Ad Spend In Kids' Content/Media Leapt Nearly 50% In 2022, Driven By Digital Video

Even as many other verticals have seen a reduction in ad spend, U.S. ad investments in children’s content and programming grew by nearly 50% in 2022, driven primarily by digital video, according to a study by MediaRadar. 

The sales intelligence company analyzed a sample of ad spending from national TV broadcasts, national print publications and newspapers from top DMAs, as well as online channels including websites, OTT/CTV and social media. It also analyzed children-focused content across the media it tracks. The data is from Jan. 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2022. 

Spending to market children’s products and services, including toys and games, entertainment and personal care, reached more than $1.6 billion through 2022. 

Seventy percent went to digital channels, including streaming, 29% to traditional TV and 1% to print. 

Digital rose 80% year-over-year, to $1.17 billion, driven by investments in online video and ad-supported streaming. 

In comparison, in 2021, ad spend in children’s content totaled about $1.1 billion, with 54% — $612 million — going to digital, 41% to TV and 5% to print. 

Top advertisers in the sector include key toys and games brands like Mattel and Hasbro. Although Mattel, Hasbro and other toys and games brands accounted for 58% of 2022’s category spend ($985 million), MediaRadar’s analysis of several top kids-focused media properties found that rest of the spending distributed across CPG, retail, apparel, personal care, consumer electronics and QSRs.  

“Our data reveals that a wider variety of brands are investing in this space—it’s not just toys and games,” says MediaRadar CEO Todd Krizelman. “Savvier advertisers understand that many parents are watching programs or engaging content with their kids, creating an opportunity to reach a wider audience.” 

In addition to offering a brand-safe environment, because kid-focused media is subject to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which means that brands buy the inventory directly, and know “exactly where their ads run, on what shows, what times, even what position in the ad pods,” adds Vikrant Mathur, co-founder of the HappyKids ad-supported video-on-demand service.

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