boss and launches kids iPlayer

UK public broadcaster the BBC today launched a version of iPlayer for children and hired a new head of kids drama.

The kids iPlayer is for kids aged between six and twelve years old. Through the CBBC website, children will be able to access CBBC programs including Blue Peter, MI High, and Sarah Jane Adventures for a week after their initial broadcast.

The service will restrict inadvertent access to non-children’s programs. The BBC said the user interface had been optimized around how children navigate the web, relying more heavily on visual cues rather than text navigation. A version for preschool children, accessed through the CBeebies website, will be launched next year.

The public broadcaster has also begun the public beta test of a new desktop download manager for the iPlayer based on the Adobe AIR platform. The iPlayer Desktop beta test will enable Mac and Linux as well as Windows users to download programmes to their desktops. Previously, only Windows users were able to download programmes.

Meanwhile, the BBC has appointed Steven Andrew head of drama and acquisitions for its kids channel CBBC. Andrew was previously program director at ITV Digital Channels, where he was responsible for managing the editorial strategy across all of the commercial broadcaster’s digital offerings. Andrew replaces Jon East who is working on new CBBC drama series Bo and the Spirit World.