Who remembers ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ by The Buggles, way back in 1980? I heard this song recently and it got me thinking about how watching video on smart phones and tablets is becoming so pervasive. Will YouTube and streaming services kill TV? And how does this impact our kids?
In a recent earnings report, Omid Kordestani, Chief Business Officer at Google, said that YouTube now has over 1 billion users. He spoke about how YouTube is reinventing the television experience for the digital age. On mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18 to 49 year olds in the US than any US cable network. Plus, once users are on YouTube, they are spending more time per session watching videos. On mobile, the average viewing session is now more than 40 minutes, up more than 50% year-over-year.
A report by Deloitte revealed that streaming content (via services such as YouTube, Netflix and Hulu) has overtaken live programming as the viewing method-of-choice, with 56% of consumers now streaming movies and 53% streaming television on a monthly basis, as compared to 45% of consumers preferring to watch television programs live. Moreover, younger viewers have moved to watching TV shows on mobile devices rather than on television.
According to a recent study by Miner & Co. Studio, tablets and smart phones have replaced TV as kids’ screen of choice. The survey revealed that 58% of kids have their own tablet. For the majority of those kids, their tablet is the preferred device for watching video, with television being the 2nd screen.
The availability of streaming content has some big implications for what our kids can now view. In the past, TV stations had rating system to control what was broadcast and regulations around what advertising was appropriate for times when kids were watching TV.
Streaming services are not as regulated as the TV industry, and seem to be trying to play catch-up when it comes to how they address safe viewing for kids.
As a user of Netflix, I’m impressed with the convenience and range of programming that comes with the service. I’m also happy with the lack of advertising and see this as a good thing, especially for my kids. However, I was concerned that my kids now had access to a range of programs that are not age appropriate for them. A bit of research in the help section of the Netflix site revealed that it is possible to setup profiles based on age group, and that there is a parental control feature that allows you to set a PIN to control access to different rating levels. A quick explanation to my kids on how to use the service and why we needed these controls has made the service a welcome addition to our household.
YouTube for Kids is also now available in Australia. The app is broken into four sections: Shows, Music, Learning, and Explore. It has a number of PIN protected parental controls available. There’s a timer to set viewing time limits, options to set age levels for pre-school or school age, and an option to turn off the search function. This will restrict viewing to a limited set of videos available on the Homescreen. You can also specify your location, so that content will be shown based on your country. YouTube say they are continuing to improve the app based on parental input, and provide an option for parents to send feedback within the app. This is definitely a step in the right direction. The app is free to download for Android and iOS devices, but will make its money from advertisements running in between the videos. YouTube have stated that only ads approved as family-friendly will be displayed, and do not include any click-throughs of product purchase options.
However, I do have some concerns with the YT Kids app. There are a number of popular channels which focus on ‘Un-boxing Toys’ content. While this is not technically advertising, I have little doubt it encourages the ‘pester power’ of kids. There are also lots of channels which are just there to advertise toy brands to kids, and they get plenty of views. Be aware that if you enable the search function, this content is out there. If you’re going to do this, I suggest you have a conversation with your kids to make them aware of the blurring of lines between advertising and entertainment. As people watch more video content on smart phones and tablets, brands are moving their advertising dollars from TV to mobile.
What has your experience been with streaming video services? We’d love to hear from you. Share your comments in the ‘Leave a reply’ section below.
Google (GOOGL) Earnings Report: Q2 2015 Conference Call Transcript – http://www.thestreet.com/story/13222530/1/google-googl-earnings-report-q2-2015-conference-call-transcript.html
Deloitte Digital Democracy Survey – http://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/press-releases/digital-democracy-survey.html
Television is the 2nd screen for kids with tablets – http://www.minerandcostudio.com/#!2nd-screen/c24t5