We have all seen it: children glued to a tablet, television, or their parent’s phone. Today, there are more children’s media options than ever before, and like adults, kids struggle to find the right content.
Join us for Screen Time for 1.9B Kids: What's the Future? It's our previously planned SXSW panel reimagined into a webinar, and our idea of bringing a little bit of South-by-Southwest festivity into your home office - think SXSW inspo without the Tito’s hangover.
Our CEO, Monica Landers, is presenting with Halle Stanford (President of Television, The Jim Henson Company) and David Kleeman (SVP Global Trends, Dubit). They will weigh in on tough questions. like: how do kids search for new favorites in a crowded market? And when TV and movies look so alike, are we serving diverse kids’ needs?
In preparation, we looked at a sample set of 70 feature films and 61 television scripts between the years 2008 and 2019 to discover more about trends and stereotypes within kids’ content.
Below are some data spoilers, if you are left wanting more, register for the webinar!
And for our big takeaway -- the data suggests some of the gender stereotypes portrayed in adult programming are trickling down into children’s content!
Interestingly, in children’s films, father/son and mother/son relationships are the most prevalent, like Lion King and Kung Fu Panda. Whereas, in children’s television, the emphasis is on friendship relationships and sister/sister, think Paw Patrol and PJ Masks.
Children’s programming has a similar number of major characters. In both kids and adult programming, there are 2-3 major characters and 4-5 secondary characters. But according to our study, kid’s content had more overall characters with 48 in kids and 42 in adult programming. For example, Monsters University has 123 total characters, with only 2 major characters.
Gender across the last decade
In adult television and film programming, females represent only 34% of the cast, while males represent the other 66%.
In kids TV programming females were more prevalent: 60% representation for females and 40% for males. Children’s movies, however, follow the adult trends of male dominance with 66% male representation, and only 34% female.
Gender Representation in 2019 - Children’s Programming
Interestingly, in 2019 there was almost equal representation in Children’s programming:
Gender Comparison - Dialogue Complexity
When broken down by the production company, Disney’s female characters are about half a grade level behind their male counterparts in the complexity of their dialogue. For Dreamworks’ characters, a higher disparity between genders exists.
In children’s content, male characters are stereotypically more adventurous, intelligent, authority-challenging, and imaginative, while female characters are more sympathetic, dutiful, altruistic, cheerful, and emotional. These traits are consistent with trends in adult content.
StoryFit’s state of the art research platform can rapidly measure, compare and contrast 100,000+ movie and TV script features. AI provides fascinating insights that can help us understand trends in attitude, characterization, and representation in children’s programming, and how these traits can make content more discoverable.
Interested in learning more? Take a tour of the StoryFit Story Research Platform and register HERE for our free webinar on April 15th at 1 PM PT.