Netflix has gradually won itself a well-respected reputation in the world of children’s entertainment. It’s latest groundbreaking decision was to produce an original series based on the book series A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
But that’s just one example in a long list of new kids programming that the series has picked up, ranging from an animated King Kong series set in the future to an Italian cartoon about fairies.
What’s the deal? Why the heavy investment into kids programming? Although Netflix is stepping up its game across the board (with several new dramas, comedies, and at least one foreign language series on the way), the emphasis it’s begun to place on kids programming is hard to miss for those who have watched the trades.
The fact is that our kids are some of the most prolific television watches among us, and by far one of the most loyal audiences.
For example, the recent Nielsen ratings reports that reported an overall decrease of 4% in television watching sent television executives into crisis mode. The Disney Channel, however, apparently did not lose any viewers.
This could be a result of any number of things. Perhaps Netflix’s existing selection of kids shows just doesn’t cut it for kids’ tastes. Certainly, just like adults, kids want to watch new shows, not just rehashes of programs they’ve already seen. Perhaps kids don’t have the attention span to binge watch the same show over and over again – again, that doesn’t seem too likely.
In some ways, it’s a problem of inertia. Channels like The Disney Channel are very successful with their demographic. They keep kids engrossed, from fast-paced content to commercial interstitials and various quick breaks.
It locks its audience into a pattern of regular viewing, and neither kids nor parents find cause to alter this in any way. Entertaining children is an entirely different animal from entertaining adults. But obviously, Netflix has what it takes to crack the code.
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They pick and prune what shows to develop on the basis of viewing data about what shows kids stream compulsively.