Streaming video services have helped me keep my sanity over the past few months. Like most parents, I’ve been balancing a full-time job at home with my little one’s education and entertainment.
In fact, 60 percent of parents across the country are still unsure of their fall childcare plans. Even when sending the kids back to school is an option, many after-school programs and recreational sports will still be on hold.
Since painting rocks can only hold their attention for so long, it looks like working parents will have to continue to rely on our tablets, gaming consoles, and favorite streaming services to keep our small humans occupied (and quiet... hopefully) through those afternoon conference calls and Zoom meetings.
That’s why my kid’s favorite shows take priority when I consider the most essential streaming services in my home. And many of my friends feel the same.
The babysitter my kid can’t wear out
As much as we may not like to admit it, burnt-out parents have turned to the TV for decades as a useful distraction when they need time to make dinner, fold laundry, sit on the couch and stare at the wall for a bit, take a break from playing Candy Land for the fourth time in a row… you get the picture.
The same seems to hold true today, with most of the major streaming services seeing engagement bumps during the quarantine.
To take a closer look at that impact, let’s look at the most engaging children’s programming among an audience of streaming parents.
This gives us a better idea of the programming styles that appeal most to parents with children in the household. Understanding the channels that are popular with parents may also provide some clues as to the syndicated content they are viewing on their streaming providers.
From my experience, the age of the parents can also play into the types of content that are prioritized, and the data supports that. Parents in the 35-44 age group tend to engage more heavily with educational programming like PBS Kids, while the 25-34 group has a much higher affinity for Freeform and Nickelodeon, which lean towards more entertainment and cartoon programming.
I have friends in the latter age group who still remember the good times they shared with Spongebob Squarepants, so nostalgia is a likely culprit for that engagement. They may be watching these channels on their own or using this time as a chance to introduce their children to their favorite programs from their own childhood.
Either way, that’s a valuable insight that can be leveraged by streaming companies when buying syndicated programming.
Helixa can also help us to analyze the top channels of the past six months against an audience of streaming parents by using the trending function.
I’m sure these channels are more than a little familiar to any parents reading this. But, if you’ve had them on an infinite loop like we have, you might be ready to find something new.
Let’s explore some new options for programming, once our old standbys have gone stale.
Mining interests for programming ideas that appeal to the whole family
While there are tons of shows out there meant to appeal to the little ones, some of the best manage to appeal to their parents as well, creating an enjoyable bonding experience.
Just look at Sesame Street. The show’s 50-year run owes much of its success to their ability to keep parents tuning in with their kids.
To find new programming ideas for the whole household, I grabbed some of the streaming parents top interests. And I think there are some promising opportunities here.
Gaming, in particular, stands out as an especially interesting chance to create that bond I mentioned earlier.
While gaming is popular with many parents, it could be a hobby they pass down to their children, particularly if they have older children in the household. Plus, while I’m sure there are shows that revolve around gaming, I don’t think the category is saturated yet.
The list of top influencers among streaming parents offers some important validation. By taking this second look, we can see that parents aren’t just fans of these topics — they are actually seeking out and following influencers in these categories as well.
In other words, if you are trying to create compelling content to attract and engage families in lockdown, Helixa can take the guesswork out and show you what resonates across multiple dimensions.
For example, the high affinity for art could be another great opportunity to explore.
Drawing from my own experience as a tyke, my parents used to love watching The Joy of Painting with me. More importantly, they loved letting Bob Ross lull me into a sense of complete calm with all those happy little trees while they finished up chores around the house.
Hulu already has the rights to Bob Ross’ entire catalog, but maybe it’s time for his spiritual successor to have their moment.
You could even take this analysis one step further and check out the top artists among this audience, to come up with a shortlist of potential hosts. Hopefully, anyone who takes up the mantle will be worthy to step into Bob’s shoes (which I’m guessing are a pair of well-worn moccasins).
Either way, these are some strong ideas for programming that could be further explored in Helixa Discovery.
You need meaningful insights to bring the whole family together
Before you can win over streaming families like mine, you need to understand what they engage with, and how they tune in.
Helixa Discovery is not only helpful for uncovering these types of rich insights around the interests of specific target audiences. It can also help create actionable plans for casting, programming, and distribution.
Ultimately, if your programming can bring my whole family together for some quality time, you have cemented your place in my monthly subscription budget.
And if you can’t, I’ll probably just put Paw Patrol back on, like everyone else: Our data has it up 855% in the past three months.
Kimberley is the Director of Customer Success at Helixa. Her team manages all of the client relationships, while serving as strategic partners. Most importantly, she is a mom to a highly energetic, dinosaur-obsessed 6-year-old boy.