A new way of gathering viewership numbers, combined with a just-released research study from Canuck kidnet YTV, has confirmed what distributors of kids content have been saying for a long time-parents watch a lot of children’s programming with their kids and pay keen attention to it.
North American metrics maven Nielsen instituted a new measurement system continent-wide last September. Worn just like a pager, the Portable People Meter registers tones hidden within broadcaster audio streams. Viewing habits are recorded seamlessly, taking the onus entirely off the inhabitants of ‘Nielsen households’ to record what they’re watching. Interestingly, what PPM results have revealed for YTV and other Corus Kids channels like Treehouse is that parents are watching a lot more TV with their kids than the older metrics indicated.
‘The PPM captures what’s on the TV, when you’re standing in front of it,’ says Corus Kids GM Doug Murphy. ‘With the old system, a lot of kids and their parents weren’t necessarily pushing the buttons on the set-top meters.’
New ratings in-hand, Corus commissioned third-party research firm Decode to conduct an online survey of 1,000 parents with kids ages two to 12 to get a handle on just how big a role co-viewing plays in their lives. The findings were then included in the fifth-annual YTV Observer report.
‘We have always tried to build strong co-view behavior,’ says Murphy. ‘Advertising agencies and clients didn’t always believe there was a large co-view rate – the new people meter technology has really broken that story.’
According to the report, 96% of moms said they enjoyed co-viewing experiences. The study also found that TV is second only to family dinners as the most common family activity.
‘We found that parents’ number-one concern was they weren’t spending enough time with their kids,’ says Mark Leslie, director of research at Corus Television. ‘And now we know that TV time is considered family time.’
Moreover, the study was able to determine the specific recall parents have of the programs and advertisements they encounter during co-viewing sessions.
‘Put simply, ad recall is more than it would be if parents were watching by themselves,’ says Murphy. ‘It’s because parents and kids discuss what they see together, and parents are always monitoring the messages being sent to their kids.’
Importantly, it is not just in traditional kids ad categories like toys (+23%), movies (+9%) and clothing (+5%) where recall is positively affected by co-viewing. According to the report, co-viewing improved recall rates for parents across all categories, including those for non-endemic adult-targeted goods like travel (+8%), automotive (+7%) and home electronics (+6%).
These numbers have given ammo to the Corus team to approach a wide range of new advertisers for their 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. co-view block on YTV that includes parent-friendly series iCarly and Everybody Hates Chris.
‘Our growth area is in co-view,’ says Murphy. ‘Our team has been telling this story for awhile – the numbers are now validating that.’
Murphy believes the co-viewing numbers and their relation to advertising recall is a new bright spot for the content delivery business. ‘People need to realize that if you make a good show that can deliver a consistent co-view audience, networks like us are certainly going to look at it.’