Generation Media MD Lisa Morgan takes a look at Ofcom's latest report on the childrens’ media landscape and asks whether TV, in the traditional sense, still holds a place on the media schedule.

The kids are watching but do we have their attention?

With the recent release of the Ofcom’s Children’s and Parents report, we are seeing headlines in the mass media of kids switching off the telly in favour of online.

For our client base, who are heavily invested in communications with children and parents through traditional TV spot advertising, such statements are concerning. 

The reported demise of TV raises questions in regard to the balance of the media mix between TV and online and whether TV, in the traditional sense, still holds a place on the media schedule, at what level and for how long? 

The truth is that this very much depends on the age of child to which we are referring and the unique requirements of a particular product/brand brief.

On further interrogation of the report we found the statement “five to 15s are now spending more time online than watching TV” is only in reference to the respondents aged 12 to 15 years. Traditional TV still being centric to the media day for the under 11s.

While it is fact that kids overall viewing is in decline by almost a quarter from 2011 to 2015, what is not being measured is time spent watching kids commercial channels. 

With a majority of ad expenditure targeted at this audience being deployed in this space, advertisers will be pleased to hear that Generation Media’s research, based on BARB viewing data, indicates kids viewing to kid’s time for the UK remains stable.

The data shows approximately 4hr 55 mins/week viewing to commercial kids stations for children aged four to nine years. This is in fact a growth on 2011 of two per cent.

With overall viewing in decline and kids’ commercial viewing on the rise, the net result is kids’ commercial viewing now accounts for 37 per cent of all time spent watching the box, up from 27 per cent in 2011.

Youth TGI findings amongst seven to 11 year olds indicates TV usage tops all other media types throughout the day on weekdays, online only managing to win out across weekend afternoons. The Ofcom report supports the TV set would be the most missed device up to age 10 years.

What is transparent is the way children are selecting to consume their TV content is shifting. Be it what they are watching, where or when they view and how they access. Technological advancements have provided new opportunities for consumers and advertisers alike.

At Generation Media we have identified the rise of multi-screening has been driven by the penetration of the tablet in the household. Whilst simultaneous use of the TV set and secondary device does not deplete the reported viewing minutes, what cannot be ignored is the additional distraction this creates, a phenomenon we have coined the “Attention Apocalypse”.

So as media practitioners how do we ensure our clients fill this gap within their communication plans? 

This is where the problem becomes the solution. Online communication plans constructed in line with TV efforts, at the right equilibrium, are essential to maintain effectiveness. 

At Generation Media we have created a proprietary tool The Media Aggregator (TMA) to ensure decisions in relation to the TV/Online balance are supported by a sound rationale both unique to the product/brand in question and with relevance to the cost effectiveness of each medium.

Is TV dead? – No! Can we ignore online? – No! Can Generation Media help shape your communications plans in an evolving landscape? – Yes!

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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