PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, Jan. 7, 2009 – As kids continue to absorb an ever-increasing amount of entertainment content each year, a noticeable trend has arisen: a growing number of kids who engage in digital behavior acquire this content digitally, versus the traditional physical means, according to Kids & Digital Content III, the most recent report from leading market research company, The NPD Group.

Besides video games and movies, which still rely on a vast majority of content acquisition by a paid physical product, music is often acquired via digital means, as are ringtones/tunes, and video content such as TV shows, music videos and online video clips. For example, the percentage of kids ages 2-to-14 obtaining music in a digital format vs. a physical one experienced a 10 percent increase over 2007.

The new report looks at the use of entertainment content on consumer electronic devices among kids age 2 to 14, with a focus on content acquisition on four key devices, as well as seven different types of content. The devices covered include computers, portable digital music and/or video players (PDMP), cell phones and video game systems, while the content focuses on video games, music, movies, TV shows, music videos, online video clips, and ringtones/tunes.

Three of the four key devices have traditionally been associated with one main type of content: games on VG systems, music on PDMPs, and ringtones on cell phones. However, more recent behavior suggests that consumer electronics’ convergence is on the rise, changing the way many kids view, and use, these devices. For example, in 2008, more cell phone users between the ages of 2 and 14 were listening to music and sending/receiving images on their handset than in previous years, while more PDMP users in the same age group were watching music videos on their portable player. For video games 12 percent of time kids spent using the device was spent watching movies.

Usage & Activities
Usage is up for video games consoles, PDMPs, and laptops since last year, driven primarily by an increase in usage by kids ages 9 to 14. Usage of these devices among younger kids has remained virtually unchanged since last year, while kids’ overall usage of cell phones has been stagnant over the past two years.

Gaming is the most popular activity with an 85 percent usage penetration among device users, followed by music which has been adopted by 60 percent of device users. About one-third are watching videos (movies, online video clips and/or music videos), and 22 percent download ringtones/tunes.

Girls have shown significant increases in gaming, listening to music, and watching movies and TV shows (via nontraditional methods) since last year, while the only increase among boys was for watching TV shows. Though it’s true that the use of video game systems is driven by boys, the increased use of video game systems is driven primarily by growth among girls, who have gone from 50 percent usage in 2006 to 57 percent in 2008.

“Although the most dramatic increase in usage of these devices happens at about age 9, playing games appears to be an activity that first engages young kids with the digital world,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Our study finds that 82 percent of kids ages 2-to-5 play games on one or more of the devices surveyed.”

In terms of growth within specific age groups, a greater percent of kids ages 9-to-14 are listening to music, watching movies and TV shows, and watching music videos this year than in previous years. The only other increase for an age group was gaming for kids ages 6-to-8.

An online survey was fielded to female members of NPD’s online panel who have a child age 2 to 14 in the household. Respondents with more than one child in this age range were asked to answer the survey as it related to a randomly selected child. The study is based on 3,605 completed surveys. Moms were asked to have their child join them while taking this survey. Final survey data is weighted to be representative of kids age 2 to 14. Fieldwork was conducted from October 8 to October 24, 2008.