Over the last five years, the audience of children’s channels in Italy has grown by 21 per cent, going from 537,000 viewers on an average day in 2012 to almost 649,000 in 2016.
The figures, published by Italian daily Avvenire, are based on data from Auditel which analysed 27 thematic channels for children and teenagers that are available in Italy on DTT and satellite.
However, the growth has not been equal across all distributions. The 7 free-to-air DTT channels have seen their audience grow by 42 per cent, while the 20 or so pay-TV channels (carried by Sky Italia and Mediaset Premium) have registered a drop of 43 per cent in a five-year period, and by 32 per cent in the last four years.
One of the key reasons for this is the ever-increasing number of FTA channels. Also, in a time of economical crisis, Italian families are giving up on TV services that they cannot afford.
The most popular channel is Rai YoYo, the only one commercial-free channel that Rai targets at the youngest viewers. Last year, it had an average daily audience of more than 134,000 viewers, up by 46 per cent compared to 2012.
Two channels from Mediaset-Turner group are second and third. Boing has a stable audience of around 95,000, while Cartoonito has 88,000 viewers daily (+22 per cent since 2012).
Next up is Super!, operated by Italian media group DeAgostini with Viacom, which recorded 70,000 viewers in the last 12 months (+26 per cent). Fifth and sixth are two Discovery channels: Frisbee and K2. Both stand at 65,000 daily viewers, but while K2 has remained stable, Frisbee (dedicated to those under 6 years old) has recorded a growth of over 47 per cent in the five-year period. However, the best performance has been registered by Rai Gulp, whose viewership has grown by 65 per cent in the reference period, to 56,000 viewers.
In the pay-TV segment, Disney’s eight TV channels distributed by Sky Italia have lost 52 per cent of their audience in five years (from 60,000 in 2012 to 29,000 in 2016). The two Boomerang channels (Turner group, also on Sky) saw a drop of 46 per cent (from 10,000 to 5,400), Cartoon Network is in the same situation (Turner group, distributed both on Sky and Mediaset Premium), whose audience dropped by 23 per cent (from 13,000 to 10,000).
The two Nickelodeon channels (Viacom group, on Sky) are in an even worse situation, having seen a drop of 63 per cent (from 20,000 to 7,400). The two Nick Jr. channels are down by 21 per cent (from 18,000 to 14,000 viewers). The same fate has touched the channels produced by DeAgostini, registering a fall of 21 per cent in five years, mainly due to the two DeA Kids channels (60 per cent). On the bright side, DeA Junior (aimed at 3-5 year olds) is constantly growing and has surpassed 3,000 viewers.