SINGAPORE: Television continues to be the lead medium for children across Southeast Asia with a majority regularly viewing programs alongside their parents, according to new research.

The 11th edition of The New Generations survey, from Turner International Asia Pacific which owns a number of children's TV brands including Cartoon Network and Boomerang, found that the 4-14 age group was immersed in both television and digital content.

Fully 92% had watched television in the month preceding the survey, while 89% had consumed content on a digital platform, Digital Market Asia reported.

"Asia's youngest consumers are avid users of television and digital media," said David Webb, Director of Research and Planning at Turner International Asia Pacific. "With considerable spending power as well as significant purchasing influence over parents, they can't afford to be ignored," he added.

While this was hardly news to advertisers in categories such as toys and sweets, the study also highlighted the growing influence of children in other categories, including holiday destinations, household products, smartphones and gadgets, personal care products and cars.

Overall, seven out of ten children watched movies, cartoons and comedy programs together with their parents most weeks. And that co-viewing with the household purchasing decision maker, argued Webb, "means TV is still the most effective advertising medium for reaching this important audience".

The other side of that equation is that more brands are exploring the use of children's programming to reach an adult audience. Webb reported that banks in Asia Pacific had started to shift advertising dollars to Cartoon Network.

If TV remains the lead medium for children, their use of digital is growing fast. Among the Southeast Asian households surveyed, 94% owned a smartphone and 76% of children had access to or owned their own device.

Webb observed that the increased penetration of tablets and smartphones was altering how children accessed games and entertainment.

"We've seen a significant shift in the amount of time spent watching online videos because of this," he said. "But playing games and the use of apps is still how kids choose to spend the majority of their online leisure time and there's no indication that this trend will change."

Data sourced from Digital Market Asia, Ad News; additional content by Warc staff