Podcasts — a welcome respite from computer screens for adults — are growing in popularity with a younger demographic.
On Monday, U.K. digital radio station Fun Kids launched a preteen-focused podcast network. It includes programming adapted from popular Fun Kids’ radio shows, as well as partner series with other companies, including the kids’ audio company Storynory and “The Week Junior Show,” a news show from the children’s magazine The Week Junior.
“Kids audio and podcasting is finally going mainstream and provides a great alternative to staring transfixed at a screen,” Storynory Managing Directory Hugh Fraser said in the statement.
Fun Kids produced a handful of podcasts prior to the network’s launch. The 14-year-old company says that its existing podcasts are already generating over 500,000 downloads every month.
The pact is the latest example of a radio company branching into podcasting. Last week, U.S. broadcaster Entercom acquired two leading podcast producers.
- Competitors to Fun Kids include the subscription kids’ podcast service Pinna; Spotify’s Gimlet Media, which produces the popular “Story Pirates” podcast; and radio giant iHeartRadio, which announced its first kid-hosted podcast last week.
- A study from the children’s audio advocacy group Kids Listen suggests that children may be “even better listeners than adults.” Eighty percent of parents said their child listens to a podcast more than once, and of that group, 20% listen 10 times or more.
- Concerns over the effects of children’s screen time is growing. A survey from Slate found that 71.5% of respondents believe screen time can be harmful to kids and teens’ mental health.
- The podcast medium does not carry the same brand safety risks of other digital media. Podcast producers can control what products and services sponsor their shows, and advertisers can ensure that show content aligns with their brand guidelines.
- Karma Take: Audio provides a safer alternative to screens for kids, and as brand safety increasingly becomes a concern for kid-friendly advertisers, they may turn to children’s audio content to maintain control.