Families Pivot to TV Streaming: 4 Insights Marketers Need to Know

As more families turn to TV streaming instead of traditional linear TV, advertisers have tried to adjust their strategies so they can reach their audiences. Leading brands have already turned to TV streaming to reach specific groups of streamers and optimize campaigns for different goals.  

Meanwhile, children’s television networks have seen faster declines in viewing than the rest of traditional TV in 2020, with Nielsen data showing that broadcast saw a drop of 20% in reach and a 23% decline in reach of top 25 Cable 

While traditional linear TV viewing of family-friendly content has declined more than the overall industry average, streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more are partnering with major kid’s content creators to launch original content and drive family viewership through never-before-seen movies and TV shows. 

We recently surveyed Roku parents to learn more about how their consumption habits, streaming levels, and family time have changed as a result of 2020. Here’s what we found:   

1. Amid lockdowns, TV streaming boomed among American families 


According to a study conducted by McCrindle, increased family time has been a bonding experience of lockdowns. We predict this will signal a shift in how families spend their time in the future, especially when it comes to shared activities like move nights. 

Among Roku households specifically:  

  • More than 1 in 2 parents (53%) said their household streams more TV than before lockdown due to COVID-19.

  • Parents are also 10% more likely to watch more TV due to COVID-19 vs non-parents. (53% vs 48%) 

  • 42% of parents stated they watch more kids & family entertainment on TV with their children than before the pandemic.  

Key Takeaway: With so many more families turning to streaming channels, advertisers who don’t have TV streaming ad campaigns in the mix are missing out a key part of a growing audience.  

2. Roku families spend the most time co-viewing on the big screen  


When looking at where Roku families are spending the most time co-viewing, 95% of Roku parents said they spent the most time watching content with their children on Smart TVs and streaming devices compared to desktop/laptop computer, tablet, mobile device/smartphone, and other mediums.   

Parents are active co-viewers in these households - nearly 9 in 10 (89%) parents are engaged when watching TV shows, movies, or videos with their child/children.  

Key Takeaway: More co-viewing means that TV streaming across children’s programming reaches parents, too, giving opportunities for marketers to create experiences focused on family buyers.  

3. Roku parents are actively engaged with their child’s/children’s programming across all ages  

More than 1 in 2 (52%) Roku parents say it is important to be present while their child/children are watching TV.   

Top reasons include: 

  • I want to ensure my child/children will watch age-appropriate content. 
  • I want to know what content my child/children see.
  • I want to ensure my child/children will not watch harmful content. 
  • I prefer to spend time with my child/children. 

Key Takeaway: As advertisers plan their media budgets for the year ahead, TV streaming presents the best opportunity and format to reach the entire family on the largest screen in the home.  

4. Viewing favors ad-supported channels.  

As the list of streaming services grows, families need variety, value, and the assurance of child-appropriate content when choosing entertainment options.  

When we asked Roku parents what is important to them, advertising video on demand (AVOD) was named as a critical part of the kid’s entertainment ecosystem: 

  • 7 in 10 Roku parents watch kids & family TV shows, movies, or videos on AVOD channels once a week or more (once a week + several times a week + only on weekends + daily) 

  • Parents 18-34 are 15% more likely than the average to watch kids & family content on AVOD channels daily 

Key Takeaway: For marketers, the opportunity to reach these households should start on free, ad-supported streaming. Since parents are watching ad-supported channels already, your TV streaming ad campaign should start there, too.