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Digital viewing to pass TV in 2020, says YouTube Kids

Prediction was made by YouTube manager Francesco Miceli at last week’s Children’s Media Conference.

Digital TV viewing is predicted to overtake TV in 2020 – that is the view of Francesco Miceli, manager of YouTube Partnerships, Family Entertainment, Northern Europe.

Francesco gave delegates at last week’s Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield a glimpse into the world of YouTube Kids – opening with a forecast that digital TV consumption will meet traditional TV consumption at 170 minutes per day later on this year, before surpassing it in 2020.

YouTube Kids launched in February 2015 in the US before following in the UK in October of that year. It now boasts 70 billion views since launch, is available in 37 countries and eight languages and has 11 million weekly active viewers.

Notably, Francesco said that over three quarters of users were inspired by YouTube Kids to take part in real world activities such as singing, dancing and arts and crafts, as well as helping with homework.

The app has also introduced a number of ‘collections’ from trusted partners on a variety of subjects, while a new feature coming later this year will allow parents to specifically handpick every video and channel available to their child in the app.

Recent and upcoming trends on the app included a comeback for nostalgia brands, while full episodes of popular shows drive high engagement. Themes of friendship, magic, adventure, challenge and adversity are prevalent, while there is a move towards more gender neutral content (especially non-preschool) as well as a focus on strong female leads.

‘Guest’ picked playlists have also proved popular – for example the Minions picking their favourite books to read and Shrek ‘rocking the vote’ with his democracy playlist for the 2016 US election.

A special panel session – lead by YouTube Kids’ strategic partner manager, Cedric Petitpas – then looked at how the app and YouTube can be used by brands, with representatives from eOne, Turner and LEGO taking part.

Key messages coming through included YouTube having evolved through its engagement with the audience and promoting its brands, whether that is to sell toys (in the case of LEGO) or perhaps drive children back to watching traditional TV (in the case of Turner).

“We battle for kids’ attention every day, so [our involvement] is about awareness and reach; extending our brands to where kids are,” explained Marc Goodchild from Turner EMEA. “It needs to be incremental for us and not a substitute for our traditional business in TV.”

For LEGO’s Ambreena Budaly there is also an interest in attracting those who don’t yet have an affinity with the brand and new customers for LEGO.

All agreed, however, that views generated on YouTube were not a key objective. Data available on how their content is watched and when it is switched off was more important than gross viewing figures.

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