When it comes to TV the kids are alright



| 12 August 2015

It would be fair to assume that younger viewers are in the vanguard of the move to online video services currently mauling media giants but younger viewers are rather loyal to TV, says PwC research.

In the latest of its ongoing Consumer Intelligence Series, conducted in May to June 2015, the business management firm set out to find what kinds of media content appealed to kids and teens, looking at how they engaged with specific content genres, how much media they consume weekly and on what devices.

Not surprisingly the research revealed that kids and teens spend a lot of time consuming media content and as they age, their media engagement increases. On average across age groups, they spent 15.5 hours per week consuming media content. It added that 45% of kids/teens report 16-20+ hours per week driven by both 12-14-year-olds (52%) and 15-18-year-olds (52%). Teens 15-18 spend three more hours' weekly watching media than kids eight to 11, who spend the least amount of weekly time engaging with media content. Just over a third of kids eight to 11 spend between six to ten hours. There were very few differences according to gender.

Looking qualitatively, kids eight to 18 years-old were found to engage most in: watching live network television, playing video games on a console, viewing online video content on YouTube, and watching subscription TV channels. They spent between seven to eight hours per week on each of these content types. The least watched content is sports (4.2 hours) and academic or environmental shows/movies (4.6 hours).

PwC said it noted an interesting trend whereby kids and teens seem to highly underestimate their hours of weekly media engagement in absolute terms or overestimate their time spent on specific content genres. Hours spent on specific content categories and genre, were said to be greatly inflated relative to the amount of time they perceive they spend in the absolute.

In what will be blessed relief for the legacy industries, contrary to the widely held perception that kids spend the bulk of their time consuming content on mobile devices, traditional TVs and laptops/computers were the most widely used platforms for watching media. Yet just like their millennial counterparts, older teens tended to favour laptops/computers over traditional TV. Yet it was the case that in general as kids age, they migrate from viewing content on their tablets to using their smartphones more frequently.

PwC found that the most popular media content was streamed TV from subscription/cable channels. Kids aged eight to 11 tend to prefer games next, while 12-18-year-olds opt for watching drama/reality shows on cable TV. Overall, TV was the most preferred format for viewing all content explored except short videos or playing games on laptops.

And contrary to assumed fears of a huge disconnect between service providers and younger audiences, the survey found that current content was is generally regarded (60%) as a good combination of trusted favourites and new shows. Just over a third of respondents consider current programming to be innovative while only just 9% regard today's content negatively, mainly being more of the same old stuff.