TheGrill 2015: Kids Consume More Media Than Anyone Realizes, PwC Study Says (Video)

Parents have less control over children’s media consumption as they get older, according to survey revealed at TheWrap’s sixth-annual media leadership conference

Last Updated: October 7, 2015 @ 3:37 PM

Kids are spending more time consuming media than they or their parents realize, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, presented Tuesday at TheGrill 2015.

In the results of two surveys, PwC found that parents estimated on average that their children consumed 15.7 hours of media per week. Children estimated that they consumed slightly less at 15.5 hours. But when parents and children were asked to track media consumption, the results were vastly different than the estimates.

“Lo and behold, they were consuming more than they they thought or their parents though,” Joseph Atkinson, entertainment advisory leader for the entertainment, media and communications practice, PwC, said. “They were consuming 16 to 20 hours a week.”

Atkinson presented the results from two surveys at TheWrap’s sixth annual media leadership conference — one on the behavior of kids, another on parental behavior.

The first study, “Media-Savvy Kids, Teens Want Engaging Stories on Multiple Devices,” gauged the viewing behavior of children ages 8-18. The results, based on a survey of 511 respondents, found that kids and teens favored streaming content more than traditional television and video games.

The study found that 53 percent of kids 8-11 and 12-14 named streaming shows their favorite type of media, while 54 percent of kids 15-18 said the same. Video game content ranked second for the 8-11 group, while cable television came in second with older kids.

As for how kids and teens find out about new content, the study found found that commercials are the primary discovery vehicle, followed by direct recommendations from friends and family and social-media recommendations.

“When it comes to discovery, how they find our content, they find it first through advertising,” Atkinson said.

A companion study, “I’m the Parent, That’s Why! How Parents Influence What Their Kids Watch,” surveyed 250 parents about the level of control they exercise over their children’s media consumption.

Parents surveyed conceded that they enjoy less control over their children’s media consumption as their kids grow older. Ninety-one percent of parents of children 8-11 said they had more control at that stage than at any other, with only 9 percent saying they had less. For kids 12-14, parents split 55 percent more and 45 percent less. But for teens age 15-18, only 30 percent of parents said they had more control, with 70 percent saying they had less.