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Are Kids Really Engaging with Your TV Content?

Kids Consumer Research and Commentary

Futuresource has released findings from its latest wave of Kids Tech international consumer research. The survey, interviewing children aged three to sixteen years, revealed that almost 60% of children are multi-tasking while watching TV - an increase of just over half when compared to the same survey conducted six months prior. While the results indicate that TV is still the dominant platform for TV and video viewing – particularly in France where TV has more than a 50% share of preference - it raises questions around current engagement levels in a multi-platform world.

“As kids crave more content, consuming it from multiple sources at once, the result is a reduction in focus and a lack of engagement with any single activity,” says Carl Hibbert, Associate Director at Futuresource. “Of the children who are multi-tasking, 57% are playing games while watching TV, 41% are on social media and 29% are watching content on a second video screen.”

Live TV Still Shines Through

Scheduled TV is still the most popular option in China, France and Germany. Children in the USA and in the UK have an equal preference for scheduled TV and free online video, with the two platforms hitting the top spot for almost the same percentage of respondents. Free online video platforms rule the roost in Brazil and Mexico.

Ease of Operation a Key Consideration

“Regardless of the platform, the messages that are coming through in our research are multi-tasking and ease of operation,” says Hibbert. “The most popular reason for platform choice is ease of operation, with around half of kids mentioning this as the primary reason for choosing a specific platform. The answer is the same, whether they are watching Live TV, SVoD, YouTube or any other platform, and this shows little fluctuation with age.”

Among three- to-six-year-olds, parents highlight that the reassurance of a platform offering safe content is as important as platform preference. In this age group, content that plays automatically is mentioned significantly more than in all the other age groups.

Focusing on SVoD, in Germany, when compared to the last wave of Futuresource research, children’s access to Netflix has increased by 10 percentage points, which reflects Netflix’s success in the country during the past year. In the USA, around half of respondents already have access to the new streaming service Disney+, which will launch in several international markets throughout this year. Prominent local players exist across all markets, though uptake in all cases is lower than Netflix and Amazon.

WhatsApp Overtakes Facebook, Snapchat on the Up

Among younger children, tablets are more popular than smartphones for watching online video. In line with rising device access and ownership with age, the smartphone becomes more popular as children get older. In terms of apps, WhatsApp has now surpassed Facebook for the first time with a 36% uptake and is up by 52% in the 11 to 12 years age range. This change is likely due to WhatsApp’s lack of minimum age requirement. Despite a minimum age of 13 to register, 41% of 11- to 12-year-olds have their own Facebook account - a share that reaches more than 50% in Brazil and Mexico. Beyond WhatsApp and Facebook, the next three most popular apps are Instagram, Snapchat and Google +.

Futuresource Consulting’s Kids Tech Wave 11 report is based on 9958 consumer interviews carried out with children aged between three and 16 years, with quotas set against both age and gender. Surveys were conducted in China, Germany, France, Brazil, Mexico the UK and the USA. For more information on this report, please contact Jack Tammaro via

Date Published:

Carl Hibbert

About the author

Carl Hibbert

Heading the Consumer Media & Technology Research team, with over 20 years industry analyst experience. Carl maintains & develops Futuresource's services across all forms of entertainment & consumer electronics, ensuring unrivaled insight & knowledge in sector dynamics and future industry direction. A regular presenter at industry conferences across USA, Europe and Asia and frequent contributor to press and trade journals.

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