Research: Parents co-viewing and co-gaming with kids
February 1, 2024
WildBrain, a specialist in kids’ and family entertainment, has published research which highlights the evolving habits of kids and family audiences and how they consume content.
The research, titled The Family Metaverse: Building Bonds Through Shared Entertainment, was commissioned by WildBrain and produced by research company Savanta. It explores the entertainment habits of families, how and why parents, kids and teens use gaming platforms like Roblox, and examines the crucial intersection between gaming and streaming to identify key trends for brand owners.
The research, which surveyed over 6,800 participants in the US and UK, highlights co-gaming emerging as a key trend with parents and kids, and that co-viewing VoD content on Connected TVs remains a strong and growing pillar of family behaviour. The data also shows that kids and teens are actively curating their own ‘omni-platform’ content experiences seamlessly across streaming and gaming platforms and devices, suggesting the need for brands to respond to this in their media strategies. This strongly symbiotic behaviour around content streaming and gaming, with parents both co-viewing and co-gaming, also points to opportunities for brands to reach a parent audience who value seeing real-life brands on these platforms.
The findings also reveal that the reasons behind co-viewing and co-gaming share a close similarity, with 63 per cent of parents who co-game with their child choosing ‘to spend quality time’ as a core reason to play, and 56 per cent of parents who co-game with their child age 6-15 also opting for ‘to make fun memories’ as a reason they played with them. This echoes what parents feel about co-viewing, with relaxing together cited as the most popular reason for co-viewing, citing 75 per cent of US and 74 per cent of UK parents choosing watching content together ‘to relax’ as the top reason for co-viewing. More than half of parents and their children also saw co-viewing as part of a wind-down routine before bed. Over half of US (56 per cent) and UK (52 per cent) respondents agreeing this was one of the preferred times they watched content together.
Kate Smith, WildBrain’s Executive Vice President of Audience Engagement, commented: “We know that parents co-view with their children to a huge extent, but the revelation in this new data is that parents, and in particular mums, are also actively participating on gaming platforms like Roblox. Parents are using co-playing time to bond with their kids and to relax, not simply to monitor them. We’ve identified this new area of audience behaviour as ‘The Family Mediaverse’ – the landscape where the intersection of video and gaming is fuelled by family desire for togetherness. Adopting omni-platform marketing strategies that tap into the crossover in entertainment consumption habits is a pivotal trend for 2024 and beyond.”
“What’s so incredible about this generation of kids and teens is the way they consume content fluidly across different platforms. Engaging with both Roblox and YouTube allows them to have highly customised experiences and the ability to curate. They value the presence of real-life brands in these spaces and are highly receptive to appropriate and interesting media activations. WildBrain’s COPPA-compliant media solutions bridge video and gaming to offer creative, safe and effective ways to delight families during these bonding moments,” added Smith.
Entertainment playground: YouTube and Roblox have symbiotic relationship for audience engagement
- Approximately two thirds of players enjoy seeing the same characters crossover between YouTube videos and Roblox games, according to 67 per cent of US and 64 per cent of UK respondents.
- YouTube remains the top place for players across all age groups to watch Roblox videos featuring game play, with well over two thirds (72 per cent) of 6-8-year-olds seeking out Roblox videos on YouTube at least weekly.
- 62 per cent of US and 60 per cent of UK Roblox players look to YouTube specifically for video tips on playing Roblox.
- 60 per cent of US and 58 per cent of UK Roblox players also say that ‘playing Roblox makes me want to watch YouTube videos about Roblox’.
Game on for Mums: Co-Gaming takes off amongst parents
- Co-gaming has emerged as a key trend, with 65 per cent of parents reporting they co-play with their kids.
- Mums are twice as likely to play video games with younger children than dads, with more than half of mums (53 per cent) co-playing with children aged 6-8 compared to 26 per cent of dads.
- Dads edged ahead as more likely to co-game with their teenage kids, with 19 per cent of dads engaging in co-play with 16-18 year olds, compared to 16 per cent of mums.
…and there is desire for ‘realness’ in virtual worlds
- 45 per cent of US gamers report they ‘loved’ seeing real-life brands in video games.
- Across US and UK respondents, 7 in 10 gamers age 9-15 said they liked/loved seeing real-life brands within video games. The most popular reasons for all age groups as to why they like seeing real-life brands in video games is that ‘they make the game feel more real’ (43 per cent of 9-12 year olds), and ‘they’re familiar’ (40 per cent of 13-15 year olds and 44 per cent of 16-18 year olds.)
Play, watch, share: Kids curate their own omni-platform content experiences
- Kids and teens are continuing to fluidly curate their own ‘omni-platform’ content experiences, engaging on YouTube and Roblox interchangeably and simultaneously, with habits including over half of US Roblox players (54 per cent) watching Roblox videos on YouTube while playing.
- Roblox is the most popular game for children to play by themselves, with over half (54 per cent) of kids aged 6-18 saying they play Roblox, ahead of Minecraft and Fortnite.
- Roblox is the most popular platform for parents to co-play with their kids, ahead of Fortnite and other platforms.
- Strong category preferences tell us what age-groups are looking for in their entertainment content: more than half (59 per cent) of children aged 2-8 report animal-related content as the most popular genre to watch with their parents, while 62 per cent of teens aged 16-18 prefer comedy.
Sharing time together: Co-viewing is here to stay
- Co-viewing remains a strong mainstay of entertainment consumption behaviour, with 81 per cent of US families reporting they co-view several days a week or more.
- Family audiences in the UK are also co-viewing more, with 78 per cent now co-viewing several days a week or more, growing from 74 per cent as reported in 2021.
- Connected or smart TVs are the most common way for families to co-view, with 76 per cent of respondents listing Smart/Connected TVs as the device they use to watch shows, films or videos together. This shows growth since a WildBrain report in 2021, where 46 per cent of parents chose Smart TVs as the top choice for co-viewing.
- Amongst streaming platforms, YouTube competes strongly as the only AVoD content provider in the top three most popular services alongside Netflix and Disney+ SVoD.
- YouTube ranks second in the US and third in the UK as the most popular platform for co-viewing.
- 58 per cent of US respondents chose YouTube as their preferred service used to watch shows, films or videos together, with Disney+ chosen by just 2 per cent more at 60 per cent.
- Family audiences are looking to be entertained together: the most popular content genres US audiences enjoyed when co-viewing are ‘comedy/makes me laugh’ at 61 per cent, Superheroes (48 per cent) and Action (42 per cent)
- Almost half (49 per cent) of US respondents selected films and cartoons as a key product and service they are interested in or would not mind seeing advertised when co-viewing, followed by theme parks (44 per cent), food and drinks (47 per cent) and toys (43 per cent)