Report – Research 1 & 2

Posted on: Friday 06 July 2018 4:35pm by Monica Siegenthaler

Sadie Buckingham the Associate Director of Giraffe Insights, Stephen Murfet the Head of Insight at Sky within the Sky Media team and Emily Keaney the Head of Media Literacy Research at Ofcom, discuss their research on what kids watch and why.

1. Kids and the Screen: Changing the Channel


  • Analysis of data around viewing habits of young viewers.
  • Kids are navigating through the content maze, this supports the concept that “Content is King.” Now it is up to the TV provider to make navigating to this content as easy as possible.
  • The data identified patterns in viewing behaviour during holidays, half term and term time. This data revealed if there is a true change in viewing behaviours or if it was the time of year. With this data in mind, companies can plan accordingly.

Sadie Buckingham and Stephen Murfet worked together to deliver a completed picture of linear and online video consumption for viewers aged 2-9 years.

Children have more choices than ever in terms of what to watch and more ways to access it than ever before. The study: ‘Kids and the Screen: The Complete Picture of Video Consumption Among Kids Aged 2-9’ was conducted using online surveys, online communities, focus groups and digital diaries. The study captured the level of involvement in what children were viewing, the type of content, the platform, the channel, and solo viewing vs. joint viewing. The way in which children access content is very consistent, forming a ‘viewing ritual.”

The study concluded with three main points: the ritual, navigation and tracking. The importance of understanding a family’s ritual around TV consumption and how it changes throughout the year helps TV producers to understand what content to show when. Understanding navigation habits will help a company identify triggers which could influence navigation behaviour. Tracking content usages, to see what is popular and what is not reveals what will work in the future, enabling companies to form strategies to be informed and predict what will be successful.


2. So What Do Kids Want From Content?


  • Linear TV is strong and steady.
  • YouTube is rampant in every category of entertainment.
  • It’s not about what content gets the most viewing time. It’s about what is the most memorable. YouTube is the most memorable. This is seen when devices are tracked vs what a person can recall.

Emily Keaney is Head of Media Literacy Research at Ofcom. She explained her work “YouTube, TV and the role of content in children’s lives.” This study sought to answer the questions of what are kids watching, what they like to watch, how kids decide what they watch and what content do they relate to?

Kids enjoy a lot of YouTube as well as linear TV. It’s a mix of YouTube videos and traditional content. While the study revealed that young people spend less time watching TV than they did in the past, they still watch it for on average 1 hour and 40 minutes a day. YouTube is the content platform that children between the ages of 12 to 15. Cartoons are favoured among younger children, whereas older children watch music videos or funny joke videos.

What do they like to watch?
In a survey for 12-15 year olds they were asked what they like to watch. 74 said they liked what makes them laugh. 61 said something that helps them relax. 56 said something that gives them something to talk about with friends. 48 said to learn something. 39 said something that makes them think. 31 said something they can discuss with their family. 29 said something that inspires them to try something new. Finally, 18 said something that scares or shocks them.

How do kids decide what they watch?
Children view trailers, look at their top picks, in person recommendations or through social media, or they look for a high quality programs. Mainly they seek recommendations of some kind.

What content do they relate to?
Half of 12-15 year olds in this study agreed that it was important for content meant for them to include people of their own age and doing similar activities that they do. In general it was discovered that they don’t think that viewing people who live where they live or look like them was important. But 4 in 10 believed that not enough content showed children that live in the same part of the country as themselves. Many 12-15 year olds turn to YouTube for this kind of content.

What content do they identify with?
What this study saw was that children don’t necessarily only relate to characters that look like them or live where they live. One subject said she related to the characters from 13 Reasons Why because within the show, characters around her age were having experiences she could potentially relate with – even if not directly on a personal level.



CMC 2018 Blog CMC Ebulletin Event Previews

Monica Siegenthaler

About the author

Monica Siegenthaler

Mills College, California, Graduate

Monica is a recent graduate from Mills College in California with a masters in Early Child Education. She holds two other degrees, one in Early Child Development and another in Theatre and Film Design. Monica has a special interest in children’s media and technology and has made it the focus… Read more