Insights

New releases in the children’s genre: How are new shows competing with the well-established?

9 August, 2021

With well-established shows, such as Sesame Street and Spongebob Squarepants, holding the highest level of demand within the children’s genre, it is interesting to watch when new titles make an impact. This article will cover the shows released in the children’s genre over the past five years and outline possible reasons for why those with the highest demand have been a success with the younger audience.

Worldwide demand for long-established shows

As with other areas of their life, children enjoy and interact with repetition when it comes to entertainment. This could be a large reason for why shows that have been around for a long time generally have the most demand to this audience. One other reason for this could be due to the older generation’s appreciation for nostalgia, which may be what leads to parents selecting the show for their child to watch.

Over the month of July, the shows in the children’s genre that have had the most demand are Spongebob Squarepants, released in 1999, and Masha and the Bear, released in 2009. Other shows with an exceptional level of worldwide demand are Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, released in 2015, PAW Patrol, released in 2013, and Peppa Pig, released in 2004. Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, the newest of the most in demand children’s shows, has a number of possible reasons for its success and growing level of demand. However, it was still released over 5 years ago.

On the chart below, Sesame Street, initially released in 1969, is the oldest of the list and is currently sitting at 27.2 times more demand than the average show globally. Another very long-standing series, with 23.1 times more demand than the average show worldwide, on this list is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. While having been released in 2010, this show is a part of the long-standing My Little Pony franchise - its first series having originally aired in the mid-1980s.

The long-standing consistency for demand these decade-old shows have had - and, as the below chart indicates, are continuing to have - over the years could be due to how they not only interest the child, with aspects such as humor, easy to follow storylines, and repetition, but the parent as well. In the US, it has been discovered that 48 percent of parents pick the content their family watches. In addition to this, it was found that 68 percent of these parents choose shows that remind them of their own childhood, ones that bring feelings of nostalgia

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Global demand for newer releases in the children’s genre

The chart below depicts the level of global demand over the month of July for shows released within the past five years. Unlike other genres that generally have to only interest the single viewer, it is important to remember that, as mentioned before, most parents have control over what their children watch. Therefore, the children’s genre not only must pique the interest of the child themselves, but also, on many occasions, their parents - or at least gain their approval.

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Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, released in 2020 on Netflix, is now on its second season and currently has 10.77 times more demand than the average show worldwide. This show, which is a spinoff of the 1993 Jurassic Park, indicates that nostalgia, as previously mentioned, is something that is of importance to parents as they are selecting what their children watch. This can also be said for Spirit Riding Free, released in 2017 - which is based off of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, a film released in 2002, - and Mickey and the Roadstar Racers, released in 2017, which features the very well-known characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The demand for these kinds shows, perhaps, could also be due to familiarity, which may provide a sense of security in choice. If the parent had watched it when they were a child, then something similar will surely be entertaining and safe for their children to watch now.

Other shows on the chart are of a much more educational theme. One study in the UK found that 32 percent of parents said their kids have been watching more educational content since the lockdown began - with 72 percent of them wanting them to continue watching this kind of content after the lockdown is lifted. This could be one explanation for the outstanding demand for new shows within the children’s genre that are specifically educational. This includes Munki and Trunk, which has 10.7 times more demand than the average show worldwide, Numberblocks, with 8.9 times more demand than the average show worldwide, and Ask the StoryBots, which has 8.7 times more demand than the average show worldwide.

Different Markets

When considering newer children’s shows, it is also interesting to look at how their demand differs per nation.

For instance, the United States has the highest amount of demand for DuckTales, with 17.34 times more demand than the average show, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, with 13.8 times more demand than the average show, and Puppy Dog Pals, with 13.06 times more demand than the average show.

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Like in the United States, the United Kingdom has a high level of demand for Ducktales and Mickey and the Roadster Racers when it comes to newer release children’s programs. However, Numberblocks, with 9.23 times more demand than the average show, and Ask the Storybots, with 4.19 times more demand than the average show, are at the top of the list. This could be due to the push for educational content as children are learning from home over the pandemic. An increased interest in the subgenre overall in the United Kingdom could also have been influenced by the BBC’s large devotion of airtime to curriculum-based learning.

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In Canada, DuckTales has the highest level of demand for children’s shows that have been released within the past five years. However, one interesting point to note is that none of these shows are in the outstanding level of demand category.

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Possible Influences to Success

When the shows that have the most demand in the children’s genre are generally well-established with a number of seasons, it is interesting to look at reasons for why a newer show might gain a high level of demand.

One show that is relatively consistent in the growth of demand is Spirit Riding Free. Released in 2017, the Netflix original show already has eight seasons and will likely release its ninth sometime this year. Currently, the show, produced by DreamWorks Animation, has the highest level of demand in its origin country - the United States, with 11.4 times more demand than the average show. This is more than double the level of demand the show had at the same time in 2020, with just 5 times more demand than the average show.

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The show had perhaps gained its initial level of demand and growth due to the familiarity of the 2002 film, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, that it was based off of. However, its consistent level of growth in demand in recent times indicates that the show has come into its own - an achievement for a children’s show that, having been released in May 2017, is just four years old.

Some areas that could have influenced its success could be the accompanying merchandise, including toys, clothing lines, and stationary products, that is sold worldwide as well as the recently released movie, Spirit Untamed. The concept of the show is also inclusive of the whole family, as well.

Conclusion

The children’s genre is very different to other genres in that demand does not usually rely on what is new - quite the opposite, in fact. Shows in this genre cater to an audience that tends to enjoy consistency and repetition. So, whether it is through familiarity, incorporation of the whole family, or good adaptation to the current times, it is interesting to watch when newer contenders in the children’s genre make an impact.

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