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In 2015 children aged 12-15 who watch both television and YouTube stated a preference for YouTube, according to new research by Ofcom.
The regulator’s ‘Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report’ found that 29 per cent of children in this age group who watch both types of content said they prefer YouTube, compared to 25 per cent who opted for television – 45 per cent said they liked them both the same, while the remainder said they didn’t know.
The results mark a shift from 2014, when 30 per cent of the 12-15 year-olds said they preferred TV versus 25 per cent who liked watching YouTube more, with Ofcom noting that YouTube in particular is becoming “an increasingly important alternative to traditional TV”.
“The content children are consuming is increasingly curated by digital intermediaries,,” said Ofcom in its summary of the key themes of the report. “As well as attractive sources of content, rivalling traditional broadcasters, they are also seen by some children as legitimating brands, helping to vouchsafe the veracity or trustworthiness of content accessed through their sites.”
Ofcom found that while the BBC remains the preferred source of “true and accurate information about things that are going on in the world” among 12-15 year-olds (52 per cent), there has been an increase in the numbers of children this age saying they would turn to YouTube for this information – 8 per cent compared to 3 per cent in 2014.
Some 52 per cent of those who watched YouTube knew that it is funded by paid advertising from companies, a proportion that is unchanged compared to 2014. Meanwhile, 47 per cent of 12-15 year-olds who go online were aware that vloggers might be being paid by the company to say favourable things.
Overall, Ofcom found that in 2015, 69 per cent of 8-11 year-olds and 86 per cent of 12-15 year-olds who watch television also watch YouTube.