Canadian kids spend less time watching linear TV as they age

The latest MTM Jr. report found traditional TV is more popular with young children, while teens say they spend more time with SVODs.

The traditional TV set remains the main device for watching content from TV channels. And although a segment of kids will watch some content from TV station websites, they are more likely to watch it online in addition to the TV, rather than watching online exclusively.

That’s according to the latest MTM Jr. report, which focuses on diving into the media habits of Canadians between the ages of 2 and 17.

Teens spend more time watching SVODs than either linear TV or YouTube. They spend roughly 9.1 hours viewing SVOD in a given week, compared to roughly 7.8 hours for both TV and YouTube. For kids aged 7 to 11, they spend 6.5 hours watching linear TV weekly, 6.8 hours with YouTube, and 5.8 hours each week watching SVOD.

It’s no surprise that animated content is by far the most popular genre for kids, especially younger children. The interest in animated content decreases with teens, although more than a third of teens say they like to watch cartoons. Teens are more likely to prefer genres that will appeal to a maturing audience, like drama, action/adventure, mysteries, and reality TV. Around a third of kids aged 2 to 17 watch Disney Channel, either via a traditional TV or online, followed by Treehouse, Disney Jr., YTV, Nickelodeon, CTV, and Teletoon.

More than a third of teens who watch TV say they are always doing something else while watching, while seven in 10 teens say they do things online while watching TV. That includes the 32% who say they always check things online while the TV is on. Communicating with friends is the most common multitasking activity and done via text, email, or instant messages. Social networking is another popular multitasking activity for teens. The report found that 44% of teen multitaskers say that they are doing their homework while watching TV.

Households with TV subscriptions have declined to 63% since the spring of 2019. There has been a shift from subscriptions to TV My Way – content watched via streaming services and have no traditional linear TV subscriptions – as nearly three in 10 households with kids prefer getting content mainly online, including using SVOD services. Households with teens are the most likely to subscribe to traditional TV services such as cable, satellite, and IPTV.