Who offers the best kids TV content?

Last updated: 9 January 2022   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Traditional pay TV companies are vying with streaming services in the battle to get families signed up.

Amazon Prime Video is our top choice for kids' content in the UK thanks to their extensive catalogue and range of options.

We also like Disney+ thanks to their huge back-catalogue and options for all ages.

Sky TV and Virgin TV are pay TV providers who offer upgrades to those looking for kids' content while Netflix also has an extensive range of viewing for kids and families.


At a glance

Amazon Prime Video Disney+ Sky TV Netflix Virgin Media
Catalogue size Very Good Very Good Very Good Very Good Good
Original content Yes Yes No Yes No
Simultaneous streaming 3 devices 4 devices 2-4 devices 1-4 devices 2 devices
Downloads Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price per month £7.99 £7.99 £5 (+ Sky TV costs) From £5.99 £5 (+ Virgin TV and broadband costs)

1. Amazon Prime Video

Best for: All-rounds kids entertainment.

Amazon Prime Video might not be the first name that springs to mind when we think about kids' content but their film and TV library is hard to beat.

Families can access popular movies and TV shows including some big-name titles like Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol alongside plenty of lesser-known content for extra variety.

It's this extensive library of content that sets Amazon Prime Video apart from their rivals. They have content from various studios and providers, bringing live action and animated films and shows to kids of all ages.

There are special age categories to help families find age-appropriate viewing for their kids plus a growing range of Amazon Originals that includes viewing options for all ages.

One thing that's missing is content from Disney and their associated brands but, unless customers go direct to Disney+ (see below), they won't be able to watch those films and shows.

There's a separate category for Kids content in Prime Video and families can create a Kids profile to only allow them access to content suitable for children 12 and under. Purchasing is disabled by default on Kids profiles, so they can't buy content that isn't part of the free plan.

One thing to note, however, is that all downloads associated with an account will be visible on a Kids profile, including anything with more mature content.

This is a niggle, yes, but it doesn't detract from the huge library available for £7.99 per month.


2. Disney+

Best for: Disney and Pixar fans.

Since Disney closed their UK TV channels in 2020, the only place to find Disney content has been on Disney+.

The service cost £5.99 when it was launched in March 2020 but now costs £7.99 per month.

As the name suggests, Disney+ is home to the extensive back-catalogue of Disney films and TV shows that would have previously aired on the Disney Channel or Disney Junior.

There are categories for series and specials connected to those channels to help families find the right content for them as well as broader categories to help viewers find fresh things to watch. There is also non-fiction and factual content too that families can enjoy together or kids with an interest in nature can watch on their own.

Families can create individual profiles for each family member and ensure kids are only accessing their Kid's profile. Up to seven profiles can be created per account and content ratings can be set at a profile level to stop kids accessing things that are too mature for them.

One of the problems with Disney+ is that there's so much on there that families might need to employ the search function to find the things they're specifically looking for, especially older films from the Disney archive.

It's also true that Disney+ is focused mainly on Disney and Pixar's own back-catalogues and fresh content, so, while there's a great selection, it's still limited by those constraints.

Even so, Disney+ is the third most popular streaming service in the UK for a reason: it's extremely family friendly and great for kids.


3. Sky TV

Best for: Customers who want traditional pay TV with kids' content.

Sky TV is the biggest provider of pay TV services in the UK and their comprehensive package options include Sky Kids.

This package costs £5 extra per month on top of the costs of Sky TV itself and can be cancelled with a month's notice, so customers don't have to subscribe for the length of their TV deal.

Package TV Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Sky TV + Netflix + Kids 409 £29 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee

Sky Kids includes access to the following channels:

  • Nickelodeon
  • Nick Toons
  • Nick Jr.
  • Nick Jr. Too
  • Cartoon Network
  • Cartoonito
  • Boomerang
  • Baby TV

It also includes access to 10,000 episodes of content on-demand via the Sky Kids app. The app also includes 90 educational and fun games, making it a one-stop-shop for kids' entertainment.

Another benefit of Sky TV as seen in the table above is that it comes with Netflix, so families can benefit from the TV content we discuss in the next section.

Plus, customers who take Sky Cinema from Sky will also have access to a couple of family friend movie channels: Sky Cinema Animation and Sky Cinema Family.

Overall, if customers are interested in a comprehensive pay TV service, Sky TV is usually the one to turn to and the £5 per month fee for kids' content is excellent value.


4. Netflix

Best for: Varied kids' viewing.

Netflix is the most popular streaming service in the UK, with customers able to get a Basic subscription to view on one screen in standard definition (SD) for £5.99 per month.

In practice, most families are going to opt for the Standard subscription (2 screens in HD) for £9.99 per month or the Premium subscription (4 screens in UHD) for £13.99 per month.

As with Amazon Prime Video, the beauty of Netflix for kids lies in its variety. There are plenty of popular films available with live action sitting alongside animation with some of the most popular characters in kids' TV.

It's straightforward to search by those characters plus there are various categories covering animals, girl-centric shows and shows about friends to name but a few. There are also shows that are exclusive to Netflix.

Like other streaming services, Netflix offers a specific Kids profile which has a customised maturity rating to help parents choose the right level of restrictions for their children.

However, one issue with Netflix is that, while it has plenty of content, there's plenty of poor-quality stuff hidden among the gems. This isn't to say the kids won't enjoy the content there is available on Netflix, but it's just a reminder than quantity doesn't always signify a great viewing experience.


5. Virgin Media TV

Best for: Kids' TV combined with pay TV and ultrafast broadband.

Virgin Media is a big name in pay TV but it's their ultrafast broadband packages with speeds up to 1Gb that set them apart from their rivals.

For families looking for top broadband speeds along with pay TV services, Virgin Media are often going to be the go-to provider and they allow families to add kids' content to their plans.

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Mega Volt bundle 230 1.13Gb average £84.99 Free 18 months
offer Offer: £250 bill credit or a LG 43 inch TV + No setup fee (was £35) + O2 mobile SIM with Unlimited data, minutes and texts (Ends 27/05/2024)

The channels are included as standard with the most comprehensive bundle on offer from Virgin Media, the Ultimate Volt bundle or customers can pay the following:

  • £5 for the Kids Pick featuring 12 channels
  • £3.50 for Baby TV featuring guessing games and activities

While Virgin's Kids Pick might look as though they have a lot more channels than Sky, they have several +1 channels so there isn't much more content available.

Virgin's Kids on Demand service allows families to watch a back-catalogue of content from Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and others, ensuring there's always going to be something to watch. However, they don't give the exact number of box sets available, so it's difficult to compare them to Sky's 10,000 episodes promise.

Ultimately, Virgin Media may not have the widest range of kids' content available but, for those who want the fastest broadband speeds around, the trade-off may be worth it and other streaming subscriptions can be added to the Virgin TV 360 box too.


Best of the rest

There are other providers offering kids' content on their platforms.

These offer alternatives for families, although the amount of content on offer might not match the services we've already discussed.

Let's take a closer look at a couple.

Now TV

Now TV combined their kids' TV content into their flagship Entertainment Membership, so customers signing up for that service at £9.99 per month will get access to the kids' channels and on-demand content available on Now TV.

This includes over 1,000 episodes of on-demand content and the following channels:

  • Cartoon Network
  • Boomerang
  • Nickelodeon
  • Nicktoons
  • Nick Jr.
  • Cartoonito

All this content is good for families, but it doesn't compare to the 10,000 episodes available on Now's parent company Sky TV, so that's worth noting.

On the other hand, Now TV doesn't require a long-term commitment and that might be preferable for families who don't want a pay TV plan for the longer term.

Package TV Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Entertainment Membership 24 £6.99 Free 6 months
offer Offer: NOW Entertainment £6.99/mth for 6 months

BT TV

BT TV offers a system based on Now TV memberships, so the channels offered in the plan mentioned above are relevant for BT TV too.

Three of the packages offered by BT TV include those kids' channels:

  • Entertainment
  • Big Entertainment
  • VIP
Package TV Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Entertainment (BT broadband customers only) 96 £17 £39.99 24 months
Big Entertainment (BT broadband customers only) 107 £27 £39.99 24 months

Customers can upgrade and downgrade their BT TV package throughout the life of their 24-month contract, but it's worth reiterating that this is a long-term contract and might not be suitable for all households.

Plus, BT TV must be taken in conjunction with BT broadband and cannot be taken as a standalone service.

BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer is technically a free option for kids' TV - as long as a household has paid the annual licence fee.

As part of their broadcaster remit, BBC iPlayer has to maintain a collection of educational and fun kids' content, so there's often a decent amount of content for families to choose from, although it can't compare to the extensive libraries of other services we've discussed above.

It's always worth checking out the kids' content on BBC iPlayer, but it might not be one to keep the kids occupied for very long.


Verdict: Which TV service is best for kids?

It's hard to look beyond the big names in streaming when considering which TV service is best for kids' content.

Amazon Prime Video and Netflix both maintain and update huge libraries of content suitable for kids of all ages. Prime Video wins that battle by virtue of being a cheaper service, but there's still plenty for kids to enjoy on Netflix - and remember it's included as standard with Sky TV deals.

Disney+ has become a dominant force in streaming and the sheer scope of their back-catalogue and original offerings mean they are the go-to choice for many families. Another positive upgrade to the Disney+ experience for parents came with the addition of Star content in 2021 which gives the grown-ups plenty to watch as well.

Sky TV and Virgin TV offer pay TV services where kids' content can be added, although the ongoing costs of those services can be high for families on a budget, especially when adding Virgin broadband to the equation.

Nevertheless, there are various options for families to choose from when they're looking at family friendly TV and streaming services. None are perfect individually, but there's plenty to like.

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