Young People - Introduction

Children in the UK today are active multitaskers who are looking for brands that can offer them multi-platform experiences consistent with their needs.

Young People - Introduction
Young People - Introduction

According to recent research by TV marketing body Thinkbox, 64% of older kids (nine to 17) watch TV while surfing the internet and 73% actively multitask between the two.

In fact, Google has even reported significant search spikes based on real-time TV content.

With this in mind, it's not surprising that an increasing number of children are switching to dedicated kids' TV channels and their engaging multi-platform offerings.

As a result, the average weekly viewing of dedicated kids' TV channels has increased dramatically over the past few years - from just over two hours in 2001 to more than 4.5 hours in the first nine months of this year (source: Barb).

So what should we take from all this? In these uncertain times, two things are still absolutely clear - children love quality kids' content and cross-platform campaigns play an important role in targeting these young multitaskers.

In the same way that different platforms - whether TV, online or mobile - play a different role in kids' lives, they can also play important, complementary roles in our communications, offering both media owners and advertisers more ways to reach children than ever before.

So, as broadcasters and clients, our challenge now is to ensure we keep pace with children by delivering what they want and how they want it.

Michael Ghosh, director of advertising sales, Jetix Europe

This time last year, the children's TV market was in poor health, hit by the advertising ban on foods high in fat, salt and sugar, and audience fragmentation across the growing number of multichannel children's brands.

However, the good news is that children's TV is on the road to recovery (see pages 4 and 5). Broadcasters' decline in investment in original programming is starting to level out, notably from S4C, Jetix and Five, and children's daily TV viewing has increased year on year, up to 2.3 hours per day (source: Barb).

So while the HFSS ad ban hasn't been quite the disaster predicted, the industry is facing the new challenge of doing more to protect children from harmful content on the web, following the rise of social networks.

TV psychologist Dr Tanya Byron made headlines in March with the publication of her report into the risk from inappropriate material on the internet and in video games, and her findings led to the creation of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety in October - a watch-dog consisting of more than 100 organisations that will work with parents, young people and the Government (pages 12 and 13).

If social networks and virtual worlds are used responsibly, advertisers have the opportunity to go "beyond advertising" by creating content that engages young people and makes them fans of the brand (pages 15 and 16).

But although today's kids are more "new media" than any previous generation - 87% of children aged five to 12 own a games console and 62% own a mobile phone, according to Turner Media Innovations - traditional media are not being left behind.

The children's magazine market is on track to exceed last year's advertising spend, proving its resilience to the economic downturn with a range of credit crunch-beating creative solutions (pages 7 and 8).

As Sam Vernon, group ad sales manager at Egmont, says: "We find that kids are the last thing parents are prepared to economise on."

Harriet Dennys, features editor, Media Week

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