How book publishers are engaging the most disruptive generation yet

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Brand experiences for kids come in all shapes and sizes, and we have witnessed some fantastic examples in recent months, where more and more brands and content owners are moving their IP on to digital. Some of the most exciting and innovative campaigns we see have arisen from a particularly traditional sector: book publishers. In this blog series, we’re going to highlight some of the ways that book publishers are not only engaging with the centennial audience, but creating whole multi-media worlds they can explore. But first, some context…

Kids are everywhere (and they are all-consuming)

Kids’ content habits have changed radically over the last 10 years. Historically a TV-first audience, they now access content from tablet, smartphone, laptop, SVOD… and just about anything they can get their hands on. Under-13s are now one of the fastest growing segments on the Internet.

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So, where can we find kids? Or, perhaps the easier question: where can’t we find kids?

A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that 75% of 4 year olds in the US own their own mobile device and of those, 50% multitask, using two or more devices simultaneously. These are kids who have not even learnt to write a proper sentence yet.  

It’s not just in the western world; kids’ mobile and tablet access is extraordinarily high in many markets we work in:

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source: SuperAwesome Kids’ Media Snapshot: ASEAN, age 6-14, n = 1,824

The more devices kids have access to, the more their attention is shared: centennials have quickly become device agnostic. Our research shows that 25% claim to watch one screen at a time, 63% watch two screens at once and 12% watch three or more screens. Many kids don’t even realise this is multitasking, especially if content across screens complements each other.

Kids are hungry for content, wherever they can get it – which explains why more and more brands are focussing in on their multi-platform kids digital content offerings to enormous success.

However, in parallel with kids’ screen based worlds, we see another major and persistent trend:  

Kids love to read books (as in, proper books).

When this generation thinks of ‘reading’ as a stand alone activity, physical books reign supreme. Our recent studies show that UK kids favour paperback and hardback books, especially between the ages of 10-12 where over half read paperbacks. In contrast, the e-reader is already on the way out; kids are much more likely to be on mobile or tablet (less than 20% kids read e-books).

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source: SuperAwesome OnTrack report: UK, age 4-18 n = 3,016

Turning the page to the US, our latest research shows that reading is the 4th most popular activity with kids and teens beating playing with toys, gaming and sports.

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source: Kids Media Snapshot: US, age 6-14, n = 1,400

This might seem at odds with kids’ increasing propensity to live their lives in a digital world. But there really is no reason these trends shouldn’t work together – if centennials are device agnostic, there is a huge opportunity here for traditional publishers to get their content in front of kids from many more angles than ever before.  

We’re seeing a new surge of traditional, established publishers understanding this generation and working across multiple platforms to extend their stories beyond the page and reel in even the most reluctant centennial reader. Keep an eye out right here for some great examples that highlight how this is being done by publishers, big and small – right now.

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