Can digital content encourage children to read?

Stephanie Gauld

July 8th 2013 by Stephanie Gauld

There’s an urban myth which says that children laugh on average 300 times a day.

Egmont UK is in the business of making children laugh. Toxic magazine is filled with fun for 7-12 year old boys and more recently we’ve published the Angry Birds and Annoying Orange jokes books, not to mention our award-winning Jelly Pie imprint.

It’s this imprint, filled with spectacularly funny books, that was the starting point to create a cross-platform humour brand for 5-9 year olds.

One of the questions we asked ourselves was whether digital content could encourage children to read. We have the success stories of Skylanders and Moshi Monsters (numbers three and seven in the top branded children’s books respectively) which show us that if you create sufficiently engaging worlds and characters, you can extend this offering into books and magazines and engage children in reading. It’s the same model we’ve seen in successful movie and TV franchises.

Consumer insight was key to every idea we took forward, from surveys to user testing and spending time with our resident child expert, Alison David. Ultimately, we’ve launched with a website, a YouTube channel (complete with animated shorts) and a mobile game.

What we have hopefully developed is a captivating world, which taps into a child’s ability for wonder, excitement and surreal humour, complete with a range of bizarre and hilarious characters.

Hopefully through discovering this world, children will want to explore further and uncover the wealth of fantastical plotlines and surreal yet lovable characters which makes up the Jelly Pie books.

For us, it’s all about helping children to discover the delight of reading, whether children come to stories directly or indirectly through gaming-based content and digital worlds.