Last month Giraffe Insights presented at the Children’s Media Conference 2021. It was a hugely insightful event so with this in mind we provide a roundup of the top industry take-aways!


The rise of ‘metaverse’ gaming was a key trend at the Children’s Media Conference this year. Social gaming has grown substantially over 2020 because of the escalated shift online. Gaming is starting to be viewed as an integral part of life rather than just a hobby as people embrace the constantly switched on way of life. Many parents have started to engage in digital forms of play with their children because it provides shared experiences. As kids and their parents have been spending more time at home, families have been seeking content that they can engage with together and video games have provided an opportunity for family bonding.

In the metaverse, kids are starting to blur the lines between what is real and virtual. As technology advances, video games are becoming universes where consumers can go to escape. Particularly during the pandemic many used gaming as a source of entertainment and an opportunity to socialise and keep in touch with friends. As the metaverse grows, the ability to virtually communicate with friends will become increasingly easier and video games with be an essential method for brands to utilise to engage with their audiences. People will one day go shopping, socialise, and even attend the occasional music festival inside a game. For brands, gaming offers new opportunities for family-based content. Brands should respond by developing an understanding of the gaming community and provide experiences that cater for the whole family. Gaming heroes are also a great genre to base content on with girl gamers being a niche that are often missed!

Social Media

The increasing use of social media was a hot topic at the Children’s Media Conference this year. Kids have become curators and consumers of content and the power of social media platforms within the kids ecosystem should not be underestimated. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have become an extension of kids’ daily interactions with many seeing social media platforms as a key route to engage with friends during lockdown.

TikTok is undeniably the hottest app of the year. The success of TikTok has been put down to its creation of a community for Gen Z where they can be themselves and anybody can claim fame. Tiktok ‘stars’ are also seen to be more down to earth and accessible than traditional celebrities. They interact directly with their audience and provide relatable content. For brands, it’s an opportunity to establish awareness in mainstream culture by utilising these everyday influences. TikTok should be at the heart of any marketing strategy aiming to target young people as the mass following of influencers offers an opportunity for viral content.

However, with more kids spending time online, concerns over kids’ safety on the internet was also raised at the CMC. Kid’s worlds have become saturated by digital making this cohort ‘permanently online and permanently connected’. Questions have been raised over kids talking to strangers online. However, some social media platforms have picked up on this with Instagram set to make all accounts of under 13’s automatically private in the nearby future.

Viewing landscape

For children in particular, education and socialisation were heavily disrupted in 2020. This led to children having a huge increase in free time and ultimately, changes and developments in their media behaviours. Kids have been accessing content at a much younger age and although the big screen is still being utilised, there has been a huge increase in portable devices throughout the pandemic. Some kids are even consuming content on more than one device simultaneously. Co-viewing and compromise have been on the rise as families seek binge worthy content that will keep the whole family happy. However, the increased demand for educational content because of school closures is undeniable.

To meet the increased demand for content, Video On Demand platforms have added more shows and films across the board. However, with COVID-19 halting a huge amount of production in 2020, many platforms had to rely on third party content.

The key players in Video On Demand haven’t changed but keep an eye on Viaplay as it’s set to be the VOD platform to watch out for in the future!

It is no surprise that the way kids consume content and the shifts that we have seen over the past 18 months dominated insights shared at the conference this year.  Here at Giraffe Insights, we continue to track trends across gaming, social media, and linear and online viewing to ensure nothing is missed for brands reaching younger audiences.

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