New Zealand’s children are increasingly consuming stories, songs and games on international media and platforms, missing out on local content and potentially impacting on their sense of identity and belonging.

The Children’s Media Use Study 2020, from Colmar Brunton for NZ On Air and the Broadcasting Standards Authority, compares the survey results this year with the last wave of this research conducted in 2014. The research was conducted with children under 14 years and their parents/caregivers.

Some of the key findings include:

  • YouTube (51%) and Netflix (47%) have the highest daily reach and children spend the longest time watching content here. Of local options, TVNZ 1 at 16% daily reach and TVNZ 2 at 15% have highest reach.
  • Cartoons are the most popular genre
  • A third of children use social media – TikTok which did not exist in 2014 is now the most popular social media platform at 22% daily reach
  • Spotify and YouTube are the most popular platforms to access audio content at 42% reach.
  • 9 out of 10 children play video games
  • Three-quarters of parents agree it’s important for their children to watch local content that reflects them and their world
  • More than 50% of children say they feel good when they watch stories about NZ and see children that look and speak like them
  • Most children (65%) don’t have a favourite NZ-made show
  • 49% of children aged 6-14 are aware of HEIHEI and 17% have used it
  • Children in low income households have significantly less access to a range of media devices.

NZ On Air’s Head Of Funding Amie Mills says the research gives the agency valuable insights to inform a planned review of its children’s content strategy later this year.

“We are passionate about our tamariki growing up with New Zealand stories and songs, accents and familiar places in the media they consume – it’s how our young people develop their sense of identity and culture,” Ms Mills continued.

“This research shows New Zealand parents and children clearly want and appreciate the value of local content, but they are not discovering it, and we need to work with content creators and platforms to change that.”

NZ On Air’s funded children’s platform, HEIHEI has recently moved to TVNZ On Demand, where it is expected to grow its audience. TVNZ operates HEIHEI, which was at the time of the research still on a stand alone site.

The research was undertaken in March 2020, with fieldwork concluded just prior to lockdown. For findings related to Broadcasting Standards please read the BSA media release here.*

The full report is available below.

Children's Media Use Infographics