To help us keep up-to-date with what’s happening with kids, we’ve asked Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, to investigate and report back to us on a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Since today’s kids spend so much time on-line, Kid Think will be talking to kids via Live Wire, Today’s Families Online, a proprietary panel of 600 on-line families across the United States.
Both Kid Think and Live Wire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or have subjects you’d like to see Kid Think cover, call Bob Horne at 212-337-6410 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We know that kids have an incredible recall of their favorite programs, but do they have the same recall of the stations that play their favorite programs? This month, Live Wire went on-line to find out how the networks are faring in getting their personalities and names across to kids.
What we found:
Children are aware-some might even say hyperaware-of the network or TV station that holds the key to their favorite television shows. (In only one instance did a child not identify a show with a station.) They know what they like and where to find it. Here is the breakdown: The station with the highest recognition factor was ABC with evening programming that includes Home Improvement, Second Noah, Step By Step, Superman and Third Rock from the Sun. CBS with Touched By An Angel and NBC with The Nanny followed close behind.
The cartoons the kids most readily tied to the networks were: Animaniacs (WB), Rugrats (Nickelodeon), Rocco’s Modern Life (Nickelodeon), Street Fighter (USA Network) and Power Rangers ZEO (Fox).
Nick ranks a high ‘cool’ quota
Although the kids most easily linked ABC with its programming, when we asked which was their favorite station overall, our kids pointed to Nickelodeon. Why the popularity? According to Lisa, age 8, of New York, it’s ‘because they have the most shows that we watch, and they are good shows, not stupid.’ Like adults, kids will watch the shows they can relate to. As Katie, age 8, from California, states, ‘a lot of their shows have kids in them and I like that.’ But in the final analysis, there is the one defining factor for a kid: the ‘cool’ quota. Lauren, age 9, from New York, sums up Nickelodeon’s appeal nicely: ‘I like Nickelodeon because it has good shows. They are funny. The people in them are cool.’
The parent factor
There is naturally some degree of parental influence in the station choice. Touched By An Angel (CBS), The Nanny (NBC), Mad About You (NBC) and America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) are popular family viewing choices. Even without parents around, kids make these choices themselves.
Respondents say that network prime-time programming like NYPD Blue, Chicago Hope and shows of a similar genre are unappealing because these are ‘grown-up shows’ and are ‘too bloody,’ yet the kids still knew which stations aired these programs.
What kids said:
One respondent whose favorite station is Nickelodeon is sensitive to the ‘adult programming’ of Nick At Nite: ‘I like Nickelodeon. They never run out of good shows for kids, except at 8:00 each night.’ Stephen, Illinois, age 8
‘My most unfavorite are Barney on PBS and Dudley the Dragon on PBS. They are for babies!’ Elizabeth, Massachusetts, age 10
‘I like Nickelodeon’s Ren & Stimpy. It’s got bad talk and the characters are dumb.’ Andrew, Georgia, age 8
‘I don’t have an unfavorite show. I have unfavorite stations. They are TNT and USA Kids. I don’t think they have very good shows on.’ Rebecca, Maryland, age 9
‘I like Discovery Channel because it is interesting and educational.’ Kelsey, Colorado, age 10
‘I watch a lot of cooking shows on the Food Network with my mom. I watch Rescue 911 on The Family Channel with my dad. We all watch Touched By An Angel on CBS.’ Billy, New York, age 9