Parents are increasingly co-viewing with children as they take a more active role in selecting appropriate content, giving rise to increased fandom opportunities, according to a new global study from insights, strategy and creative agency Kids Industries of 5.000 families across ten countries, spanning six continents. The study hones in on what it means to be a family in 2023 and presents a timestamp of family life today around the world, in terms of attitudes, media habits, mental health and hopes for the future.
The report notes that the amount of content available for children and their parents has gone from abundant to prolific to overwhelming, creating an ecosystem in which quality and engagement plays an ever-increasing role. In fact, the average global family has 6.1 devices, the average child owns 3.1, and the average number of TV subscriptions is 5.1. In the UK, there are 42.808 titles to choose from Prime Video, Netflix, Now TV, and Disney+.
“There is a risk associated with this. Too much choice, delivered too quickly at too low a quality will struggle to build a supportive and invested fanbase – a community that will invest in merchandise, experiences and more,” commented Gary Pope, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Kids Industries.
● LIVE TV VS STREAMING
The study also found that global family is just as likely to watch live TV as streamed. According to the report, 53% of children watch live TV at least once a week compared to 55% watching streamed content. Meanwhile, co-viewing time as a family has grown significantly: in 2019, 74% of parents said they co-viewed with their children at least once a month, while in 2023 73% of parents co-view at least half the time.
Children are most likely to discover new streamed content from: YouTube (57%), recommendations from friends and family (51%), adverts on VOD/streaming platforms (37%), and live TV advertising (32%). YouTube also plays a huge role in brand discovery, as 50% of children find new brands and products on this platform, 46% from friends and family recommendations, and 30% through live/broadcast TV advertising.
“Both linear and streamed content have something to offer children. But, in my opinion, linear is gaining momentum because of trust. It offers a viewership moment even if it is not as frequent as streaming does, making an ‘event’ something to look forward to, something to anticipate. A program becomes a special moment for families meaning franchise and fandom are able to flourish,” Pope said.
● PARENTS DRIVING CHANGE IN KIDS’ MEDIA CONSUMPTION
There is an emergent global parent that is driving a change in the way global children’s media is delivered and consumed. Parents want content that they can trust, with 32% saying “negative media the child is exposed to” is the biggest challenge they face. Parents’ top five priorities from media content are: positive role models for children (52%), the opportunity to watch/play together and have fun (47%), soft education such as problem solving (42%), storylines explaining real-world issues (38%), and the focus on imagination and fantasy (38%).
“Our first share of the research findings focuses on trends in the streaming space and reveals how today, forming a connection to content is fundamental for a program’s success. In the fragmented world of children’s media, this is becoming both more important and yet more scarce than ever,” Pope noted.
“In a time where our research shows that 89% of 3-5-year-olds can navigate a smartphone, but only 14% can tie their shoelaces, we can see how models are shifting right before our eyes. Brands that are not building fans in significant numbers connected to the stories they tell, should be concerned,” he added.