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Survey: 76% of Parents Say Kids Influence Streaming Subscription Decisions

David Satin

As streaming subscription growth slows and market saturation continues to worsen, major streaming platforms are looking for ways to stand out amongst their competitors. Many are turning to free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels to lure more viewers in. But according to a report from Variety, they might do better to focus on content for kids.

The report cited a survey from research firm KidsKnowBest, which stated that 76% of parents reported that their kids’ feelings on streaming services were an important factor in the household’s decision of whether or not to subscribe a given streamer. Kids establish brand affinity early, and are fiercely loyal to their favorite platforms, the study found.

How Important Is Kid’s Influence When Subscribing to a Service % of Respondents
Very Important 51%
Quite Important 27%
Neither Important nor Unimportant 12%
Very Unimportant 5%
Quite Unimportant 4%

That brand loyalty can translate into big money for streaming companies. It’s part of the reason that Disney+ was able to pick up 10 million subscribers on its first day in operation in 2019. Disney was willing to pay to secure that brand loyalty as well. When it launched Disney+, it pulled its content from other platforms like Netflix. Many in the industry saw the decision to no longer license content as a mistake, one that would cost the company $150 million in the short term. But now, Disney+ is the most popular subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service amongst kids 1-7 years old, in large part thanks to its proprietary content library.

Related: 8 Best Streaming Services for Children

Other services have taken note of Disney’s willingness to take a temporary financial hit in the name of longer-term growth. Paramount yanked “Paw Patrol” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” from Netflix at the end of September so it could attract more customers to Paramount+ with the popular kids’ shows. Fifty-seven percent of kids say having their favorite show is the most important factor for a streaming service, so the move is likely to pay dividends for Paramount.

Not every service is following the Disney example, however. HBO Max is in the midst of a well-publicized restructuring, that includes a heavy reduction in kids’ content. That reduction has affected even classic shows like “Sesame Street,” which had over 200 episodes pulled from HBO Max earlier this year.

Warner Bros. Discovery (HBO Max’s parent company) CEO David Zaslav has said that his focus for the platform will be quality, not quantity, and that kids’ content is only a modest subscriber driver for HBO Max. Zaslav sees HBO Max as more of a premium content provider for adults, but given that the company owns one of the most well-known kids’ IPs of the last century in the Looney Tunes, HBO Max may have an advantage it is overlooking.

Kid’s viewing across streaming platforms surged by 43% between 2019 and 2021, according to the United Talent Agency. That number, combined with the data from Variety proves that getting and keeping kids’ attention is vitally important for streamers. Engaging kids is far easier than engaging adults, so don’t be surprised if your favorite service starts to license or create more children’s shows at a faster rate going forward.


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