The use of television has shifted dramatically, but a new study by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) has found that traditional discovery methods such as word of mouth are still the key way that Aussie kids find content.
The research, presented at an event by Nickelodeon this morning, showed that while globally, channel surfing is the number one method for discovering new TV shows, in Australia word of mouth is the most likely method for kids (aged six to 12) and all viewers (aged six to 34 in the study).
VIMN SVP research, insights and reporting Christian Kurz told AdNews that the process of delivering on discovery is hearing about something, exploring and then getting a reminder to actually start watching.
Kurz said that “old school discovery methods” – word of mouth and flicking on the TV – feature heavily in the first and third part of the process, while the exploration stage relies on digital sources.
“The difference between adults and kids is that word of mouth is more important in general, and the difference between kids in Australia and internationally is that word of mouth is even more important,” Kurz said.
“That power of the playground conversation, that social currency television has, seems to be very very important in this country.
“Partly that might be because a lot of content that kids talk about may not be available on the channels that the majority of kids have access to. But we do just believe that word of mouth is an important part here because it has become an even more signficant part of the social fabric and conversation.”
The study also found that 68% of Australians love TV, agreeing with the statement that “TV has never been this good”.
Kurz said that more TV is being consumed than ever, but what needs to change however is an understanding of what television is as a definition.
“What is that redefined television? Really it is television on their own terms,” Kurz said. “So it’s when and where and how they want it and us, as an industry, we just have to catch up with that perception.”
The other part that has changed with the way that kids consume content is the way they interact with brands. Nickelodeon also unveiled a study looking at the way kids follow their “fandom” and how brands can be involved.
The study looked at the journey of “fandom” from a new acquaintance, friend, best friend and true love. It also found that 83% of kids talk about the thing they are a fan of at school.
But VIMN Australia and NZ research director Kirsty Bloore said that when it comes to word of mouth, kids will talk about things that they are fans of to a certain point but when they get into that final stage of allegiance – true love – they tend to not be the biggest brand advocates.
“When they get to that final stage of allegiance, they do tend to keep some of that information to themselves so that they know more than their friends do and it gets quite competitive,” Bloore said.
Bloore also said that the way kids advocate brands is different across the four research categories: sports, licensed products, gaming/YouTube and celebrities.
“There are some categories particularly with the gaming and YouTube category where some of the kids we spoke to got a bit shy about what they were a fan of,” Bloore said.
“They don’t tend to talk about it as much with their friends unless they know that their friends are really into it, because there can be some stigma attached to be a ‘gaming geek’.
“Whereas, if you’re a fan of a sport it’s a lot more widely acknowledge and there is a bit of kudos in the schoolyard to be attached to a sport so its more openly acknowledged.”
For brands wishing to tap into the fandom of kids, Bloore said being multi-dimensional and continuing to evolve is key.
Other important things for brands to remember when tapping into fandom are to involve the family, who tend to be big influencer for children and make it personal.
“The things for kids and their fandom is there is a connection point that is really important,” Bloore said.
“They can actually identify what that connection point is, whether it’s that they met that celebrity in person or received feedback from the brand on Facebook.
“So brands need to be authentic. Kids absolutely acknowledge that brands can stuff up but if they fess up to it, than its totally accepted.
“They want for brands to be inspiring to them and we certainly know from previous studies how important values and social good are to this generation.”