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GM Thought of the Week – “February Half Term: School’s Out…TV’s On”?

Last month, schools across the national celebrated a week’s break from their first term of the calendar year. This opportunity gave kids across the country the opportunity to spend time with friends, drive parents mad and of course consume a lot of great TV! But is that really the case? Does children’s viewing to Kid’s Commercial Channels fall or increase over the holiday period?


Looking at the data over the lead up to February Half Term (the majority of schools were on holiday w/c 12th Feb), kids viewing to the Kids Commercial Channels naturally increased 27% WoW, when compared to that of the build-up in late January and early February, demonstrating a clear trend of increased viewing over the break.


As we investigate those advertisers that invested in reaching children over this key week on air, we can see that the total number of Toys & Games campaigns was in fact lower in 2018 vs. 2017 with 89 campaigns in 2018 vs. 102 campaigns in 2017.


Despite a marginal decline in brand count, collectable items had a resounding prominence this year with 6 of the top 10 Toys and Games campaigns a collectable item!  The largest three campaigns vying for attention over the Half Term were Pokémon Trading Cards, followed by Spin Master’s Flush Force & Magic Box SuperZings (ranked by Eqv. Kids TVRs/BARB/DDS, 2018). These 3 campaigns combined represented an impressive 10% of all Kids Eq. TVRs over the week!


This dominance of collectable items is a no way a new trend as we have seen a continuation from 2017, where we saw 81 collectable campaigns commercially advertised. Leading this category last year was most certainly Pokémon Trading Cards recording an impressive 4,565 TVRs for Boys ages 4 to 9 across the year (BARB/DDS, 2018)


With the increased prominence of collectable lines investing in TV spot, we can make comparisons to the latest NPD which revealed that in 2017, collectable lines saw a 17% uplift in sales from within the category. As we know this is incomparable to total toy sales which were down for the year by 2.8%.


Despite the recent declines in viewing, TV still offers mass reach and is thus a key element of the media mix for collectable lines who are keen to drive a high frequency of messaging at a low cost.


In addition, the collectables category has flexibility stemmed from its non-seasonal nature. The average price point of brands within the category are comparatively low, promoting a year-round appeal as collectables aren’t the usual ‘main gifts’ to children for birthdays or Christmas. This offers an opportunity for the category to achieve greater reach and SOV when airtime is more cost effective.


Despite market pressures and viewing to kids commercial channels experiencing a 17% decline in 2017 YOY, collectability will no doubt grow in 2018. Not forgetting of course, that 2018 is a World Cup year and we can be sure to expect Panini to release their World Cup trading cards!


Source: BARB, 2018


Alex Smith, Director of Business Development