updated 02:25 pm EDT, Tue October 4, 2011
Half of children purchase digital media by age 7
More children are spending money on digital media, according to a study titled "Kids and Entertainment Content, 2011 Edition" from NPD Group. The study found that children ages 2-14 spend 21 cents of every entertainment dollar on digital format content, with indications of a shift to a preference for digital formats underway. In 2009, only 15 percent of content purchased by children was in digital form.
Children's entertainment in digital format includes songs, movies, video games, television shows, books and apps. Music still forms the majority of children's collections in both physical and digital format. However the researchers noted that digital format sales for video games have grown 17 percent in the last two years, and digital movie sales have grown 13 percent.
The study also showed kids start downloading at a very young age, both with and without help from older friends and family members. About half of all children paid for their first digital content by the age of seven. Usually, that purchase was a song. One third of respondents say their first digital purchase was music, followed by computer games and mobile games.
The pay-per-download method is the most common for most forms of entertainment. The exceptions are TV shows and movies, which the study found using a subscription model for a majority of purchases by children. The researchers noted that this trend tracks with the increased usage of online video rental services by children since 2009.