As I mentioned in an earlier post just after our June metrics were available, the media metrics for the Teen and Children Trend Category showed a sizable drop in coverage for the Physical Activity/Inactivity and Children topic – the key TrendSignal metric was off -11 points from May’s 81 point high.

I know it may sound strange, but like a kid on Christmas Eve, I look forward to each month’s data refresh.  In particular,  I was interested to see if this trend would continue it’s June slide or see some kind of recovery during July (if you’re not already subscribed to our reports, dashboards and metrics, sign-up today!)

Many of the top  athletic apparel brands including Nike (NC @ 92 points), Adidas (-1 @ 87) points, Under Armor (+2 @ 76 points), Lululemon (-5 @ 70 points), etc. have marketing and community-based programs that are dependent upon this topic’s media trajectory.

Well, Santa arrived with the July figures showing the topic maintained its prior month media position with a TrendSignal of 71, up +1 point from the June decline.  It’s important to look at the underlying media movement, direction and momentum versus single month numbers.  So I try not to fixate on any particular month’s metrics and take in the EMA numbers (exponential 6-month moving average).   Here are the most salient take-a-ways with the July numbers:

  • This trend has shown consistent media momentum over the preceding 18 months.  Even with the June decline, the trailing 12-month average still puts the topic in a strong media position relative to all storylines unfolding in both traditional and social media channels.
  • Relative to other topics and trends within the Teens and Children Category, the physical activity storylines are still maintaining their rank position over the prior 12-months, only losing 2 positions in the category over the prior year.
  • It will not take a huge increase in media coverage over August and September to restore momentum behind this topics (the downside is if media coverage does slip for 2 more months, then the prior momentum will be difficult to rebuild).

The breadth of storylines supporting the physical activity thread with children have been quite varied.  A number have drafted off of existing child and teen coverage stories, i.e. immigrant children cross the U.S. boarder and the “take back play” stories that have recently gained media traction.

It’s interesting to see how 3 competing topics in this category compare across short and long term growth dimensions.  The following quadrant illustrates how all the topic in the Teen and Children Category performed relative to each other.  I highlighted Children & Physical Activity, Childhood Obesity and emerging interest around Children and Hydration (a recent Michelle Obama favorite).  Our focus trend on Children & Physical Activity is performing close the category average (intersecting red lines), whereas hydration stories are in a solid leading position.  Childhood Obesity has held its position over the last 30-days, but the topic has lost ground over its media position in the prior year.

Overall, media momentum appears to have stabilized and a healthy and strong TrendSignal value in the 70’s may be the sweet-spot for child health related trends and topics.  This trend in particular is at a critical momentum juncture with an equal number of increasing versus decreasing periods of media attention.   Momentum could tip either way depending upon the August/September media cycles.

To provide some additional perspective, the topic pulled about the same amount media attention as Net Neutrality, Medicare/Medicaid  and Tax Reform topics this month.  All scored 71 points for the July reporting period – although all scored quite differently with respect to media momentum and future media trajectory.

You can check out all these metrics and more in the new August 2014 Teen and Children Trend Report!   And all TrendTopics metrics are available through our new web dashboards.