Onesumore: Netflix and the Battle for Kids: Part 1 – Netflix’s Kids Movie Performance
Emily Horgan returns for another collection of articles dealing with Netflix’s strategy in the kids sector this time taking a look at Netflix’s efforts over the past year and the performance of its biggest movies alongside films from Disney and other vendors.
2020 will remain a pivotal year in the history of “Streaming Wars”. Aside from the pandemic, big plans were already underway, with Disney + continuing its international rollout. Warner, Comcast, and ViacomCBS were also preparing OTT slingshots with HBO Max, Peacock, and Pluto TV. That being said, continuous theoretical “wars” are still in their infancy. In Peter Jackson’s Tolkien Adaptations Scheme, We’re Still Not Finished The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The parties involved have embarked on noble quests, even being cunning in the face of unforeseen circumstances. In the background, however, is an opposing force that has been building its strength for quite some time, Netflix.
Park the Indulgence of Middle-earth, a crucial development on the “battlefield” over the past year has been a step forward in the selection of publicly available numbers. This gave us more common artillery to engage with. “Datacdotes,” the audience performance statistics reported by Netflix periodically have been released since 2018. 2020 saw Netflix’s Daily Top 10 Trending Data and Nielsen’s weekly minute streaming releases for SVOD. No data is perfect, a full roundup of the reviews can be found from the site’s collaborator and friend, Entertainment Strategy Guy, here, here, here and at any time here. Data on children, being a subsection of this, is inherently rarer and more unstable, unfortunately. However, we’ll do our best to pull ideas, like a favorite ax from an opponent’s chest.
I appreciate that early March might seem a bit late for a 2020 retrospective, but the dog hasn’t eaten my homework. The results of some basic content for children and family released during the holidays needed time to crystallize. In addition, there have been relevant developments on the data available. The clearest division for kids is the difference between movie scores and series scores, hence the breakdown of each into their own analysis section.
Film performance based on Netflix’s “Datacdotes”
For movies, children’s content has a strong presence in every dataset. With that in mind, it makes sense to go straight to the horse’s mouth with the information Netflix has released in terms of children’s / family movies launching in 2020. This information is about the global viewership pool that has at least sampled the contained in the first. 4 weeks after launch. The ranking of adjacent content for kids / kids last year was as follows:
Full disclosure, Enola Holmes and The Kissing Booth 2 are not part of the kids section of Netflix. However, Common Sense Media ratings bring them closer to their family and, from an editorial standpoint, the talent and featured topics give them more than peripheral appeal. It should be noted that the two animated films, The Willoughbys and Above the moon, sat in the bottom half of all “datacdotes” announced by Netflix in 2020.
Movie performance based on trending data
Let’s move on to trend data, which is expertly tracked and aggregated by our partners at FlixPatrol. In order to compare oranges with tangerines, as opposed to apples, we can look at the Netflix releases alongside trending data captured in the first 4 weeks after the content launched.
Here we see another strong performance for the live action with Enola Holmes leading once again. The best score for the animation is the name of the household, The SpongeBob SquarePants movie. Creatively referred to as an “original” by Netflix, it has been the subject of a compromised distribution strategy in the face of COVID, and has yet to be made available in the United States and Canada.
We also see that all the movies on this list are cut when we look at the world total. Top 10 trending movies for 2020. This will tend to favor films released earlier in the year. Next to them, there are constantly box office children’s franchise films. Illumination Entertainment benefits from a strong functionality of the Despicable Me franchise as well as Dr Seuss Grinch. This trend becomes more pronounced when you look at the results by country, as the 3rd Party licenses for movies on Netflix have fragmented internationally.
Cinematic performance based on Nielsen
This brings us well to the 3rd dataset that we have in play, the American minutes of Nielsen watched streaming. The Weekly Top 10s for this were introduced by Nielsen in the second half of 2020. In January we got the full year round in 3 categories: original series, acquired series and movies. The value of major studios and franchise movies is clearly demonstrated with the new Disney classics happening a mile away from the countryside. The suites and derivatives are also very present. After taking advantage of 90% + real estate in the other 2 categories, Netflix’s footprint in movies is significantly reduced:
This sums up the “datafication” of home entertainment. Previously, the only measure of this was individual unit sales, whether it was a physical DVD or a digital one. The game-changing difference in today’s OTT reality is that you can now see how much a favorite DVD is playing. Parents will not be surprised that several sources can confirm this, it is a lot.
It should be noted that, from a weekly Nielsen Top 10 perspective, Enola Holmes, The Christmas Chronicles, Part 2, Hubie Halloween and We can be heroes all cut during their prime. The ongoing publication of these statistics began too late to capture the first period of The Willoughbys. Above the moon We didn’t have enough minutes to get there. Luckily for us viewers, Nielsen has started delivering Weekly Top 10s in all three of these categories since the start of 2021, which should give us more information going forward.
Comparing the data points, there’s no denying that Netflix has a very wide range of live action movies that cater to older kids, teens and beyond. Everything, “clean teen” movies (Feel the beat), safe enough to sit right in the kids’ section, to the Rom-Com movie series (The kissing booth, To all the boys I’ve loved before), moving dramas (Half). This melting pot has something for every age, stage and emotion.
On top of that, genre / season specific movies are also seen to exceed their instinctive weight. The Christmas Chronicles: Part 2 and The Princess Switch: switched again bring the magic of multi-pour to it, while Hubie Halloween and A monster guard guide for hunting monsters also deliver.
The spotlight is not on the excellent work of this team. Over the past year, we’ve had plenty of perfectly wrapped sound bites and lavish descriptions on Netflix’s animated slate. Performance metrics for animation actually play a second fiddle based on what we’ve looked at here. The successful service of traditional media formats to all adolescent audiences has eluded content providers established for at least a decade; Netflix has succeeded.
Ironically, one thing that could put a rocket under the list of Netflix animated films is already a central pillar of what they do for their live-action teen offering. It is about creating a series of films in several slices. With younger animation, this content could preferably be built to have a cultural impact at the franchise level, helping to balance the studio release deals they’ve been bleeding for years. The ambition is certainly there from what they said and how they invested in the creators, but they have yet to deliver an animated film that demonstrates super repeatability, spinoff potential, and fandom.