Ampere Analysis is a market-leading data and analytics firm specialising in the media, games and sports sectors. LM spoke with Senior Analyst Cyrine Amor, who explained the newest trends in the kids’ TV industry at MipJunior.
Your presentation demonstrated a significant overall decline rate in TV shows’ commissions, particularly for children’s content. How did this circumstance come about, according to your research?
It is partly tied to trends in the TV commissioning market overall. A difficult TV advertising context, rampant production cost inflation, pressure on public media budgets, a struggling US pay TV market and shifts towards a more profitability-driven business model by global streamers, are all impacting TV commissioning investment levels and production volumes. The recent strike action by writers’ and actors’ unions in the US has also exacerbated some of these dynamics.
Commissions of children’s TV content have been particularly impacted; we are witnessing steeper cuts in kids titles ordered (-22% for Q1 to Q3 2023) than the market average across all genres (-16% for the same period), despite the fact that only children’s live-action shows were necessarily affected by the US strike action.
What benefits do you see for companies in growing IP development across different sectors?
Against the backdrop of this market context, building on an established IP brand across different platforms and media reduces the risk associated with new content launches, and the significant budget commitments they entail in the kids TV production space, as well as diversifying the pool of financing partners boarding projects at an early stage. In the US, as well as in Europe, the majority of new kids’ TV show ordered now draw on pre-established IP.
Literary material and comic book adaptations make up the bulk of kids’ TV commissions that draw on other IP, and this kind of content plays a particularly prominent role in the European market. Among some of the notable recent announcements are adaptations of Enyd Blyton’s Famous Five and Jenny Nimmo’s Charlie Bone book series.
We also see more adaptations of video games, podcasts, and content linked to toy brands and other alternative IP sources increasingly occupy this kids’ TV IP space, and this is a trend we expect to become more marked over the next few years.
According to you, what are the best business choices for children’s entertainment enterprises presently?
The changing market dynamics in the kids’ TV commissioning space mean that companies working in this field need to be more pro-active in looking beyond the traditional commissioner-producer relationship to get their projects off the ground, to forge more partnerships and diversify the types of partners investing in their projects at an early stage. The current context and discoverability issues also suggest that wider non-exclusive content distribution might be more beneficial to support better engagement with shows and their popularity in the long run.
But more broadly speaking, this is an extremely exciting time to enter the children’s entertainment space. There is enormous appetite for kids’ content in all its forms, and more diversity than ever before in the ways it can be produced, consumed and distributed. Content is travelling more easily across national and cultural borders, and there is a lot of scope for experimentation with new formats, approaches to content development, viewer engagement and community building. Kids’ IP development cross-platform, on- and off-screen, plays an important role in this changing context, and it is now conceived of in a far less linear way than would have traditionally been the case.