Want to see the future of streaming vs. TV? Look to the kids
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Want to see the future of streaming vs. TV? Look to the kids

Viewership of the three most popular kids TV networks – Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, and the Cartoon Network – has seen a 20% drop. Where are these toddling television addicts going for their daily fix? Streaming services like Netflix and YouTube. In some ways, it’s no surprise that this youngest segment of content-consumers are following the general trend – but it highlights that tomorrow’s audiences are now largely growing up on streaming services, and that has powerful ramifications for their decisions as teens and adults. Moreover, kids-TV is an especially profitable programming segment.

graph 2704 tv


Birk Rawlings left Nickelodeon to head up DreamWorksTV – a competitor which includes a YouTube channel. He says: “the traditional brands are stuck in a tough position. They can see what is changing, but to embrace what’s new they must run away from a healthy business.”

The youngest viewers – toddlers and primary school attendees all the way up to pre-teen – are watching less TV. Between 2010 and 2017, the time this segment spends on conventional TV has dropped by 30%. Advertising sales for kids TV networks have also failed to increase over the last five years, plateauing at about $1.2 billion a year. Yet, kids today watch more shows than ever before.

Between 2010 and 2017 (inclusive) Netflix’s share price rose by 2,339%

graph 2704 tv2


SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Netflix is pushing forwards aggressively with this revolution. It is poaching kids-TV professionals like Melissa Cobb, formerly of DreamWorks, but who now heads up Netflix’s kids and family division. And writers like Scott Thomas and Jed Elinoff, the brains behind Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven follow up.

The traditional kingpins aren’t taking it lying down. Now, possibly years too late, they are investing in their own streaming services and pulling content from Netflix and other streaming sites. But is it too little too late? One thing is for sure: as these cord-cutting infants grow up, streaming will be the name of the game.


Dominion holds Netflix and Alphabet, the parent company of YouTube, in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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