The pandemic has not been easy on parents. Playgrounds and play dates have given way to “PAW Patrol” and “Peppa Pig.” As preschools and other schools routinely shut down due to COVID outbreaks or staffing shortages, parents are having to turn to TV just to keep their kids occupied while they try to push through remote work.
According to Parrot Analytics, demand is on fire for children’s programming on streaming services. Between January 2020 and September 2021 children’s content demand surged 58%, while demand for other streaming content grew by 22.5%. The share of children’s content expanded from 8.4% to 10.5%.
One surprising note from Parrot - Netflix dominated 1/4 of the children’s market during the third quarter of 2021. That’s far ahead of Paramount+, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video (around 15% each), with Hulu and HBO Max close behind.
You might think the Disney+ share might be higher. After all, it has some of the world’s most popular children’s movies and shows. In this case, Netflix may simply be winning because it’s a superior catch-all streaming subscription. If families need just one service, it has something for everybody. Since Disney+ skews so young, families on a budget may not want to allocate subscription dollars to a service with limited appeal to adults.
Netflix counters this with popular shows like “CoComelon,” “PJ Masks,” and “Octonauts.” It’s not that Netflix’s children’s programming is better, it’s that it’s just… there. And parents are taking advantage.
If parents are looking for more educational programming, The Streamable recommends the excellent PBS Kids, which features great shows for preschoolers like “Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood,” “Super Why!,” “Elinor Wonders Why” and “Wild Kratts.” PBS Kids is free, and you’ll find eight episodes of each show that rotate every few weeks. If you love those shows, the smart thing to do is to add a PBS Kids Subscription to Amazon Prime Video, so you’ll have access to every episode from every season. PBS Kids also has a free games app, so your kids can have some interactive learning as well.
In our roundup of Best Streaming Services for Kids, we rate Disney+ at the top because of the wide range of programming available for preschoolers through teen years. It’s also unlikely children will find anything too objectionable on the platform if they’re looking around on their own.
Thankfully, there’s no shortage of children’s programming available, and that makes it easy for parents to grab a new service, give it a whirl, and see how the kids respond.