Broadcasters define ‘family-friendly’

Execs from Netflix, Paramount+, Nickelodeon and more weigh in on what they are expecting to see in all-ages, four-quadrant content.
February 23, 2021

When Disney+ launched in late 2019, a big part of the value proposition was that its entire catalogue would be “family-friendly.” But with the streamer running everything from Nat Geo docs to The Mandalorian to Bluey, the Disney+ definition of “family-friendly” wasn’t exactly clear to prodcos hoping to sell their content there. And despite massive growth in its first year (90 million subscribers and counting), the House of Mouse’s streamer is competing with an increasing number of platforms also vying for whole-family viewing. Here’s a look at how some of them are defining that elusive audience.


Exec: Ana Carolina Lima (head of content)

What is your definition of family-friendly: We always look for family-friendly content that emphasizes our core values of empathy, friendship, affection and respecting differences. We want shows that illustrate everyday events to help facilitate a conversation beyond the screen. We want to be the comfortable choice for families to enjoy quality time with their children. People are looking for indoor activities, and we believe it’s essential that we offer content that has the power of gathering.

Platform examples: Everybody Hates Chris, Young Sheldon, Charmed and Miraculous Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir (pictured, above)


Exec: Paul DeBenedittis (EVP, programming and content strategy)

What is your definition of family-friendly: Dual-appealing stories, themes and characters, [such as] nostalgic favorites that have entertained generations of kids and now appeal to parents. We’ve seen in our research over the past few years that parents are looking for appropriate content to watch with their entire family. This trend keeps growing.

Platform examples: The Astronauts, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Young Dylan and Top Elf


Exec: Nadine Zylstra (head of kids and learning, originals)

What is your definition of family-friendly: Content spanning the broadest possible audience that is relevant to as many people as it can be. We always think about the talent attached. If it’s someone who has an audience that’s broadly appealing, then you’re definitely going to have a better shot at creating something that can appeal broadly.

Platform examples: Marcus Brownlee’s Retro Tech


Exec: Naketha Mattocks (director, family films)

What is your definition of family-friendly: Now more than ever, everyone is looking to escape, stay connected and feel seen. We hope our storytelling can do just that. For us, it’s con- tent from anywhere, in any language and in any genre, that’s entertaining and appropriate for the whole family. One fun thing about this space is that we can also “hide a little spinach.” [By which we mean] there’s something that the audience gets to walk away with or that can spark a meaningful conversation.

Platform examples: Over the Moon, Julie & The Phantoms, The Baby-Sitters Club, Feel the Beat, Finding Ohana and The Floor is Lava


Exec: Katie Wilson (VP, channels and curation)

What is your definition of family-friendly: There are three core elements that are at the heart of our content strategy to maximize family viewing success—blockbuster animation; live-action storytelling brimming with strong, character-driven narratives that provide appointment co-viewing opportunities; and unscripted competition shows.

Platform examples: American Ninja Warrior Jr., Miraculous Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir and Get Out of My Room


Exec: Jeff Grossman (EVP)

What is your definition of family-friendly: We have taken the approach where we create a very diverse slate of programming that targets one specific part of the family, either with a sophisticated adult drama or our Nickelodeon library for preschool and kids content.

Platform examples: Star Trek, SpongeBob SquarePants, Mission Impossible and Transformers

About The Author
Alexandra Whyte is Kidscreen's News & Social Media Editor. Contact her at awhyte@brunico.com



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