Young kids love YouTube more than Disney and Oreo, study finds

A new study has determined something most astute parents already know: YouTube is the most-loved brand among young kids.

The digital video service, owned by Alphabet Inc., scored highest among children 6 to 12 for the first time in market research firm Smarty Pants’ eighth annual “Brand Love” study. YouTube beat out more traditional kid-friendly brands such as Oreo, Disney and Toys R Us, and it bested its online video counterpart Netflix, which ranked 11th.

“Based on kids’ attention spans now, [YouTube has] the type of content they really crave,” said Blair Fischer, who analyzed data for the Smarty Pants study. “They can operate in isolation and enjoy two- to three-minute, snack-sized videos, versus watching long-form movies on Netflix.”

For its report, Smarty Pants surveyed a representative sample of U.S. households over a three-month period, asking 8,125 children and their parents to evaluate 285 consumer brands spanning about 20 categories. The firm ranks brands using a custom score that measures brand awareness, affection and popularity.

YouTube, which ranked seventh in 2015, grew in popularity among children ages 9 to 12, particularly boys, according to Smarty Pants. The video site also picked up approbation from parents, making it more of an accepted staple on kids’ mobile devices.

“YouTube is becoming a brand that parents are getting more comfortable with,” Fischer said. “And kids are getting mobile devices at earlier ages.”

Oreo ranked second, and other junk food brands rounded out the top five. Disney came in sixth. 

Disney Channel, meanwhile, ranked ninth. Fischer said the linear TV network has done a great job appealing to children with new programming. And, thanks to “Stars Wars” licensing deals, Toys R Us is also winning back favor with young kids. The toy company placed seventh this year, up from 21st last year.

jennifer.vangrove@sduniontribune.com

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UPDATES:

5:25 p.m.: This article was updated to add the rankings of additional brands.  

This article was originally published at 2:45 p.m.

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