The next in new media age’s kids and digital media research series looks at kids’ attitude to paying for content.
This week, new media age is publishing its second annual kids and digital media research project, a qualitative study produced with research specialist Discovery.
The third installment, following on from mobile trends (nma.co.uk 13 March 2011) and the top quotes from the study (nma.co.uk 12 March 2011), looks at kids’ attitudes to content and in particular, what types of content they are willing to pay for.
When I do buy music on iTunes I have to pay 59p… I think that is too much for music. ‘Cause you can just downloaded it for free
Zak, aged 12
Kids are going to YouTube for music frequently, making it the first place they visit to listen to music.
The dominance of YouTube has grown between the time that new media age and Discovery conducted the research last year. The reason for this is largely because it is free and easily sharable with friends because, unlike a lot of streaming services, you aren’t required to have an account or sign in to view most of the content.
The trend towards streaming means that there is little to no emotional attachment to owning music, with many kids not knowing what the first song they bought or downloaded was.
Mobile could be the key to encouraging kids to pay for music.
The ease at which kids can buy from iTunes via iPhones and iPod Touches does mean that kids are more likely to pay for music. According to Discovery, their research suggests that kids are spending £4.60 on average a month on music downloads from iTunes.
Alan Hathaway from Discovery said, “ This is largely due to Apple’s simple interface, the other providers do not have the same hold. Those with an Apple device had a different value for content because the integration of paying is so easy and intuitive, so paying for content comes hand in hand with consuming it.”
Film is becoming the new music for content piracy.
While music is often held up as having the most serious issues when it comes to piracy, Discovery have found that streaming is having a positive impact on kids. They largely had no use for illegal file-sharing sites such as Limewire and the use of them was down considerably from last year.
The appetite for free, pirated film content has, however, grown over the past year and is the main reason that kids now use illegal means of finding content.
Catch up is more prevalent than linear viewing.
In terms of linear versus catch-up, kids consume content when they want. This isn’t necessarily driven by broadcaster catch-up services but again YouTube.
Youth brand MTV has recently looked to capitalise on this by launching an app called Under The Thumb (pictured below), which allows consumers the chance to pay for on-demand programming. The technology taps into the trend for mobile outlined in the research but also into social because it allows users to organise watching shows with their friends via the app.
Ben Jones, European director of technology for AKQA, which made the app for MTV, said, “The key for this is not taking away from the fact that MTV is a premium channel and instead creating something that kids will want and pay for - TV content on different channels that they can watch with who they want when they want.”
The freemium model is key to gaming.
Major game releases can still hold a premium but the momentum in kids’ gaming is in casual, free to play. This model can be a revenue generator though because kids see micropayments and virtual goods as normal.
Ian Douthwaite, CEO of youth specialist research agency and virtual world development studio Dubit, said, “Children’s gaming habits are very different now, even compared to five years ago. They still buy boxed games at retail but the momentum is with browser-based gaming, mobile devices and the freemium business model. Children now see micro-transactions as the norm – it’s one of the reasons why Smurfs Village (which is free to play) has generated more revenue on the App Store than any other game, even more than Angry Birds.”
Similarly, James Males, MD of Spil Games, said, “All of our social games are free to play, and we see huge levels of enthusiasm and popularity in our players choosing to enhance their experiences by buying in-game items. Players (including kids) choose virtual items for two purposes: decorative or functional (e.g. will help them advance further in the game).”