While time spent streaming skyrocketed overall throughout the pandemic, viewership of children’s shows grew even more rapidly. According to Nielsen, there was a 43% increase in viewing hours of kids’ TV series on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney+ from 2019 to 2021, compared to a 19% increase in viewing hours for all other types of TV shows on these streamers during this same period.
With kids’ viewing hours on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Disney+ increasing 2.5 times more than all other types of shows from 2019 to 2021, kids’ television has become one the most heated front in the streaming wars. What is more, while children’s viewing hours on these four streamers increased from 2020-2021, viewing hours of all other shows not specific to the kids’ space decreased during this timeframe.
Viewership of kids' movies has likewise exploded on streaming platforms. Four of the top five films on Netflix for all of 2021 were for children, according to Nielsen, including “Mitchells vs. The Machines,” “Vivo,” We Can Be Heroes,” and “Home.” While repeat viewing and families’ slower-than-average return to movie theaters impact these results, streamers recognize the high demand for family-friendly films is not just a passing trend. In fact, their investments indicate continued confidence in the space, as Netflix has made one of its biggest title acquisitions to date with the Roald Dahl library.
Meanwhile, viewership of kids’ content on YouTube is surging at a significantly faster rate than viewership of content overall on the platform. In fact, there have been 9.5 billion more views of the monthly top 10 kids’ content over the past six months than the six months prior — a 15% increase. Comparatively, viewership of the monthly top 10 YouTube content channels overall has slightly decreased during this same period.
This surge in kids’ viewing on YouTube comes as no surprise given that 85% of US children ages 2-12 watch videos on YouTube, per research from Giraffe Insights. This is higher than the percentage of US kids in this age range who watch content on streaming platforms (71%) and twice as much as those who watch TV via broadcast (41%).
The data was cited in the “Kids’ Entertainment Evolution: Changing Content Preferences in a Post-Pandemic World” report, produced by UTA IQ, an analytics, research, and digital strategy division of United Talent Agency. The company surveyed 1.000 parents in the United States with kids ages 3-12 in June 2022.