Netflix, Nickelodeon Dominate Kids’ Originals But BBC Is Strong Second

Nick Vivarelli

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U.S. giants Netflix and Nickelodeon are the world’s leading providers of children’s shows, more or less on a par. But the BBC’s kids’ brand CBBC ranks second and is also much more balanced in terms of its output of kids’ originals.

Rankings and breakdown of product type were among the takeaways of the Fresh TV Kids digital panel held Tuesday as part of the virtual MipTV market by analyst Virginia Mouseler looking at what’s trending in kids’ TV.

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The main current trend “is that Netflix has become the major provider of original kids programs on a par with Nickelodeon,” said Mouseler, CEO of research outfit The Wit. She noted that the two companies recently joined forced on “Glitch Techs,” the animation show about two kids recruited to battle video-game monsters that have found their way into the real world. 

Mouseler also pointed out that in terms of genres when it comes to children’s content, streamers prefer animation, which accounts for 62% of their made-for-kids output vis-a-vis 36% of kids’ shows that are made for linear TV.

Amazon Prime Video has a much lower output of originals for kids compared with Netflix.

But Amazon will be launching their first live-action show for kids in Germany next month titled “Bibi & Tina,” an adaptation of a popular German franchise that already boasts a number of live-action films and an animated skein.

In terms of production volume the BBC’s CBBC children’s brand comes right after Netflix and Nick, but has a “much more balanced production” with 42% factual product and 42% of fiction fare, including animation, said Mouseler.

CBBC’s standout factual show is short comedy series “Hey You! What If…,” which posits questions such as: “what if the earth was flat?.” It airs in 5 minute episodes on the BBC in the morning before school.

Commercial linear broadcasters of course also offer factual entertainment for kids, but often with more game or entertainment elements. The Fresh TV presentation as a case in point highlighted “Bakebananas” from TV 2  of Norway in which contestants aged between 10 and 11 pair off and compete in pastry challenges.

Australia’s ABC Me free-to-air television channel ranks as number 3 platform for kids originals. They churn out 91% fiction, 18% of which is animation, according to The Wit.

Mouseler presented a clip of ABC Me’s new live-action drama series “First Day” about 12-year-old transgender girl Hannah who navigates the challenges of starting in a new school.

The Encore SVOD platform in French Canada streams “The Complicated Life of Lea Olivier,” a somewhat similar but much more classic story of a young girl uprooted from her small home town to a big city.

Disney Channel U.S. ranks 4th in terms of original kids’ output, while two European public free-to-air operations tie for 5th place. KiKa in Germany and NPO Zapp in The Netherlands, which in January launched an interactive gameshow called “Zap Detective” challenging children to solve a murder case.

Other fresh kiddie fare highlighted in the presentation comprised live-action Brazilian show “Game Crashers” about three video-game characters who are tired of fighting villains and saving the universe so they escape and become high-school kids. It is distributed by Gloob. There was also a clip of Latin America animation “Pilar’s Diary” about a 10-year-old girl who travels to different worlds, from Mono Animation.

At the start of her presentation Mouseler underlined that it was conceived prior to the coronavirus pandemic and said that right now lots of broadcasters are “working on emergency programming built around coronavirus,” which in kids’ programming means “a lot of educational or comforting shows.”

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