Talk of the Playground: Kids' TV

Dubit asks children what their favourite TV stations are, discovers which are most popular on weekends and weekdays, and gets the all-important parents? lowdown.
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Kids have never had it so good. It wasn’t that long ago when children’s TV scheduling was limited to post-school and early weekend viewing.

Now the wealth of child-focused TV stations has created an environment where young people can choose between a multitude of channels at all hours of the day.

But what stations are kids the biggest fans of? After all, when buying advertising space for toys, buyers want to be sure the stations get viewers AND match the characteristics of their products.

Specialist youth research agency Dubit tackled this by speaking with 500 children aged between six and 12. It looked at whether there was a difference between which stations children put on when they got home from school, and those they viewed on weekend mornings.

In both cases, CBBC was the most popular station, with 23 per cent of kids making it the first station they turn on after school and 21 per cent on weekends. During the week, the second most popular station is Disney (12 per cent) and on the weekend it’s Cartoon Network (nine per cent).

When kids were asked what channel they’d tune into if they could only choose one, CBBC was the clear winner again, with 23 per cent of the votes. The highest-placed commercial station was Disney (12 per cent), followed by its action-orientated sister channel Disney XD (nine per cent). Dubit included MTV in the study, but it generated little interest from kids, until they reached 11 to 12 years old, when it became the fourth most popular station.

There is little gender divide between channels, although Cartoon Network is heavily weighted towards boys (13 per cent to four), and Disney towards girls (18 per cent to six).

Parental gatekeepers

Of course, children aren’t always the ones in control of what they watch. Dubit research found that 62 per cent of parents are aware of what their child watches, but allow the child to choose what they tune into. 

Total independence is rare, with only six per cent of those aged six to eight having complete control.

Kids’ views

Dubit asked the kids to rate stations between one and five, with five being the highest, depending on how strongly they agreed with a set of keywords.

Cartoon Network scored the highest for action and naughtiness. Disney is seen as the least naughty. Both the aforementioned stations score the highest for a sense of adventure (39 and 45 respectively). Disney and CBBC are seen as the safest stations, with CBBC also regarded as the most educational. 

When it comes to family, terrestrial stations score the highest. For ‘fun’ it’s Disney that leads the way again. 

Not only is kids’ TV a vast entertainment space, but, judging by the opinion of the children, it’s also one of great differentiation.

About the author

Dubit is a specialist youth research agency and digital development studio. By utilising a deep understanding of young people’s motivations and behaviours, Dubit works with brand owners worldwide to create digital experiences that children love. 

Phone: 0113 394 7920

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