The ‘Sensical’ 7: Predictions for Kids’ Media in 2023 | PRO Insight

In 2022, there was a collective reckoning across every sector of media.

  • Workforces were slashed and programming budgets were cut.

  • A streaming video on demand (SVOD) giant was humbled as the power of consumer choice took hold and subscriber growth stalled.

  • A beloved CEO returned to the top perch in an uncertain market while another tried to steer a mega merger from bust to boom.

  • Social media platforms came under even more scrutiny.

  • And advertisers, whose lights had dimmed in the recent era of peak streaming, were suddenly all the rage as the resurgence of ad-supported tiers took center stage.

The increase in media consumption by kids, thought at first to be COVID inspired, was actually a true behavioral shift, a loud statement that Gen Alpha will have a lasting impact on the shape of the market for years to come.

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And while big media companies battled for position and market share in the SVOD/AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) wars or chose to stand back and take an “arms dealer” approach, kids took charge designing their own personal bundles of creators on open platforms and gaming services, building a different set of loyalties that didn’t always include the incumbents.

Big streamers and media companies retreated from investment in kids’ media, marshaling resources to fight other battles, and, as a result, left the ecosystem of families, creators, brands and platforms to sort through a seismic impact on business models, marketing, privacy, safety and mental health.

So where will the pendulum swing for Kids and Family media in 2023? How will creator-driven short form content, linear free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels in the living room, virtual gaming worlds, fare? How will AI, new regulation, and cookie-less contextual advertising that’s efficient and safe impact the industry for the better?

As the market keeps shapeshifting to meet the moment, we lay out predictions for 2023 that will have a profound impact on all key stakeholders — we call it “Common Sense Networks’ Sensical Seven.”

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Kids FAST channels are the Trojan horse in the connected TV (CTV) living room attention wars

Increasing consumption by kids and families in a living room environment will drive FAST, fueled by Smart TVs, to outperform mobile. But with a glut of channels making discovery a chore, platforms will raise the bar on quality and force out channels that don’t deliver.

Trusted third-party content data is common currency for youth marketers

More sophisticated data classification will make contextual content placement safer and more effective allowing marketers to efficiently reach young audiences on User Generated Content (UGC) platforms.

U18 is the new U13

For the first time, and on the heels of the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act and similar UK legislation, platforms, games and brands that connect with anyone under 18 will be forced to invest in kid-tech to implement protections from harm or face non-compliance. Taking effect July 2024, the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act requires general-audience sites/apps “likely to be accessed” by children to install basic protections and safety standards for users under the age of 18.

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AI not-intelligent-enough for kids

Artificial Intelligence may dazzle with respect to art, text, search and content more broadly, but it won’t be good enough to program appropriate content for kids without humans at the controls in 2023. Judgment matters as a point of differentiation in the AI arms race.

UGC laps SVOD for kids with ad dollars to follow

Kids will continue to be digital daredevils striking out on open user-generated platforms where they explore authentic, relatable, interest-driven content that fuels their passions. Demand will only increase for creators and will continue surpassing all subscription services.

Gen Alpha votes for new digital playgrounds with their time and attention

Game on. Creators, brands and studios scramble to identify the right catch-up strategy to safely follow young users who’ve already moved to Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite, now seen as mainstream social media platforms, video and music solutions, and virtual currencies for a generation. Not participating authentically (and safely) puts Gen Alpha loyalties at risk.

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Parents take further action to encourage kids’ mental health

As younger users clamor for engaging digital experiences, parents will demand content that reinforces positive SELF ESTEEM as the hot topic and breaking news about kids’ Mental Health becomes even more central to the national conversation.

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