Reality TV shows most popular with kids but childrens’ television dominates time, ACMA finds

Masterchef Australia, The Voice, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, The Block, and My Kitchen Rules were the television shows most watched by children aged 0-14 years in 2016, a study commissioned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found.

The study, which took place in March this year and surveyed 3500 homes across metropolitan Australia, revealed a steady increase in the time spent by children watching reality television shows.

Masterchef was the most watched program in 2016 for the 0-14 age demographic.

Masterchef Australia was the most watched program, according to data collected by OzTAM, with a consolidated audience of 219,000-121,000.

The Voice placed second with an estimated audience of 219,000-139,000 and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! reached a consolidated audience of 206,000-120,000.

Kids’ top TV shows for 2016: Source ACMA

According to OzTAM’s data, more than half of the top 30 TV programs in 2016 watched by children were ‘children’s programs’, compared to five in 2013.

Reality television was the only other genre which saw an increase, up from 4 out of 30 in 2013, to 6 out of 30 in 2016.

Reality TV and Children’s program show increases as feature films, infotainment and light entertainment decline | Source: ACMA

The feature films category fell from 17 to 6 between 2013 and 2016.

However, the most watched network across the 0-14 age demographic was ABC Network, which had a 2.5% target audience rating point (TARP) share, and an average audience of almost 80,0000.

In second place was Nine, with a 1.6% share, then Seven’s 1.2% share followed by Ten’s 0.8% share and SBS’ 0.2%.

ABC has the biggest TARP share across 0-4 years, 5-12 years, and overall |Source: ACMA

Other results found more than half of Australian parents, guardians or carers are involved in monitoring or limiting what children watch.

The study reported 70% of Australian parents restricted viewing of a child’s consumption, to specific programs or specific channels.

Amount of parental involvement in children’s viewing, was divided in categories, including parents who chose between specific programs or shows, parents who selected children’s specific programs or shows, parents controlling all shows watched and parents restricting children to a specific channel.

Parents are quite involved in what goes before children’s eyes | Source: ACMA

Other results indicated the majority of parents (83%) have rules or restrictions in place to monitor what their child watches, with 76% of parents who have rule and restrictions, ‘always’ or ‘often’ undertaking regular checks when their child is viewing.

However, just 17% ‘always’ use a parental locking system to restrict access.

Looking more closely at control and supervision, 89% of parents did not want their children to view disturbing or unsuitable content and 76% trust child-specific programs and channels.

Overall, children are watching more than 10 hours of screen content a week, with 6.7 hours per week dedicated to watching children’s television programs, movies, video and DVDs.

Australian children also spend approximately 92 minutes watching scheduled TV broadcasts per day, down from 122 minutes in 2005.

Richard Bean, ACMA’s acting chairman, said of the results: “The ACMA research findings confirm what many of us may have suspected, that is, children are watching screen content on television as well as on-demand on a range of devices and platforms.”


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