Unboxing took the digital space by storm when it first leapt out of obscurity. It introduced brands to a whole new way of reaching their young audiences and engage with them through a very different type of content. But, what did it mean for the evolution of digital kids content?

Digital content was at the top of the agenda at this year’s Children’s Media Conference (CMC). And conversations across most panels ultimately turned to digital in some regard; What is digital content? What platforms are the right platforms? And how do you know if you’re doing it right?

There was one session that took this conversation to the next level. So Over Unboxing – What’s Next? ­was a forum for the big innovators in digital, led by Hopster’s Nick Walters, Paul Nunn from Super Awesome, Andy Taylor of Little Dot Studios, Wild Brain’s Samreen Ghani and the BBC’s Rachel Bardill. Here’s some of our takeaways on what the experts think will be taking off in the digital world:

 

Transition from linear to digital

There is no set definition of what ‘digital’ content is anymore. Content can be different lengths, appear on different channels, and have many different purposes. But, we do know that ‘digital’ is a content destination. All content is digital now and this has been driven by a new young platform-agnostic audience, and apps and Smart TV’s are eliminating this divide between linear and digital almost altogether.

That’s not to say YouTube is cannibalising traditional kids TV as we know it. Brands are increasingly seeing platforms like YouTube as a complementary channel rather than a threat. And we’re seeing the brands that work well in YouTube work well in linear TV as well – take Angry Birds as just one example!

 

What does content mean on digital?

Creating content for digital requires an element of relinquishing creative control, and letting kids take charge. This approach is allowing user generated content such as unboxing to move forward and challenge the traditional format. It’s a trend that challenges brands to catch up with viewers. Digital is two way interaction and modern content creators are recognising the hundreds of thousands of touch-points for kids to connect with.

But don’t be fooled, that’s not to say a 360° approach is always the answer. The industry is quickly discovering what different content means on different platforms. Creators are looking inwardly and asking ‘is it right for Snapchat?’ rather than just ticking those platform boxes. It’s an attitude that is allowing creators to explore what quality content is on digital. It’s not just about those high production values anymore, and unboxing is a prime example.

 

Meaningful monetization of digital

It’s an amazing time to be a kids content producer. The move towards original content on specialist digital platforms means there’s more premium content out there, particularly in the SVOD space.

What happens next depends on what the big four tech players decide and what they think kids and parents want. The gulf between low and high cost content is closing up, but isn’t going away until the issue of money for digital kids content producers is addressed.

When you look at the scope of digital, there’s a lot to consider! Bringing together video and interactive is interesting space and opens up kids content to further innovation and ideas. Netflix is taking a small bite of this and will surely set the precedent for what happens next!

 

By Abi Williams, Account Manager at Franklin Rae