Content in the Time of Corona

Posted on: Monday 18 May 2020 12:54am by Cate Zerega


  • Kids are good at sensing their limit with their screen time, even during lockdown.
  • Teens are very smart and can create content by themselves for themselves.
  • Mindfulness has entered the children’s media space in a big way.

Links and Resource Handout  for this webinar

David Kleeman of Dubit began the first of three presentations by noting the differences that creators are navigating as the landscape is shaped by Covid-19:

  • Time spent with media is up, and the usual rules about monitoring consumption are suspended.
  • Creators need children to keep engaged, and kids want creators to keep new content flowing.
  • The trust young audiences have placed in media during lockdown has heightened the social responsibility of creators.

Children’s content created during the coronavirus crisis has included new genres and formats, such as footage designed for and shot on an iPhone. There is, unusually, content from heads of state targeting younger citizens and addressing issues of physical and mental health. There is of course content encouraging safe behavior, such as ‘stay at home’ and hand-washing.

Carlotta Merzari of Northforma Entertainment began her analysis of Gen Z influencers, observing that ‘this generation is not just watching but creating all the time’. This content cycle provides a glimpse of the internal worlds of Gen Z.

  • Online video consumption for Gen Z has increased 51%, making YouTube and Tik Tok the content kings.
  • Gen Z consumption of funny videos is up 52%, and consumption of memes is up 54%, indicating that kids are using humor as distraction and feel it as a shared experience.
  • Influencer content remains typical – e.g. influencers sharing their daily routines. Following an influencer who is authentic at this time is essential and appreciated by Gen Z.
  • There is a notable language trend of influencers and young people using words from the mindfulness movement, such as ‘motivated mindset’.
  • Influencers have generated practical support during lockdown – witg significant impact. Gamer @jacksepticeye raised almost 40% of the global total in a multi-platform fundraiser for World Health Day’s Covid-19 relief campaign.

Journalist Stuart Dredge analysed digital trends during the crisis. Digital has addressed the void left by sports, museums, and live music. Lockdown has created an opportunity for smaller companies in the kids’ market to find their digital voice by offering free printable and app content. By offering content parents are seeking, the content providers can build relationships that last beyond the pandemic.

  • Children’s daily podcasts are part of a “lean-back” trend in engagement.
  • Rapper Travis Scott put on a digital concert (with profanity cut out, rcognising the number of children who might attend). It was spectacularly stage in the game Fortnite and he four versions for different time zones logged 27.7 Million attendees.
  • Museums were already working on new digital content and delivery ideas, but lockdown has been an opportunity for them to implement changes more quickly.
  • There are deals to be done that might bring together a big mindfulness brand with a big children’s brand.


Changemakers Gracie Gosling and Malik Juma (both BAFFTA Kids presenters) concluded the webinar with reports on their coronavirus content consumption. Gracie has been fulfilling challenges posed in Tik Tok, and lkeeping upi a stream of YouTube content, while Malik has been cutting back on screen time to listen to more music. They both explained explained the concept behind the BFI’s ‘See Yourself on Screen Challenge’ for 4 to 18-year-olds.

The webinar concluded with a Q&A:

Does coronavirus programming trigger fears for kids?

David Kleeman has found that BBC interviewers are addressing this fear by offering balanced content so that kids can find the helpful stories as well.

What is the impact of coronavirus on narrative and production methods for children?

There is a desire for younger audiences to see more of themselves in mainstream media (e.g., the opportunity to participate in Fortnite and Animal Crossing, where they are already figuring out how to broadcast themselves).

Blog CMC 2020 Webinar Blog

Cate Zerega

About the author

Cate Zerega

University of Nottingham, Student

Cate hails from Chicago - so she likes her theatre fringe and her pizza deep. Her MA thesis analyses male anxiety in post war Hollywood film for the Institute for Screen Research at the University of Nottingham. Cate has worked in casting, as a talent agent and as a nanny;… Read more