As it’s a new year and we’re in a reflective mood we thought we’d share findings from recent MTM research into the way kids’ media consumption is changing. Kids’ media is an interesting market in its own right, of course. But expectations created by today’s youngest consumers will also shape the production, distribution and consumption of all media content in the years ahead. As Whitney Houston helpfully reminded us, “children are our future.”

MTM regularly conducts multi-market studies looking specifically at kids’ media. In ‘Reflecting on the radical changes in kids’ video viewing and content expectations’, a presentation we made at the 2018 Media Research Group conference, we identified the following key trends:

  1. Kids are spoilt for choice. Perhaps the greatest change in kids’ viewing is the fantastic array of choice they have today, with the proliferation of new platforms, services and channels vying for their attention. ‘Generation Z’ and ‘Alpha’ are growing up with more choice than ever – a far cry from the three-channel Britain of the 1970s
  2. Kids have more control over what they’re watching. Where previously, TV was the primary access point for video content and was policed by the parent, kids now have their own personal means of access through smartphones and tablets which have become the nucleus of younger children’s media ecosystems
  3. Parental influence over kids’ content consumption has radically reduced. The growth of services like YouTube has reduced the degree to which parents control their kids’ content consumption. Parents are bemused by the crazes created by YouTube, from watching videos of your favourite gamers playing Fortnite to kids making slime; all of this seems far removed from the more ‘traditional’ TV programming they grew up with
  4. Kids are watching less linear TV. One key change to note is the cross-market decline in linear TV viewing among kids. While linear TV remains a core activity for kids, and reach remains high, time spent is in long-term decline. Part of the explanation for this is a substantial rise in consumption of YouTube, a platform which generates almost religious devotion amongst kids
  5. Kids have their own individual entertainment microsystems. Kid-centric services like YouTube allow kids to focus solely on their favourite interests, ensuring that the content they see is increasingly personal and specific to them
  6. Kids are increasingly wedded to entertainment properties rather than TV channel brands. Kids are fuelling their fandom of individual entertainment properties via multiple touchpoints and platforms. In this environment, channel brands struggle to cut through. The days when entertainment properties could exist and thrive exclusively on linear TV are gone.

If you’d like to discuss the work we do looking at kids’ media consumption, please get in touch!