With pester power, pocket money and a keen eye for the latest
fashion, children are an important audience for many advertisers.
BSkyB has recently augmented its children’s programming output across
the Sky Digital platform, including the launch of Britain’s first
dedicated channel for pre-schoolers, Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. The BBC is
planning to introduce a daily package of children’s programming on its
BBC Choice digital channel. The strand will be available ahead of a
possible standalone children’s channel, which is set to launch next
It is easy to explain this enthusiasm to serve children. A significant
41 per cent of multi-channel households contain children, whereas,
across all of the UK’s TV, only 28 per cent contain children,
illustrating the appeal of multi-channel TV to young families.
Over the past five years, cable and satellite TV has gradually taken
viewers away from terrestrial services in all audience categories.
However, the movement has been more pronounced for children aged four to
15. Between July 1994 and the same month this year, children’s average
weekly viewing of non-terrestrial channels has increased from one hour
42 minutes to more than four hours, according to BARB data. Children’s
viewing of ITV has dropped from five hours 48 minutes to just three
hours 51 minutes over the same period.
In terms of share, non-terrestrial channels now take 26.5 per cent of
children’s viewing, leaving ITV with 25.2 per cent and BBC1 with 23.4
per cent. In July 1994, ITV had a 39.2 per cent share, BBC1 28.8 per
cent and cable/satellite just 11.5 per cent. What is significant about
this shift is that it is greater than the average increase in viewing
share for the non-terrestrial channels, that is, for all individuals.
Share of viewing of non-terrestrial channels by children has increased
by 15 per cent in the last five years; for all individuals the increase
is 7.8 per cent.
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