Media research consulting firm Miner & Co. Studio, which consults for two dozen major networks, conducted a survey to find how kids really want to consume their content — and it appears that they prefer a more active media experience.
They found that children want to consume media with their hands. CBS News' Amanda Schupak reports that the research revealed that in homes where smartphones and tablets were present, TV has become the second choice for young viewers.
"The iPads are cool," says a young boy flipping through apps on a tablet. "TV's not good. Because you can't control it."
"With a tablet I have more freeness to move my fingers," says another young boy sitting on a couch, face aglow in tablet light. "With the TV I have to get up and change it," he huffs.
The firm's CEO, Robert Miner, says his clients are watching the rapid disappearance of their TV audience. Miner says that media leaders often look at kids as canaries in the coal mines.
Researchers from the pediatrics department of Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia found that over one-third of babies are using smartphones and tablets before they can even walk or talk. By the time kids are two years old, a majority are using digital devices. Up to 40% of four year olds use digital devices for a minimum of one hour a day. Media companies are watching the trend and already Vine and YouTube have launched apps targeted at toddlers.
The survey contacted 800 US parents who own smart devices and who have kids from two to 12. Of this number, 57% said their children would prefer to watch videos on a tablet (58% of kids have their own) or phone than to watch them on television. The preference is so strong that some parents discipline their children by taking away their devices and making them watch TV instead. Forty-one percent of parents said their children would rather have tablet time than having dessert.
A mother who took part in the survey said that her son likes to use a tablet because he doesn't have to share it, but when watching TV, he has to consider the rest of the family, writes Tony Connelly of The Drum. Ofcom, the communications regulator in the UK, has performed research that found children are more often choosing tablets over television. Scientists do warn that using tablets to pacify children could be harmful to their development.
Miner & Co. created a video to sum up their findings. In one part of the video, a young girl says that one cookie was not enough to entice her from her tablet, because she can "always get another cookie."
TubeFilter's Bree Brouwer writes that Miner does not know if the findings from his company's research will affect the television industry, but he did say that the future of the industry is much like "a cartographer writing âhere be dragons' on the uncharted part of the Medieval map."
AdAge reports that Nielson ratings of ad-supported children's television channels are declining. Nickelodeon viewership fell 30% this year among the age-group 2-11. The network has launched its own over-the-top (OTT) subscription service that delivers audio and video media over the Internet without the involvement of cable or satellite companies in the control or distribution of the content.