BBC to launch iTV service for digital children's channels

LONDON - BBCi, the public service broadcaster's digital division, has developed an interactive gaming and information service to support its digital channels CBeebies and CBBC Digital, which launch next week.

Each channel will get its own tailored service carrying different content and information, with CBeebies geared up towards providing information to help under five-year-olds achieve pre-school goals and CBBC catering for six- to 12-year-olds.

The service will also differ depending on which platform is being used. For pre-schools, digital satellite will have a similar functionality to digital cable: an interactive story and two simple games at any one time.

However, CBBC ITV Digital viewers will initially only be able to access a text version of the service that will list a number of activities, with a selection of games due to follow shortly after the launch.

CBBC viewers on Sky will have access to the first dedicated 52-weeks-a-year interactive TV programming linked to The Saturday Show, and be able to communicate with the weekday magazine show Xchange.

Shortly after launch, digital cable viewers will be able to access Saturday Show content similar to that available on CBBC's online presence. ITV Digital viewers will, from launch, be able to play an interactive version of the popular Saturday Show game "Truth or Spoof".

Greg Childs, BBC head of future TV, said: "These interactive services are right at the heart of making the new CBBC channels the best TV for kids in Britain. They'll have more choice, greater depth and far easier means of access to their programmes than ever before, which is exactly what the new CBBC is all about."

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