The arrival of new players in the digital market and the growing importance of mobile in our daily lives have shaken up the traditional uses of the television. Television channels now strongly question the linear model in which they evolved and redouble inventiveness to strengthen their online presence. How do media companies adapt to rapidly changing consumption patterns? Here is the case of the Belgian group Medialaan, the parent company of one Belgium’s leading private television channels, VTM.

On October 2, 2017, Medialaan decided to make the content of its two children’s channels, VTMKZOOM and KADET, accessible online by creating the VTM KIDS app. This free online application includes not only the programs of the two children’s channels but also games, videos, contests and much more. To entertain, engage and retain its online community aged 6 to 12, VTM Kids relies on interactive content. In this context, we interviewed Michiel Gulickx, Online Content Creative at Medialaan for VTM Kids. His job? Provide social posts, make sure the app is up-to-date with the latest videos and programs, ensure that the content is accessible to everyone and easy to watch, and provide “extra” content such as online quizzes and contests.

 Why did Medialaan Kids team decide to create an application like VTM Kids?
We already have websites and mobile apps but we have to make sure the future is digital and focus on these new challenges. VTM Kids is a way for us to meet these new challenges and ensure the online presence of Medialaan’s two children’s channels.

What are your biggest challenges at VTM Kids?
The hard part is finding what appeals to our target audience. Children from 6 and 12 years old are early adopters, they consume online content in a different way than we do, they know how to watch Youtube videos well before their parents and their way of consuming online media changes every year, or even every month. This is an important indicator for us to predict how we, as adults, will consume online media in the future. This is one of our biggest challenges: trying to predict what children will find interesting, what they will like, trying to understand them and then choose the best way to reach them.

How do you get to know your target audience better?
We have a dedicated research department that evaluates the most popular contests, the types of interactive content that works best and those that do not work as well. Together we try and predict what children ages 6 to 12 might like and we try to adapt really quickly to what they like and watch.

How does Qualifio help you in your daily work?
We try to entertain young people on our two channels by providing them with “extra” online contents. We want them to know that the videos and the programs they access through the app are not the only ones that are available to them, that they can participate in a lot of quizzes and other games to win movie or concert tickets for example. With Qualifio, we are trying to engage our users by providing them with a variety of content so they can come back to our channels.

Tell us about the “VTM Kids Quiz” that you have created with the Qualifio platform and which has been a great success with more than 12 thousand participations…

The campaign in a few words: based on short videos to watch, users had to answer a series of questions to try to win movie tickets. Throughout the quiz, they are guided by the Inspector Koen who encourages them through personalized video messages based on their score. ]

We came up with this idea because we wanted to entertain our audience during the Carnival holiday period. But we also wanted to draw attention to the many new videos available in our app, in a fun and engaging way. We thought a video-based quiz would be a good idea to get our audience interested in our content and get a glimpse of the new TV programs, without being forced to watch them. To further reach our audience, we also had the idea of staging Koen, the main character of a very popular kids TV show on VTM, “De Buurtpolitie”. An ordinary quiz is already a lot of fun, but having someone who guides you with video messages and encourages you when you give the right answer, it really adds another dimension and makes the quiz event more engaging. We wanted to give our audience a fun experience while completing a quiz, for a chance to win movie tickets. Our other purpose behind this quiz was also to encourage our audience to watch our video content after completing the quiz. We really wanted to push the new videos, and it worked! This is our best campaign so far.

What do you value most in the Qualifio platform?
The real asset of Qualifio is its easy-to-use, highly visual and intuitive side, as well as the fact that the platform allows us to publish content both on our Facebook page and on our app. We gradually started to “play” with Qualifio, to explore its possibilities in terms of creating interactive campaigns, and today we’re using the tool on a daily basis, like everyone else in the department.

Recently, VTM Kids created a campaign in partnership with the popular children girls-band K3. The challenge? VTM Kids proposed to the children to make an original song explaining why their school is the best and download the video for a chance to get… K3 in their school! Children had between 1 and 2 weeks to collect as many votes as they could.