News products for kids on the rise as publishers look to develop lifelong relationships

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As disruption to education continues, a number of publishers are launching and developing new news products for kids. This offers opportunities to build long-term relationships with families, as well as provide materials to inform, educate, and entertain children.

The takeaways:
  • TIME has launched TIME for Kids; a digital subscription to deliver ‘age-appropriate news, events and context to school-age kids’. The $29.99 subscription includes access to digital editions of TIME for Kids and a special newsletter, as well as resources and activities. 
  • Over the summer, Group Nine Media’s NowThis launched a new kids news brand, NowThis Kids, with Cheerios as a lead sponsor. The brand, fronted by 13-year-old activist Naomi Wadler, is made up of a weekly video series on a dedicated YouTube channel, as well as a podcast and newsletter.
  • Dennis Publishing’s kids title The Week Junior saw its circulation climb 23% in the first half of 2020. It also debuted its first US edition in March, which ended up becoming Dennis’ fastest-growing new product ever.
Keep your head up

Amid a difficult year, positivity has been a key theme of these launches. 

  • NowThisKids will “seek to highlight young people’s positive actions and promote optimism that leads to real change,” according to GroupNine CRO Geoff Schiller.
  • The Week Junior has been focusing on acts of kindness and generosity, celebrating heroes and talking about community as a way to put the pandemic in perspective for its young audience

Podcasts have been a particularly popular growth area this year, according to Nieman Lab. These fall into two categories:

  • Some products, like the Time for Kids Explains and Scholastic Kid Reporters’ Notebook, are designed exclusively for children. They feature school-age reporters and follow the structure of traditional news outlets.
  • Others are spin-offs of larger media brands, like Vox’s Today, Explained To Kids, and Marketplace’s Million Bazillion, a podcast about money for kids.
Worth noting

It is usually parents driving the discovery of podcasts and news products for kids, so products have to be designed with parents in mind. 

  • Vox surveyed parents to find out what they were looking for content-wise for their kids. “As we see our audience starting to age into the demographic where they have children in this age group, they are very much looking for sources that are reliable and sources that will answer questions in the same way that they would answer them, ” said Vox’s editorial director of podcasts, Liz Nelson.
  • The Week CEO Kerin O’Connor emphasised that both in the UK and US, brand trust is vital to a successful kids media product. “If you are a news publication, it’s going to go into a child’s house,” he said. “A parent has to trust the media sufficiently because that is a very big commitment from them. That piece of trust allows us to communicate what’s happening in the world to the child.”

Lifelong consumers: For publishers who can harness relationships with kids early on, even through parents, there is an opportunity to build loyalty for a lifetime

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