NEWS29 January 2019

YouTube dominates children’s viewing

Media Mobile News Trends UK Youth

UK – Almost half of children in the UK now watch subscription on-demand services such as Netflix, but YouTube still dominates, according to Ofcom’s Children’s Media Use and Attitudes report. 

Child on phone

The annual study found YouTube is the primary online destination for children aged five to 15, with 80% having used it. Among those watching both YouTube and TV programmes on a TV set, almost half of children aged 8-11 and 12-15 ( 49%) prefer watching content on YouTube, while more than a third enjoy both viewing experiences equally.

Almost half ( 49%) of children and a third ( 32%) of pre-school children aged three to four watch subscription on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV.

Children are spending more time online than they do watching a TV set – around 20 more minutes daily on average, according to the research.

Seven in 10 older children (aged 12-15 ) are allowed to take their mobile phone to bed with them, and 35% of this age group said they found it difficult to moderate their screen time (up from 27% last year). Two-thirds ( 63%), however, ultimately feel they get ‘a good balance between screen time and doing other things’.

An additional qualitative study on children’s viewing habits found that children preferred watching content on YouTube and Netflix to any other platforms. While most of the children in the study continue to watch live, scheduled TV, it tended to be led by parents as ‘family time’ to watch programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing.

Yih-Choung Teh, strategy and research group director at Ofcom, said: “Children have told us in their own words why online content captures most of their attention. These insights can help inform parents and policymakers as they consider the role of the internet in children’s lives.

“This research also sheds light on the challenge for UK broadcasters in competing for kids’ attention. But it’s clear that children today still value original TV programmes that reflect their lives, and those primetime TV moments which remain integral to family life.”

The report is based on 1,430 interviews with parents of 5-15s and children aged 8-15, along with 630 interviews with parents of children aged 3-4. For the additional qualitative research, 40 children and young people aged four to 16 took part from across the UK. The research consisted of a seven-day media diary, objective data – including ‘watch histories’ and app usage statistics, and in-home interviews.