2021: Animation, entertainment and live events nurture kids’ content appetite on TV and platforms
The first half of 2021 marks the return to a more “normal” life for children and their families. Sports and entertainment have performed very well among children. Animation is still king although live action is strong in a couple of countries, revealing disparities. Glance analyses the kids' shows market at MIPJunior.
Kicking-off MIPJunior, Avril Blondelot says: “Aside from ever successful IP’s, new series launched across countries show a variety of trends : the move of characters from digital to TV, technology or on the contrary simple life, the strong power of games, science, and inventiveness for pre-school kids."
Live events and entertainment top best ratings
The Kids TV report conducted on the first half of 2021 reveals that with the return of live events and especially sports in 2021, young viewers have joined their parents to massively take part in these uniting moments. Live events ranked first in audience in all 5 European countries studied in the report: sports in 4 out of the 5 countries. Only in Italy did sports fail to rank first, overtaken by the unmissable SanRemo Festival.
In second position in the rankings, entertainment shows appeal to children. In France and the UK, children account for 13% to 15% of the audience of these shows.
Candice Alessandra, Research Manager at Glance, highlights: “On TV, Kids mainly watch live and co-viewing is on the rise. In the first half of 2021, kids have watched an average 1hr 21min of TV per day in the 5 European countries studied in the report. This figure hides disparities, with kids in Southern European countries spending more time than in the Northern part.”
Animation is still king, with variations per countries
Among children-only shows, kids throughout Europe still overwhelmingly support animation, which accounts for 2/3 of the 20 most watched programmes in the 5 countries. Pre-school IPs are the most represented in national tops: especially Paw Patrol, Super Wings and Ricky Zoom.
Live action series come second and account for an average 15% of all 20 best programmes in the 5 countries. They even outweigh animation in Italy. The Thundermans and Henry Danger have the upper hand.
In terms of origins of the shows, imported production dominated (51%) the global Top 20, followed by domestic production (33%) and co-productions (16%). The dynamic of the market in the first half of 2021 has enabled 34 new shows to appear directly in each country’s national Top 20 or Top 3 per channel.
On SVoD platforms, kids tend to watch the same series as on linear TV. In German, Italian, Spanish, and British households with children, the top three most streamed series on Netflix are well-known TV franchises: Peppa Pig, Teen Titans Go! and Paw Patrol. These series also feature among the most watched shows on TV.
Local hits can vary and are specific per country, especially for Germany and the UK. The UK is the only country to display Live Action series on its Top 10 on Netflix. In France, Italy, Germany and Spain, Japanese Anime hold strong positions in the rankings.
Trends: digital inspirations, environmental issues, kids’ life, science & curiosity, games, pre-school animation
Glance has identified several emerging trends in children’s programmes over the past 6 months.
The first trend concerns the transfer of digital characters to television, whether in the form of entertainment shows or animated series. The Moshaya Family Animation is a 13-episode animated series, spin-off of a YouTube programme. It was aired in January 2021 in the United Arab Emirates. Adam Loves Adventure! is an Irish animated series inspired by and starring Adam King, a thoughtful six-year-old boy who was seen on The Late Late Toy Show and famous for his “Virtual Hugs”.
The second trend is about tech savvy kids dealing with environmental issues. Pigsy Express, a Taiwanese animated series, is set in a futurist world where the main character looks for parcels that were not delivered by the drones in charge.
The third trend is about kids just being kids. It is illustrated by numerous programmes this season. Rabalder, a Norwegian fiction, features a group of countryside kids being a bit wild during the holidays, in a coming-of-age experience. Gabby’s Farm is a new TV series showing life on an Ontario farm through the eyes of a six-year-old. Launched in Spring 2021, both programmes increased audience share in children by 50% on their respective channels.
Kids always demonstrate curiosity about facts and like to share them with their peers. In the Australian show The Wonder Gang, the children themselves present their research and investigations on scientific phenomena.
Game shows have a strong potential among children. Don’t Unleash the Beast – a game unfolding in a mythological underground universe - ranked best performing show among children on ITV’s children block.
Finally, pre-school animation has been rather creative with series shorter than 10 minutes. The series Pip & Posy premiered in March 2021 on Channel 5 in the UK. It follows the adventures of Pip, a rabbit, and Posy, a mouse around their world of play. It has been very successful and ranked first in 4-to-15-year-olds in the country this first half year. My Little Heroes is an introduction to remarkable historical characters, through the eyes of two young siblings. To be aired on Clan in Spain, it has relied on script writers from across the world to value local historical figures.
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