Young People: Introduction

Children's TV has had a rough ride in recent months. If the headlines are to be believed, the market is in crisis due to audience fragmentation, Ofcom's clampdown on the advertising of foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) and dwindling investment in original programming.

Children's TV has had a rough ride in recent months. If the headlines are to be believed, the market is in crisis due to audience fragmentation, Ofcom's clampdown on the advertising of foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) and dwindling investment in original programming.

The HFSS ad ban has already taken at least £30m per year out of the market. If the ban is extended to all pre-watershed shows - as called for by the Department of Health - broadcasters could lose as much as £90m in ad revenues each year.

As James Thickett, project director of Ofcom's recent The Future of Children's Television Programming report, admitted: "Children's TV is in a much more difficult position than the rest of the (television) market as a whole."

One consequence of the HFSS ad ban is that advertisers are moving online, targeting kids through popular - and unregulated - websites and virtual worlds such as Habbo Hotel. According to Bobi Carley, director of kids at Nickelodeon, there are three times as many brand advertisers online in 2007 as there were in 2006.

Toy manufacturer Mattel has opened a virtual world dedicated to Barbie (www.barbiegirls.com) and AOL, which offers a free parental control service, has relaunched its AOL Kids site for seven to 14-year-olds (http://kids.aol.co.uk).

The internet has contributed to the trend for "media stacking": more than 80% of 12 to 15-year-olds regularly watch TV while engaging with other media devices and nearly two out of three children have access to the internet and mobile phones.

Gaming - both online and red-button interactive games - is another growth area in children's media, with dedicated kids' broadcasters such as Jetix and Turner investing in the sector to engage with today's technology-savvy youth.

But despite "Generation Whatever's" love of new media, TV is still the "emotional central heating of the home", with young people's commercial TV viewing remaining stable over the past five years. Some things, it seems, never change.

JEAN-PAUL WEVERS - PAN-EUROPEAN SALES DIRECTOR, JETIX EUROPE

War, obesity, terrorism, bullying - all these issues are heavily covered by the media and are absorbed by today's ever-more aware kids.

If you listened to the scare stories in the national press, you would be forgiven for thinking that today's children are overweight, paranoid recluses who while away their years of innocence manically pressing buttons.

But the reality is far from this rather doomed view. When Jetix asked kids across Europe: "What would you say is the worst thing about being a kid?", most answered: "Nothing, I love being a kid" (apart from homework).

Even though kids take all these issues on board, they are nevertheless even more involved with getting on with the busy task of having fun - and rightly so.

Gaming, the internet and, yes, television undeniably take up large parts of kids' days. But children are just as keen to play sports and socialise with family and friends - face to face or virtually - given the opportunity.

The objective of Jetix Europe, as a pan-European broadcaster, is to interact with children wherever and whenever they want.

By working closely with our clients, we aim to celebrate kids every day and to find ways of engaging them and helping make sense of the world around them.

Our challenge is to capture kids' imagination through appealing content. We need to think differently to stay in contact with a generation that adapts to new technology far quicker than adults and can multitask media without even thinking.

So, I guess the million-dollar question for advertisers and media owners is: "How can we communicate with kids in this multimedia world and give them the opportunity to live a healthy and well-rounded life?"

Have your say...

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Media Week Jobs
Search for more media jobs

Latest

Watch the first YouTube clip, nine years on

Watch the first YouTube clip, nine years on

This week marks the ninth anniversary of the first clip uploaded on YouTube, a 19-second video of YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo.

Share
Yahoo hosts exclusive X-Men: Days of Future Past films

Yahoo hosts exclusive X-Men: Days of Future Past films

Yahoo has partnered with film distributor Twentieth Century Fox to create a global content hub on its Yahoo Movies platform for new release 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'.

Share
My Media Week: Stuart Taylor

My Media Week: Stuart Taylor

This week, Stuart Taylor, chief executive, Kinetic UK, is inspired by the new tech coming to market and how wearables and smart cities will impact on OOH.

Share

Get news by email