Online Overtakes TV As Influencer Vloggers Open Up The Teen Market

It's a huge tipping point that is worthy of note. For the first time, Ofcom reports that British children are spending more time online than watching television. What that means depends on your area of media.

I suspect that many people will be talking about this as the end of television, but regular readers will know how i view prophecies of tv's demise. The truth is that particularly among younger children, a lot of time spent on the laptop or tablet is watching television shows through a kid-friendly app, such as Cbeebies or Netflix.

Primary-age children also record that books are preferred over watching YouTube clips, so for this age group, there isn't a whole lot to write home about. particularly as nine in ten will still watch television every day. The main time frame for viewing is still the traditional family time of 6 to 9 pm. It doesn't sound like a whole lot has changed there -- or at least, digital hasn't taken over entirely as tv viewing moves to a tablet among kids who still watch family tv shows and love to read and go to bed with a story.

However, as kids become older and approach and enter their teen years, the news becomes bigger because they are moving from tablets to smartphones and increasingly enjoying checking out YouTube. When you combine primary and secondary school, a massive three in four pupils say they regularly watch YouTube clips -- this is, by the way, double the proportion of pre-school children.

So there is a clear transition from more conventional tv media consumption on the family set and a tablet among pre-school as well as early years-school students that moves on to being increasingly focussed on watching vloggers via smartphones.

This is big news for marketers because it backs up what they are likely to already know: pre-teens and teenagers love YouTube and have favourite YouTubers. What they may not know for sure, but probably suspect, is that children are becoming more savvy. Some 57% -- up 10% from last year -- now realise that vloggers are often paid to endorse products. 

So there are two things happening here. Daytime viewing among primary school-age kids is down, but the traditional early-evening family appointment to view is still very much a habit that is being adhered to, as is a book at bedtime.

For pre-teens and teens, marketers have in these figures confirmation that YouTube influencers is a highly viable route to market, but beware transparency. These are not just kids -- they are what conference speakers love to call 'digital natives' and they know all about product placement.

So keep it transparent, and a receptive audience will be grateful. Hide your influence, and both you and the vlogger will be on the wrong end of a backlash.

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