There’s no doubt the YouTube Kids app is the right move at the right time for the video hosting behemoth. According to company statistics, overall viewing time on the platform grew by 50% in 2014, while viewing of “family entertainment” content was up 200%.
But this doesn’t look to be a case of all boats rising in a high tide. What’s good for YouTube might not be so good for competitors.
“If I’m a TV network, I’m nervous about further fragmentation of the market for kids ads,” says David Kleeman, SVP insights programs for PlayCollective. “I’m nervous about content creators choosing to go elsewhere. But it also comes with cautions. There are some parents who just don’t want their children exposed to a lot of ads, so they’ll choose another resource based on that.”
The YouTube Kids app doesn’t just make it easy for parents to make sure their kids are watching age-appropriate content. It also helps advertisers reach the right eyeballs.
“You can promise all day that (the ad) is going to get to the right type of user, but you don’t necessarily know if a kid is logging under his dad’s account,” says Zach James, co-founder of Zefr, which specializes in YouTube marketing and rights management. “Now that you have it all in one environment under kids, I think it’s going to make the advertisers feel more sure (about) who it’s being shown to.”
Kleeman says he sees 3 factors that will allow children’s pay platforms to survive in the post-YouTube Kids era. Number one is to be huge, like a Netflix or an Amazon.
“Parents are going to subscribe because they want stuff from Netflix, and they’re going to be thrilled that there’s something great for kids, as well,” Kleeman says.
Kleeman says services with highly-specialized programming should also be safe. As an example, he points to Oznoz, which offers children’s content from around the globe in its original language, such as Iranian TV in Farsi. He also says platforms with multiple functions, like PlayKids, which has both videos and games, should do well.
The bigger question is what it means for all the social media platforms nipping at YouTube’s heels with video content initiatives, from Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and Vessel.
“I think everyone needs to make more aggressive moves with the videos because it’s obviously what the consumers want,” James says. “A lot of these different platforms are going to come in using their own angles, but they’re all watching YouTube heavily. When you see the level of engagement on any of these platforms that introduces video – it’s dramatic. The internet in general is moving a lot more towards video and photos. And they’re all going to be taking advantage of it.”