Analysis: Kids Programming Boosts FAST Channel Identities
Children’s programming has long been a lifeline for network and cable television, and it appears to be doing the same for free advertising-supported TV (FAST) as well. As more streaming services add kid-focused content to their platforms, they are beginning to differentiate themselves from other FAST offerings in the industry. Currently, the market hosts over 80 channels dedicated specifically to kids’ movies and shows, according to a study by the Variety Intelligence Platform+ (VIP+), much of which formerly had a home on linear TV (such as cable and satellite) or YouTube.
After collecting data from 21 services, VIP+ found that there were 82 distinct FAST channels devoted to kids’ shows. Only eight carried double-digit youth programming channels, while seven of the 21 neglected to have any such channels at all.
Pluto TV is currently the only one hosting films made exclusively for a younger audience. In terms of raw numbers, Pluto is second only to Roku in the FAST kids’ content market, and the service has Paramount’s vast library to help bolster its supply of children’s shows. Even as Roku leads the way, it still needs to rely on licensing agreements to stream its content, just as other children’s content providers such as [LG Channels+] and Vizio WatchFree+.
The study found that kids’ content is showing an increased presence, eating up a good chunk of FAST market shares, and despite the presence of some familiar brands in the space, many of the most popular kids channels are not exactly household names… at least not in households without young children.
Pocket.watch is currently the most broadly available children’s channel, while NEW ID’s Pinkfong Baby Shark comes in a close second. Meanwhile, other channels are only available on a few services, giving those FAST streamers more of an identity as the home bases for streaming unique children’s shows.
|Channel||Number of Services||Owner|
|Pinkfong Baby Shark||6||NEW ID|
|Ryan and Friends||6||PocketWatch|
|The Lego Channel||6||Lego Group|
|Toon Goggles||5||Toon Goggles|
|Kartoon Channel!||4||Genius Brands|
|Little Baby Bum||4||Moonbug Entertainment|
|Nick Pluto TV||4||Paramount Global|
|Brat TV||3||Brat TV|
|Forever Kids||3||Paramount Global|
|Kids Pang||3||NEW ID|
|Nick Jr. Dora TV||3||Paramount Global|
|Nick Jr. Pluto TV||3||Paramount Global|
|Nickelodeon Totally Turtles||3||Paramount Global|
In addition, most of the brands are digital-based, aside from Paramount which follows the standard studio mentality. Larger companies such as Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and others are currently absent from the FAST kids marketplace altogether. While Disney+ is focusing on a prospectively lucrative ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) subscription tier, which may come in conflict with a free option outside of its own ecosystem. YouTube has also been a popular venue for toy manufacturers, but VIP+ noted their absence from any channel offerings.
FAST channels are becoming a popular alternative for cord-cutters looking for a cable-like experience without the exorbitant monthly fees. Since children are the primary media consumers in many households, focusing on kids’ content allows companies to craft an identity that differentiates their services from others. As the industry settles in, VIP+ sees children’s programming as a gateway toward more profitable and dynamic ways of customer interaction in the future.