The FINANCIAL — Kids today are going mobile and on-demand when it comes to viewing content, according to a new global survey by Ipsos for DHX Media.
The survey, which polled 2,700 parents of kids aged 12 and under in Canada, the United States and Britain, found that the average child across all three countries spends 72% of their content-watching time each day viewing content from a streaming source. These sources include subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Shomi, Hulu and Amazon (Prime) Instant Video (47%), and advertising video on demand (AVOD) services like YouTube and free streaming sites (25%). By comparison, kids are spending an average of 28% of their viewing time watching content from a traditional TV service.
While three in four kids (75%) continue to use some sort of television to watch content, six in ten (61%) are using tablets to watch their favourite shows, and 40% are using smartphones. Even among very young kids aged 2 or less, half (49%) are exposed to content on tablets, and the number rises in line with age (64% of 3-6 year olds, and 69% of 7-12 year olds).
Ownership of mobile devices is quite prominent in households with children under 13 years of age. Eight in ten (78%) have at least one tablet, while nine in ten (90%) have at least one smartphone. Three in ten (29%) have a tablet that is used only by a child and 14% have a smartphone that is used only by a child.
When it comes to what services kids are using to stream content from non-traditional sources, YouTube accounts for 15% of kids’ daily content viewing, while Netflix takes up 13%. Looking at all of YouTube’s paid and free services combined, kids spend about a quarter (24%) of their total daily viewing time on YouTube. Tablets (45%) are the most popular screen used by children to watch streamed content, followed by nearly one in four (23%) children who use smartphones to stream their shows.
Most Parents at Ease with Streamed Content for Kids
A majority of parents (69%) say they’re comfortable with the content their kids are exposed to on streamed video subscription services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, rating their comfort a 1, 2 or 3 out of 6 (on a scale where 1 is ‘most comfortable with content’ and 6 is ‘least comfortable with content’). This is on par with the 70% of parents who say they’re comfortable with the content their kids see on traditional TV.
Further, more than eight in ten parents (86%) find it acceptable (32% very/54% somewhat) that in order to access content for free, children are exposed to ads on YouTube that have been approved as child-safe by standards organisations.
One Click Content to Retail
Nearly two in three (64%) parents agree they are likely to buy toys, clothes or books that feature their child’s favourite TV/movie characters, rating their agreement a 5, 6 or 7 out of 7 (on a scale where 1 is ‘strongly disagree’ and 7 is ‘strongly agree’). Looking to the future, one potential way to do this is the concept of “one click content to retail” (OCTR), which would allow a child watching YouTube or a streaming video service to click on a character, toy or game of interest and add it to a wish list. Parents would have the option to review the wish list at any time, or receive notifications as new items are added. Four in ten parents (43%) across the three countries say they like this idea (23% extremely well / 21% very well), leaving three in ten (30%) who don’t like it as much (20% do not like at all / 10% like slightly), and the rest (27%) who fall somewhere in the middle (12% like quite well/15% like somewhat).
Taking the OCTR concept one step further, parents were asked how much they liked the idea of having an option for parents to click through from a child’s wish list, or even directly from a streaming video, to an online retail platform, where toys or other products can be purchased. Again, four in ten parents (40%) like the idea (20% extremely well / 20% very well), while three in ten (32%) don’t care for it as much (20% do not like at all / 12% like slightly) and the rest (28%) are somewhere in between (14% like quite well / 14% like somewhat).
Further, about half of all parents surveyed (49%) say they’d buy an item (22% definitely / 27% probably) using OCTR if the option was available today and the cost of items was reasonable. About three in ten (28%) are on the fence, saying they might or might not buy an item through OCTR. The remaining 23% of parents aren’t so convinced (12% definitely would not / 11% probably would not).
Profile of OCTR Parents
Younger parents, aged 18-34, are much more likely to consider (44%) buying a toy or another item through OCTR if it were available than not (24%). Gender also appears to play a role, with dads being more likely to consider buying through OCTR (53%) than not (36%).
Parents who would consider buying something for their children using OCTR also appear to be more positive about YouTube videos featuring children opening new toys and games. Asked to choose words that best describe this type of video content, OCTR considerers are significantly more likely to choose words like ‘entertaining’, ‘fun’, ‘educational’, ‘informative’ and ‘a way to share’, compared to parents who wouldn’t consider using this as a channel to purchase gifts:
Entertaining: 43% of parents likely to purchase through OCTR chose the word “entertaining” to describe the YouTube videos, compared with 19% of those who would not consider OCTR purchases;
Fun: 44% of those who would consider OCTR vs. 20% of non-considerers;
Informative: 41% of those who would consider OCTR vs. 20% of non-considerers;
Educational: 34% of those who would consider OCTR vs. 8% of non-considerers;
Way to share: 25% of those who would consider OCTR vs. 15% of non-considerers.
Online Shopping Habits
Whether buying for their children, themselves or others, more than eight in ten parents (85%) say they research what to buy online at least once a month. Online shopping is also a regular habit for a majority of parents, with eight in ten (78%) admitting they buy products online at least once monthly. A good amount of this online shopping is being done for kids: parents estimate that nearly four in ten (37%) purchases they made specifically for children in the past three months were made online. Conversely, six in ten purchases for kids (63%) were made in store.