Monday, December 17, 2012

RIP CBeebies

As November drew to a close, it was curtains down for BBC's kids channel CBeebies in India. Launched in 2007, CBeebies was a breath of fresh air amongst the clutter of children's channels available at the time.

I am no big fan of the Teletubbies (in fact, they creep me out a wee bit) and The Night Garden. But for a toddler or a young child, shows like these provided content that was both age-appropriate and interesting.

My kids don't watch a lot of TV but I have managed to keep them away from shows like Ben 10 (which I consider violent) and Shin-Chan (an unacceptable role model) largely because CBeebies provided me with alternatives.

But what really set CBeebies apart was its complete lack of advertisements. With the other channels, even if I can find appropriate shows for the kids to watch, I can't control what they will see during the ad breaks.

It's really sad that a channel that does not depend on advertisers for revenues cannot survive in our country. If we continue to expect to get our news and entertainment for free, we will soon find ourselves in a media landscape where big corporate spenders increasingly define what we get to see (and what we don't get to see) - a world where kids TV channels adopt Medianet type approaches, taking money to create advertiser-led content, a la Times of India rather than focussing on what would serve our kids best.

Goodbye, CBeebies. I hope you can figure out a way to come back and save us from the media vultures circling above.

17 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:47 pm

    Oh! This is news to me. Mister maker was the only show Arvind was even allowed occasionaly at his grandparents place.
    But I do know a lot of parents and grandparents who swear by CBeeBies.
    I dread the alternatives - Doremon? Dear God!

    -Sarvani

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    Replies
    1. From the comments below, age appropriate and ad free content on You Tube seems the way to go.

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  2. yes I have to let her watch some cbeebies videos on my laptop after the channel folded up and I am also glad that my 4 yrs old doesn't know about cartoon channels and even when other kids mention them doesn't show much interest.

    we too miss cbeebies !

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    1. My older one knows but seems blessedly disinterested in shows like Ben 10 and Chota Bheem. The little one just watched whatever her brother watches - which is usually a movie every weekend.

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  3. The past 2 yrs in Delhi I've been without a TV. May seem odd, but I dont miss it. Have heard of these cartoon from colleagues with kids. Havent seen even one of them though.

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    Replies
    1. Wow! I don't think I could give up TV - I am the hypocrite who watches TV after the kids are tucked in for the night ;-)

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    2. Me too :P I get my dose after the kid is in bed :)

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  4. Anonymous12:06 am

    Seriously Rohini...I am missing cbeebies like hell... My son loved it. Here are some petitions...dn't knw hw useful they are but hav signed one anyways...
    http://www.change.org/en-IN/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=cbeebies
    Mini

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    Replies
    1. I don't have much faith in online campaigns and petitions in effecting any actual change.

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  5. :( CBeebies was good, decent fun!! I swear, I don't know why channels for kids come up with stuff like Chota Bheem where the guy keeps hitting and fighting. Is that what kids are supposed to see and learn?? And I have seen a difference in what the same channel shows in India vs 2 other countries.... I have promised myself not to subscribe to any of these channels when I am back this time. The kid shall have to find other ways to entertain himself!

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    Replies
    1. Do not even get me started on Chota Bheem. Low IQ, low production values, low entertainment quotient.

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    2. Anonymous11:39 pm

      Agree to wat simran said...on one hand v talk abt saving the wild animals n on the other hand,kids are exposed to chota bheem where he keeps fighting wth lions n tigers n other wild animals...they are always shown in a bad light...

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  6. Completely agree, it was the ONE totally acceptable kids channel, and they managed to find ways to take it off the air. Very sad :(.

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  7. Even we were sad with Cbeebies no longer being shown in India...even when the cost of subscribing to it was higher compared to other channels, i preferred it to other Indian channels..my daughter loves Uki and watches the episodes only on Youtube nowadays..we even cut a Uki cake for her 3rd birthday..

    Completely agree with you..the best part about CBeebies was the no ads thing as i saw ads for Loreal Shampoo on some kids channel!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, a lot of moms sit with their kids when they watch TV so advertisers see it as an opportunity to catch them too - hence the Loreal type ads on kiddie channels.

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  8. Totally agree with you Ro!
    But surprisingly, the kids arent missing it all that much...Thanks to youtube, which saves from the occassional cry for TV.
    But to be honest, I do miss some of the good science pgms which were for older kids....
    Again a case of getting used to things, I guess.

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    Replies
    1. Some decent science-y stuff on Discovery Science. Ayaan loves the How The Universe Works series.

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