Onesumore: Netflix and the Battle for Kids: Part 2 – Netflix’s Kids TV Series Performance
This is the second in a series of articles examining how Netflix has performed with the children’s audience in 2020 based on publicly available metrics. As mentioned in the previous section, a significant evolution of the battlefield for 2020 has been the addition of two new metrics, Nielsen Top 10 and Netflix Trending. Let’s take a look at the performances of the Netflix children’s television series.
The importance of children’s series has been undeniable in the “streaming wars” since Netflix entered into a massive television deal with DreamWorks Animation in 2013. Given this long-standing association, the next logical question is whether what Netflix ever told us about performance? The answer is a little fierce. Netflix has never released a single viewing statistic on children’s series. This includes all 25 DreamWorks titles such as Spirit Riding Free, The Boss Baby: Back to business, and the 2020s Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous.
Now, to be fair, Netflix has only started releasing stats on a regular basis in the last 2 years. The first children’s film to see data was Klaus starting Christmas 2019. Assuming the performance of DreamWorks content on Netflix stays between DreamWorks and Netflix, what other releases could we have expected? The lack of famous fanfare regarding the upcoming first children’s series of high profile showrunners is visible by omission. Julie and the ghosts, which launched in September, was led by High school music director Kenny Ortega. Animation veteran Glen Keane has seen her film’s success heralded Above the moon (launched in October), but Garbage truck, the preschool series of his production company (launched in November) did not have the same ceremony.
That’s not necessarily to say that the lack of Netflix “datacdotes” for these series is a definitive statement on their success or not. As mentioned earlier, children are a subset of the large audience that Netflix tries to capture. Children’s series are again a subset and don’t have the same family-friendly quality as a movie. These factors would undoubtedly reduce the numbers obtained, which would somewhat neutralize the right to brag.
And so, we have to “fish where the fish are” in terms of the data available for the series. A well-populated pond to start with is with our friends at FlixPatrol, who follow and aggregate Netflix’s global trending data. Looking here, however, we’re slim again, with just five children’s series making the top 100 for 2020 according to the chart below:
It is worth pointing out that Cocomelon and Jurassic World: Cretaceous Camp managed to rank two and three in the overall 2020 numbers, although they were new to the platform in June and September respectively.
What about Nielsen Data?
Our last publicly available metric is Nielsen’s US minutes streamed. In January, they released a roundup of statistics for 2020 as a whole through original series, acquired series and movies. The Boss Baby: back to business by DreamWorks was the only children’s series to feature. He came 8e among the originals with 12.6 billion minutes broadcast. This series has had a bountiful year in terms of new content, following an empty 2019. Series three and four were launched in March and November respectively (following a similar pattern to series 1 and 2 launched in April and October 2018). In addition to this, an interactive special The Boss Baby: Get that baby! came to the platform in September.
The Boss Baby: back to business also snuck into Nielsen’s weekly top 10 during its November launch period, entering at number 9. 90s classic Sister, sister dropped all six series on the platform in September and immediately reached the top 10. YouTube was born Cocomelon also peaked for a week in August.
The children’s series that hit Nielsen’s Weekly Top 10 the most was The legend of Korra. This follow-up series for Avatar: The Last Airbender ran on Nickelodeon between 2012 and 2014. All series premiered on Netflix US in August. Followed by fans and kids alike, it enjoyed a constant presence throughout its month of launch.
The good news in all of this data crunch is the advent of three categories now provided weekly by Nielsen since early 2021. This will allow us to take a closer look at what is going on for children in general. New Serie, Gabby’s dollhouse, and a new installment of episodes for Jurassic Park Camp Cretaceous saw them both cut in January. Even if Cocomelon Only once in the Top 10 in 2020, results for 2021 suggest he might have sat right below, appearing in 2 weeks so far. A mountain of minutes watched would marry with the proven repeatability modeled by this IP on YouTube.
We also saw another example of classic sitcom relicenses with Henry danger, demonstrating the double power of children with comfort television. But can Netflix’s short-lived TV series fill the void left by legacy release deals? Sister, sister has 70 episodes, Henry danger a 64. Arguably Netflix’s most successful children’s sitcom, Alexa and Katie concluded with a total of 39 episodes. Kayla Team has not yet seen the news of the renewal, ditto for Julie and the ghosts. If the multi-season value cannot be determined by high-end creators like Kenny Ortega, Netflix will have a problem.