Improved broadband connectivity driving online content for kids

Driven by faster broadband and widespread take-up of connected devices, the cumulative number of children’s video on-demand services grew 136 percent from 74 services in 2012 to 175 in 2016, according to research firm IHS Markit.

kids online content

An increase in original exclusive online content, ease of online payment, and the offer of a secure environment for age-appropriate content have further encouraged the uptake of on-demand content.

“The number of children’s video on-demand has boomed in the last five years, with traditional linear broadcasters reaching their audiences online and a wave of new players led by Amazon, Netflix and YouTube competing for eyeballs,” said Tim Westcott, senior principal analyst at IHS Markit.

“Children do not have the same ingrained loyalty to existing media brands as older viewers, so it is not just a battle for today’s under-12 audience but also about establishing awareness among future consumers.”

According to IHS Markit, Western Europe accounts for the highest number of children’s video on-demand services, with 65 in operation by the end of 2016.

The Asia Pacific region sits in second place with 52 services, having overtaken North America in 2012 — a reflection of the region’s rapid digital development.

About 90 percent of the services are accessible by mobile devices, including tablet PCs, either on their own or alongside other platforms, including PC browsers and living room devices, such as TV sets, game consoles and Blu-Ray players.

Notably, one-third of the services specializing in the children’s audience are accessible only via mobile devices.

According to IHS Markit, 51 percent of the services predominantly followed a subscription video on-demand model, followed by free-to-view video on-demand at 26 percent.

The remainder were ‘freemium’ content, some of which are made available for a one-off fee, subscription, or transactional.

“The smartphone-fuelled emergence of app stores has led to a new wave of subscription services. Besides the ability to offer a protected environment for young children, they can be rolled out internationally more quickly and at a fraction of the cost of linear TV channels,” said Kia Ling Teoh, analyst at IHS Markit.

The research identified 189 distinct on-demand services, which offer content for children either as part of a generalist service or as one specifically targeting the children’s age group. Some are available only in one country, others are regional or global.

IHS Markit has not included ‘TV everywhere’ sites offered by pay TV channels, YouTube channels and services which were no longer operating at the time of the research.

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