Research: A third of kids choose TV content for family viewing

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GWI, the target audience company, has launched its new dataset, GWI Kids and accompanying report, Kids These Days, which delves into the attitudes, behaviours and beliefs of over 15,400 kids aged 8-15.

Uniquely tailored to bring their perspectives to the surface, GWI Kids uncovers children’s expectations of brands today, and builds an authentic understanding of this audience.

The report reveals that this forward thinking audience could shape the future of brands’ content as a rising influence across the entertainment and retail industries.

Streaming is a family affair

  • Kids play a leading role in their families’ streaming preferences, having significant influence over what shows and movies they watch, and in turn, which subscriptions are signed up to.
  • Two thirds (64 per cent) of kids aged 8-11 watch TV shows with their parents always or most of the time, and over half (56 per cent) of those aged 12-15 do so. Crucially, around a third of 12-15 year olds say they decide what they watch.
  • Big streaming players including Netflix, YouTube and Disney+, as well as challengers like Paramount+, are aiming to grab a slice of the family entertainment pie, with the likes of Netflix’s Sweet Tooth and Disney’s Cruella raking in the views in recent weeks. To be successful, streaming services need to make sure they’re catering to young people as well as adults.

Equality & sustainability are top of mind for teens

  • Girls aged 12-15 are not only just as likely as boys to say they’re confident, but their confidence also shines through in other attitudes. They’re much more likely than boys the same age to say they can do any job they want to (57 per cent vs 31 per cent) and value voicing their opinions more highly than their male counterparts (47 per cent vs 42 per cent). Youth today are being raised with an emphasis on equal opportunities, and so brands need to do their part to reflect this and ensure girls and women are equally represented in campaigns, media, and messaging.
  • Pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours are top of mind for today’s teens. Some 44 per cent of 12-15 year olds say caring for the planet is important to them, which is higher than priorities typically associated with this age group, like caring about peers’ opinions (28 per cent) or being up-to-date on the latest fashion trends (23 per cent). This is reflected in their expectations of brands when it comes to environmentally friendly practices and CSR policies more broadly. Living and breathing these values should be every brand’s top priority.

Kids are tomorrow’s shoppers

  • Some teens are already making digital purchases; 15 per cent of 12-15s have made one in the last week, rising to a quarter among those with a bank account they can access.
  • Around 1 in 3 teens also turn to social media to engage with their favourite brands, and they have certain content preferences – funny posts and memes both resonate really well with teens. This kind of content can be balanced with posts that reiterate a company’s CSR and commitment to addressing wider societal issues, which we know are important to this group.

“Kids are the next generation of consumers, so it’s crucial to incorporate their values in your brand strategy. Attitudes expressed at this age are also a good indication of how tomorrow’s consumers will think and act, and what traits are likely to set them apart. As our research shows, kids are extremely influential in consumption habits, so it’s crucial to consider the thoughts and behaviours of this younger audience and tailor your ideas accordingly. Ideas work better with solid insight behind them, and so placing this audience front and centre will drive the most success,” commented Jason Mander, Chief Research Officer, GWI.


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