If your child likes watching CBeebies or CBBC in the UK, then you will know that both channels have cut-off times. At 7pm, the broadcast spectrum used by CBeebies is re-purposed as BBC Four, while CBBC’s spectrum will soon become a BBC Scotland TV channel.
Either way, there’s nothing to watch on the broadcast stream once the channels go off air.
In the commercial world, that’s not usually the case. Nick Jr is showing Peppa Pig in the small hours of the morning; Boomerang is showing LazyTown; and while the Disney Channel does shutdown, it waits until midnight after an 11.15pm Hannah Montana and an episode of Groove High.
When I was in Denmark recently I noticed that the main state broadcaster’s kids channel, DR Ramasjang, aimed like CBeebies at 3-6 year olds, did something amazing at night.
The service broadcasts until 8pm each night, and then it goes into an overnight mode. Essentially it runs a video of all the characters that appear on the service tucked up in bed and asleep!
A camera pans across each character’s “bedroom” in a way that lets kids see that each of their favourite characters has gone to sleep. The implication being that if they’ve gone to sleep then you should go to sleep too. It also reinforces this message should any errant child sneak out of bed and turn on the TV in the middle of the night.
It’s a simple, yet really clever thing. I assume that you only need to make an hour of footage and then loop it. And all you really need to do is plan to shoot a short “sleeping” sequence whenever you commission a new show for the channel. All the sequences are shot in the same way, the camera panning from darkness, left to right, to allow for easy editing.
Judging from YouTube, they’ve been doing this for quite a few years. Anyway, here’s an hour of DR Ramasjang’s “godnat” sequence from 2016: