Helen Dugdale

Children Consuming Content Their Way

Young people, with strong ideas of their own, are embracing the speedy developments in tech and increasing number of platforms for viewing, gaming and calling for content that they can control.

Nick Richardson, CEO and founder of Kids Insight, a research agency that delves into the way children and families watch TV and use their digital devices reveals what the kids are really up to when lost in their devices. “Technology is playing a far greater role in terms of taking up children’s time. They are now doing a lot more with tech friendlier games, using it to unlock more content. Most parents these days essentially grew up in a world that was more linear with regards to content and tech. While we had to wait until the next day or next week to watch the next episode, we’re seeing that lack of linearity is changing habits, with the use of technology, but also the content they’re watching doesn’t need to be new.”

Morgann Favennec from Xilam Animation agrees with the Richardson: “Our hit series Oggy and the Cockroaches first aired 20 years ago and has never been as popular as it is today, proving that comedy travels well internationally and remains timeless as we see different generations now watching and enjoying the show together.”

© Annie Spratt
© Unsplash
© Oggy and the Coachroaches

Parents In Control

With so many different options of what to watch and how to consume it, for parents it can seem that young viewers are managing to sidestep the eyes and voice of authority and just do exactly what they please. However, Kids Insight, research offers some peace of mind as it shows that parents now have more control, as the number of kids binge-watching TV is decreasing, as Richardson explains:

“On average a UK child would watch three shows back to back, but this has reduced significantly year on year, from only 2% of kids in 2016 watching one episode at a time to 18% in 2017. Kids now watch on average 1-2 episodes, rather than 3-4 a year ago. That’s because the awareness of binge watching and the concerns of effects on health have been covered widely in mainstream media."

"Parents attitudes have changed, and many manufacturers have now put safeguards in place. Which means that a parent can control how much content a child can consume through automation, instead of manually having to be there. That’s not to say that it’s not still an issue, but in our data, we’re seeing a big reduction in binging due to increase in knowledge from parents and changes in technology making parents’ lives easier.”

© Jude Beck

Get used to Gamification

The tween market right up to young adults will no doubt have sampled the delights of what interactive content can offer. Shows such as Netflix’s Bear Gryll’s live-action series You vs. Wild have whetted their appetite. The 8 episode series features interactive experiences with multiple choice options of how the narrative can go next. The show aired on Netflix back in April and is the platforms continued move to experiment with interactive entertainment, which has included the interactive show Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Puss in Boots: Trapped in an Epic Tale.

Grylls said in a statement: "I'm so proud to deliver this first-of-its-kind live-action interactive series, really giving viewers an all-access pass to explore the world and its landscapes in my boots."

Viewers have the power to control which decision Grylls makes as he climbs mountains and enters jungles. "For the first time, my survival is in your hands," the star added when sharing the series announcement on Twitter.

The buzz word on the street for this kind of content is gamification. “We’re now seeing the gamification of content which has increased significantly. Augmented Reality is also going to be a growth opportunity and I think the kids are calling for it. They have this expectation that they will control what they’re watching, and they want to be able to have an impact. The story doesn’t have to be the way the story is. Being able to twist it to suit themselves is all part of the bigger trends of personalisation, that we’ll see more of in 2020,” continues Richardson.

Forget your FOMO the new acronym is KGOY Kids Getting Older Younger phenomenon. One reason for this is the rise of voice-activated content and devices that youngster is able to get the knack of engaging with from an early age. Parents are also welcoming Alexa and Echo as a welcome member of the family. James Poulter, CEO of London-based Vixen Labs, a voice consultancy has seen first-hand the way that Generation Z has taken to voice activated gadgets. "Voice applications and audio content more generally, is gaining real traction as parents seek alternatives to screen time, particularly in the morning routines and bedtime hours. Smart speaker adoption is giving kids themselves access to far greater choice in what to listen to and play with, as well as access to knowledge and facts, as these devices are far cheaper and present less stress for parents. We believe that this is one of the biggest potential growth markets for Kids IP owners in the next 24 months - as kids and parents are in exploration mode looking for new content and brands to engage with via voice.”

We want to hear your kids travel stories? If you have a child who is aged 7-12 and loves their holidays and is a bit of a clever pants when it comes to writing, we'd love to hear from them. Tell them to get in touch.


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