World of the "Teletubbies"
The Teletubbies are a global programme
success. Commissioned by the BBC and made by Ragdoll Productions
under the direction of Anne Wood and Andrew Davenport, they set
out from Britain to conquer the world. Television companies in over
60 countries have acquired the broadcasting rights (see map of the
Since 10th March 1997 this pre-school
series has been shown in Britain, since 28th March 1999
in the ARD/ZDF Children's Channel and since April 1999 on the ARD
A successful programme innovation
The Teletubbies is an unusual children's
programme for the very youngest viewers (main target group 2-5 years).
The rhythm of the cutting and the narration is extremely calm, the
story is constantly repeated and is therefore predictable. Despite
public criticism, the series is popular with the young viewers and
their parents. One million people watch the Teletubbies every
day in the ARD/ZDF Children's Channel.
Business with the Teletubbies
The Teletubbies are not only the BBC
Worldwide's largest investment to date in the area of children's
television, they also make considerable profits for all companies
involved. BBC Worldwide gives the income from the Teletubbies
as £ 330m in the years 1997 and 98 (see diagram).
There are approximately 300 merchandising
products on the series on the international market. So far 56 licences
have been granted for the Federal Republic of Germany.
- 1 million Teletubbies books sold
- Over 500,000 videos sold (Ravensburger),
- 45,000 Teletubbies computer games
sold (The Learning Company)
- 125,000 copies of the Teletubbies
Magazine sold monthly (Panini Verlag)
The Teletubbies: criticism, cult
objects and projection
Search engines in the World Wide Web are
now showing over 70,000 entries, ranging from fan pages to Teletubbies
hate sites. The Teletubbies are not only a worldwide success
with children, adults have also made them a subject of discussion
throughout the world. The Teletubbies are stirring up the
debate on children and television anew, they have acquired cult
status and become areas for projecting cultural criticism and homophobia.