Netflix study shows dads actively intro classic toons to their kids

As Father's Day approaches in the US, a new study from Netflix shows just how much nostalgia plays into fathers' TV choices when watching animated series with their kids. It turns out 1980s smash Inspector Gadget (pictured) is tops with American dads.
June 17, 2015

With TV series reboots and revivals cropping up everywhere, it’s clear that this generation of kids programming is being influenced by parents’ nostalgia for TV toons from their childhoods. Now, new research from Netflix shows just how much that nostalgia plays into dads’ viewing habits when watching animated series with their kids.

According to the American SVOD service, 85% of dads worldwide have already introduced or plan to introduce their kids to the cartoons they watched growing up, such as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Scooby-Doo, Transformers and Pokémon.

Along with 75% of dads saying watching classic toons lets them feel like a kid again, 76% of those surveyed view the series as a way to teach life lessons. And two-thirds of them (66%) are using internet TV services like Netflix to access these shows.

Saturday morning cartoons were a clear influence on dads, as superhero-themed series like Spider-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Marvel’s Avengers were high on the list of shows that fathers were most looking forward to passing down their love of to kids.

The survey also revealed certain cultural differences, with favorite titles varying across countries:

  • Dads in the US prefer Inspector Gadget
  • Tom and Jerry earned the top spot among dads in Brazil
  • British dads like Danger Mouse
  • Canadian dads prefer The Smurfs
  • Asterix is king with French dads
  • Dads in Germany have a soft spot for Pippi Longstocking
  • Mexican dads favor Pink Panther

Across the board, the time spent viewing together was one of the reasons 90% of dads love watching cartoons with their children. Broken down by country, US dads were most likely to let their kids stay up late, while Brazilian dads took pride in making the best snacks. Fathers from Canada gave themselves the most credit for liking the same shows as their kids, while dads in Britain were most likely to let the fun of co-viewing extend even after the show was over. French dads say they pick the coolest shows, while German dads rank themselves as the top snugglers and silliest viewing partners. Mexican dads say they let their kids be king of the remote.

Dads aren’t the only ones creating these new family traditions. The research found moms use TV shows to teach life lessons, but they’re also driven by the fond memories (84%) and the familiarity the shows bring (78%). Care Bears topped the list of favorite childhood cartoons that moms plan to pass down. But moms also end up watching shows their kids introduce them to (77%).

The external survey was conducted online by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Netflix from April 8 to May 8, 2015, among a sample of 7,009 parents, including respondents who stream TV shows/movies with their children from Brazil, the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany and France.

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