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Some noteworthy differences in youth TV programming across the major European nations


The January-June 2018 issue of the Kids TV Report by Eurodata TV Worldwide reviews the latest trends in youth TV programming and analyses the latest children’s hits in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Kids daily viewing times and use of catch-up TV significantly differ between countries ; local production is high in the UK and lower in other European countries. In terms of programmes, 2018 offers less hits thus greater diversity than previous years.

Some noteworthy differences in youth TV programming across the major European nations

During the first half of 2018, children (under 15), in the five European countries mentioned above, spent an average of 1hr 39mins in front of the TV each day. However, there are some large disparities between countries. For instance, Italian children spent 2hrs 35mins each day watching their favourite TV programmes, whilst their German counterparts only watched during 1hr 8mins each day.

Just like young adults, children like being able to choose when to watch or rewatch television programmes. So, they use catch-up, but again a real difference exists between the nations: in the United Kingdom for example, children's catch-up viewing on a TV set it was as much as 15 minutes per day, almost 20% of the total daily viewing time ! By contrast, in Latin countries, for example Spain and Italy, live viewing is still the norm for children, with catch-up representing less than 4% of their total daily TV consumption.

Diametrically opposed youth programming strategies

The study into public channel youth programming reveals how much the media landscape differs between neighbouring countries.

In the United Kingdom, 90% of the children’s programming available on CBBC and CBeebies – the two youth channels from the BBC – are homegrown productions or co-productions. The reverse is true in Spain where 88% of cartoons broadcast on RTVE are imported. France sits in the middle with a balance between homegrown productions (40%) and imported formats (39%) aired on the France Télévisions channels, with the remainder being co-productions.

On the other hand, regardless of the country studied, the very youngest viewers – the so-called “pre-schoolers” – watch public channels more than the older children. This general trend can be explained by parental influence in the choice of programmes watched by the youngest viewers.

Fewer international youth hit shows … with one exception

This season, in the countries studied by the report, five programmes performed well and ranked in at least two national top 20 charts, compared to eight programmes last season. This was the case, for example, of PJ Masks and The Thundermans, two shows starring super-heroes which both ranked high in French and Italian charts. We should also note one stand-out long-running show: Paw Patrol, which has dominated the European charts since 2015. It tells the story of a canine patrol led by Ryder which comes to the aid of the local population.

In spite of this year’s greater diversity in youth programming, one cartoon made it into the top 3 in four European countries: Miraculous, Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir. This France-Korea-Japan collaboration recounts the adventures of a little girl and boy who can transform into a ladybird and a cat respectively and protect Paris from evil moths intent on turning people into supervillains.

The Kids TV Report also revealed that in terms of the total number of viewing hours, Miraculous beat all youth programming records with 73.8 million viewing hours*. This cartoon even outperformed two classic shows – Alvin & the Chipmunks and SpongeBob SquarePants.

To complete the analysis on the phenomenon that is Miraculous, the Kids TV Report also examined broadcasts of videos based on the cartoon via the free platform YouTube, both on its official and unofficial channels: episode clips, amateur animated short films, unboxing**, cosplay***, etc.

Once again, significant differences existed between countries in terms of the most popular types of content: in France and in Germany, we saw fan videos of tie-in merchandise whilst in the UK, animated short films made by fans and cosplay were more popular.



* Total viewing hours = total audience hours for all broadcasts of the Top 3 programmes watched via the channels in the study.

** Unboxing = videos published online showing individuals filming themselves as they unpack products that they have just purchased or have been sent by a brand name company.

*** Cosplay = abbreviation of “costume play”, a hobby which involves dressing up to imitate fictional characters.


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