Since its launch last March, the free PBS Kids Video for iPad app has made a wide range of the pubcaster’s content available to tablet-toting tots.
“Our goal was to take our incredible library and make it available to our viewers who are on the go,” says Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids interactive. “Our online video player gets so much traffic that this was the next logical step.” The app, which is free to download and is now also available for the iPod Touch and iPhone, offers more than 1,000 different videos, including full-length episodes and clips of PBS Kids and PBS Kids Go! series such as Super Why! and Dinosaur Train.
It has been specifically designed with kids in mind and features Dash, the PBS Kids mascot, as its virtual host. Videos are refreshed once a week, with content partners choosing which ones will be featured, and then organized with the help of a weekly theme.
“We can also do special themes,” says DeWitt. “For example, when Dinosaur Train wanted to promote its on-air special, its main character Buddy joined Dash as the host for the week.” The app also features a parent’s tab that highlights the educational value of each episode and provides the ability to download related material and share info on Facebook and Twitter.
Marketing has mostly been through word-of-mouth, a strategy that seems to be paying off. The app has found a home in the top 10 on iTunes Educational App listings and has been downloaded more than 450,000 times. “Part of our mission is to get this educational content out there to as many kids as possible,” says DeWitt. “This was a natural step because the iPad is something that is very much out there and in use.” Because of digital rights issues, the content is only available within the US and is currently not formatted for other tablets. However, PBS is discussing what other platforms might be viable.