Following the Children’s Media Conference last week, we have been thinking all about content and there is no denying just how important diverse, representative and authentic content is when it comes to younger audiences. Across both our syndicated studies Kids & the Screen and Little Voices we hear time and time again from young people just how important quality content is and the ultimate motivation to view across any platform is being able to consume the content they love. 44% of kids aged 2-12 said their top motivation to view was the content.  So what content are kids and parents hankering after and which platforms are delivering?

The pre-school market in particular is a dominant force when it comes to setting trends we have seen over the last 3 years. At this stage developmentally kids are unable to navigate to the content themselves, with Mum and Dad getting them to what they want to watch.  Parents will know the genre of content that their child loves and what captures their attention and will often revert back to a safety net of content that they know and trust. Kids at this age can have a narrower content repertoire as a result but this doesn’t mean they watch any less often! With gatekeeper selection playing a bigger role at this age we see content that satisfies both the needs of the parents and also the kids coming through most strongly, with educational and entertaining content driving engagement. It is subscription video on demand and in particular Netflix that is fulfilling this need most successfully, not only providing content that combines education and entertainment but also in a safe environment where there is minimal risk of inappropriate content being accessed.

As kids get older their content needs and navigational capabilities evolve. They are able to use a multitude of platforms by themselves to access content to satisfy their needs across the day. What we see is that content that is personal to them and reflects more of their own interests is the ultimate winner and YouTube is most often where they can find it.  It’s not only about being able to find content that reflects their own personal interests but also reflects who they are, content that is made by kids like them and even in some instances from the area in which they live. At this stage kids have more freedom and variety in the type of content and platform they are able to access and what we see is them switching seamlessly between them to view what they want, when they want it. 

Ease of navigation and having the right mix of content is key with very different needs being met by each. The content we view is no longer dictated by time of day but with content available on demand it is more about the need that it is able to satisfy, such as improving a mood, relaxing before bed, aiding tasks for younger children or filling time when we are on the go. 

So, where does broadcast TV come into this?  Despite Live TV seeing a decline over the last few years, we know from our Kids and the Screen study that it is still embedded within the routine of the day particularly in the early morning period before kids head off to school and during the weekend evenings when families spend time together. However, it can no longer be driven by the time stamp that it provides with a wealth of other content available on demand elsewhere. Broadcaster video on demand is extremely important for channel brands wanting to keep kids on the journey with them and with many channels now having a presence across linear and online providing kids with diverse, representative and authentic content, cross-platform has never been more important to keep kids tuning in.

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