When children are enamored of a show (or, more specifically, a character) they want to watch the same episode over and over and learn every detail. Instead of binge viewing as their parents do, they déjà view.
For kids, though, traditional "live" TV is a step backwards, a relinquishing of control, a subjugation of their wants and preferences for those of another. As the Times' lede suggests,
When Eric Nelson’s 6-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and 10-year-old son, Asa, discover that they cannot rewind or fast-forward a TV show, they are perplexed — and their father is, too. It is hard to explain the limitations of live television to children who have grown up in an on-demand world.
These changes are showing up in the TV's industry numbers, although not so much in the regular TV ratings numbers (although it could account for Nickelodeon's recent fall in traditional ratings numbers. A recent study by Common Sense Media found that kids' TV viewing on mobile devices has tripled since 2011 while viewing on traditional TV sets is falling. Amazon reports that 65% of the most-replayed content on its streaming service is children's programming. Amazon's created a special subscription streaming service for 3-8 year olds, and says that more than half of its viewing is from kids watching shows a second, third (or more) time. Netflix is finding that most re-viewing for preschoolers is tied to learning, while older kids focus on the humor in specific episodes. That's shown up in their programming strategy - they know they don't need all episodes of a kids program (unlike for most adult series) - just enough of the favorites to satisfy kids' interests. (And Hulu+ insistence on ads is hindering their ability to attract kids' viewing, and their parent's willingness to subscribe). Furthermore, traditional kids' channels like Disney, Nickelodeon are pushing access to network streams and program archives through smartphone and tablet apps, and even making new shows available online before their network premiere.
And while the kids' share of audience and advertising may be small, they've got a strong, almost insatiable, demand for content.
“Popular children’s programs can be a really big driver of use,” and can keep parents paying for the services, said David Tice, a GFK media analyst.As a result, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are working on creating their own original children's programming. Netflix has contracted with DreamWorks for 300 hours of original children's animations, and Amazon has three new children's series scheduled for next year.
It will be interesting to see how much kids' preference for controlling access and timing of their TV viewing will carry through their adult years. While content preferences will change as cognitive skills improve and interests shift, I think most will find giving up the control over viewing difficult - at least for most entertainment programs, movies, and short video content. The value of live for some things (sports, etc.) may continue to overcome the loss in value resulting from the passive nature of "live" viewing - but when competition provides options and opportunity to personalize and control the media experience, it will be increasingly difficult to return to old couch potato habits.
Source - Same Time, Same Channel? TV Woos Kids Who Can't Wait, New York Times