There’s nothing scientific about Bernstein Research’s report this morning based on its recent focus group interviews with 16 mothers. But it’s still interesting in the context of the investment firm’s campaign to disprove Viacom and Disney’s claim that they can license kids’ shows to streaming services such as Netflix without cannibalizing their lucrative, conventional TV channels — especially Viacom’s ad-supported Nickelodeon. The focus groups reinforced analyst Todd Juenger’s belief that the media giants should forego the easy money from Netflix and “do everything in their power” to promote their cable channels: “Even if it means swallowing a year of tough (financial results) for the long-term good.” Kids between the ages of 2 and 11 watch about four hours of TV a day, a source of “some degree of guilt” for most of the moms in Bernstein’s panels. They really hate ads which they say have an enormous influence on their kids — and not just by shaping their product preferences. “Many of the mothers were convinced that commercial viewing somehow shortened their child’s attention span,” Juenger reports. To avoid commercials, several said that they rent movies, steer kids to commercial-free platforms such as streaming video and VOD, or limit viewing to shows recorded on DVRs so they can skip over the promotions. “Almost universally, the mothers found that kids do not tire of watching the same programs over and over again,” the researchers found. They also discovered that while kids typically prefer to watch shows on TV, they’ll gladly switch to laptops, tablets or phones. Children also like to watch particular shows, not networks. “Most parents preferred Phineas and Ferb to SpongeBob, with several citing SpongeBob as rude and inappropriate for younger children.”
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