Thanks to Doug Coupland, the generation of kids born between the baby boomers and the Millenials were tagged Gen X. This group of individuals had a special relationship with the television. It was their companion at the dinner table and their after-school play-date. It was also trendy for babysitting kids, especially in families where both parents had to work late shifts. According to Newton Minow, President Kennedy’s FCC chairman, Gen X was exposed to daily game shows, formula comedies of totally unbelievable characters, mayhem, violence, murder, gangsters, more violence, cartoons, and endless commercials. However, Gen X also reflected a forgotten positive note in minow’s speech; “When TV is good, nothing is better- not the theater, not the newspapers, or the magazines-nothing.
Many of the innovations and ideas Gen X represented in kids’ entertainment were later incorporated into dance, song, and multicultural casts to deliver lessons that are timeless to children. Gen X was, therefore, a vital generation in giving PBS destination programming an identity that clearly distinguished it from the traditional broadcast TV networks.
In a global fight to dominate the future of kids’ entertainment, this historical footnote is worth paying attention even in 2019. It is generally cheaper to produce content that appeals to children below the age of 12. The content is, however, a much more engaging source of entertainment than any other programming. Designing programs that are preferred by children has fast become a priority in most production firms to reduce churn. An estimate reports that kids streamed an astounding 11 hours a week on average in 2018 from six hours in 2016. Another report suggests that approximately 60 percent of Netflix subscribers are viewers who prefer kids’ programming.
It is no wonder that emerging and existing streaming competitors are engaged in producing kids’ content to compete. Disney, for instance, is debuting its Disney + service on November 12, taking advantage of its vast collection of classics and updating them for their contemporary audiences. CBS All-Access also announced in August that it would be unveiling an additional 1,000 episodes of both new and old kid shows to its collection.
The evolution of family entertainment has been immense since Gen X. However, the winning formula forged in the half-century has been essential in influencing every consumer and producer of kids’ videos, movies, and TV shows today. Moreover, the evolution of technology has revolutionized the entertainment for kids in a monumental way.