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Future of TV Television Open Mic

New research reveals kids’ favorite streaming services and what it means for advertisers

By Jonathan Watson | Chief product officer

The Insights Family


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May 30, 2022 | 6 min read

With kids now exerting extensive influence over household purchasing decisions, it’s more important than ever for brands to reach them where they are. As part of The Drum’s Future of TV initiative, Jonathan Watson (chief product officer, The Insights Family) uses recent data to explore kids’ favorite streaming services, why this is, and how brands can respond.

A small girl kid / child watches the television

The streaming market has truly disrupted the way that kids engage with and consume content. The youngest generation of consumers now require on-demand services that enable them to access their favorite content whenever they want.

This has led to increased competition between different providers, increasingly saturating the market.

But is there such thing as too much choice?

The migration from Netflix to Disney+

Netflix, the original disruptor in the streaming industry – and number one TV platform globally amongst kids aged six to nine – reported in April that it had lost subscribers for the first time in more than a decade. Since the start of the year, they have lost over 200,000 members.

Our data shows that the number of six to nine year olds who use the platform has fallen by 8% since 2020. In the same time period, the number of kids in this demographic who use Disney+ has increased by 45%, suggesting a migration between platforms.

Competition in the streaming space means that it is no longer feasible to rely on continued loyalty from subscribers. As the streaming market has become more saturated, families are reconsidering which video on demand (VOD) platforms they value enough to pay for and tune into their favorite content. Globally, the number one factor that kids aged six to nine consider when choosing a VOD platform is that it provides access to their favorite shows (57%). Other important factors are the variety of content available (29%) and access to new content (27%).

Regional differences (US vs UK)

Although kids aged six to nine in the US are marginally more likely to use Netflix (58%) than Disney+ (57%), this age group are 22% more likely to name Disney’s service as their favorite platform. The reason given for this is that the platform provides access to their favorite shows (+28%). In contrast, Netflix fans are -15% less likely to favor the platform for the same reason. This underlines the importance of compelling content.

In the UK, seven of the top 10 favorite characters among kids aged 10-12 are available to them on Disney+, ranging from MCU heroes, such as Spider-Man and Iron Man, to Homer and Bart Simpson, following Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019.

In contrast, Netflix cannot claim any original characters from the top 10 and Harry Potter is only available to watch via the platform in the US.

In other streaming markets, such as the music industry, the content library across competing platforms is largely the same. Competition is derived from the different features and functionality that the platforms offer to users. For example, Spotify offers socially focussed marketing events, such as their annual Spotify Wrapped, whereas Tidal offers lossless audio streaming for an additional fee.

The problem of IP ownership within streaming services

The nature of IP ownership in the streaming market means that content is unique to the service providing it. For example, Disney shows are only available on Disney+. Rather than competing on attributes that would make the market competitive, various streaming platforms are more akin to a series of competing IP ownerships. As more players enter the market, the consumer has to pay an additional fee in order to have access to all of the content available across platforms.

In the current climate, it is unreasonable to assume that families have enough disposable income to subscribe to multiple VOD services, especially as more providers develop platforms with their own IPs. According to our data, the average six to nine year old globally has access to just one subscription VOD service in their household. In many ways, the VOD market is now closer to resembling cable TV, the very service that was initially displaced, where bundles of different content can be bought in packages for additional costs.

How can brands reach their target audience?

Content marketing is the key for brands to cut through the noise and reach their target audience. By creating adverts, products and marketing campaigns that resonate with consumers, organizations can forge strong, trusting connections which are essential to online growth and digital success. Niche features and exclusives are two examples of how to ensure that consumers gravitate towards the specific content of a media platform.

Influencers are another good way of building communities which reinforce positive brand messages. It is also crucial to remember that nurturing an existing audience is just as important as attracting new subscribers. People want to feel valued as active members within digital ecosystems.

With kids holding the keys the streaming wars, they are an increasingly important demographic to reach.

Find out more

The Insights Family’s new Mapping the World of Content report discusses platform saturation in further detail and also explores other trends such as the rise of content creator as a career and competing digital touchpoints. It is the first report in a series focussed on exploring opportunities for brands in the kids and family ecosystem, produced by the company’s new industry knowledge team. Download it for free here.

* All statistics are taken from the Kids Insights real-time data portal in the last six months (November 2021 – May 2022)

Future of TV Television Open Mic

Content by The Drum Network member:

The Insights Family

The Insights Family is the global leader in kids, parents, and family market intelligence, providing real-time data on their attitudes, behaviour, and consumption patterns.

Kids Insights surveys 7,780 children every week aged 3-18. Parents Insights surveys more than 3,800 parents of children between the ages of 1 and 16 every week.

Both services operate in 22 countries across six continents and in total survey more than 469,040 kids and 228,800 parents a year. Currently, the company interviews a new family member somewhere in the world every 45 seconds.

Kids Insights and Parents Insights operates in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Poland, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia. South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, UK, and the US.

Clients include Amazon, BBC, Danone, Disney, F1, Havas, Initiative, Kraft, LEGO, Mattel, McDonald’s, MediaCom, Nintendo, OMD, PBS, PepsiCo, Pokémon, Starcom, Viacom, Warner Bros and Wavemaker.

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