Netflix is now focusing its attention on kids streaming television by producing its first British children’s programmes.

“Tenacious girls” will be the centerpiece of this new batch of programming: working with the BBC, the streaming giant will work to adapt Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch into a 12-episode series. Independently, it is also creating its own original children’s series – currently referred to as Untitled Horse Mystery Project – which will be filmed in England and Wales. The show will follow the adventures of a young American girl who encounters a mysterious pony during a “summer of intrigue” in the British countryside. As traditional, linear broadcasters in the UK cull their children’s rosters, we’re starting to see pay-TV services like Netflix stepping in to become the go-to destinations for UK kids streaming options.

At Hook Research we’ve been regularly tracking the rise of VOD services. We are often thinking about what the benefits might be for children, and maybe for their parents as well!

Children around the world are turning to Netflix

According to Netflix’s own numbers, about half of their 75 million international members view kids content on a regular basis. In the UK, the number of children using VOD services is still high. According to OfCom numbers, 44% of 5-15 year olds in the UK are watching on-demand TV content in their homes, with 73% tuning in at least once a week. Streaming services are obviously an important part of the youth TV ecology.

kids streaming services - Hook Research

Kids streaming services appeal because they grow with the ageing viewers

Netflix appeals, in part, because it gives children complete freedom over their play environment. As Anna Campbell (Digital Media research) stated at the Children’s Media Conference this summer, young viewers see Netflix as a space of “play and entertainment” – an environment made more easily accessible through the tablet: a small machine that suits smaller, less dextrous hands.

At the same time, the kids streaming service is able to continually adapt to these viewers’ evolving tastes. Netflix offers a wide enough range of programming that caters to the ever-changing tastes of a growing child. “We know kids love Netflix,” claimed Andy Yeatman, Director of Global Kids Content for Netflix in a recent press release, “and that’s in part because they never really outgrow us”. As young people mature and desire different content options, Netflix continues to appeal – there’s no need to learn how to navigate a new platform with each growth spurt.

What do parents get out of the deal?

New research from Exstreamist claims that using Netflix saves US children from viewing 150-hours of advertising each year (based on 650 hours of TV viewing time). While the UK numbers will probably be much lower, due to the ad-free BBC experience and EU limitations on ad exposure, Netflix is still allowing children to watch their favourite programming without constant interruption from ads. For parents, this is a godsend – anyone who has taken care of a child after they have watched a chunk of linear television will know how quickly many ads can be internalised, and repeated, by young viewers.

TV is a huge part of childhood development, and it is refreshing to see content creators like Netflix begin to turn their attention to youth programming when traditional channels are shifting focus elsewhere. But while the landscape has evolved rapidly in the past few years, it will continue to change just as quickly – and content producers will need to keep up.

That’s why we apply our 4D Methodology to questions like these, ensuring that we are gaining a comprehensive picture of young peoples’ ever-changing media diets, and where brands/broadcasters now fit…

Want to learn more? Follow Hook Research on Twitter and LinkedIn, or just get in touch!

Author Debbie

Debbie is Hook Research’s kids and youth specialist. She has been a pioneer in qualitative market research for 20 years, and her experience is regularly called upon by leading children’s programming providers.

More posts by Debbie
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