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Kill ‘em with cuteness? PlayKids TV app takes on the big vid guys

Nowadays, there's more than enough news - and content - circulating the children's digital video space, with Netflix and Amazon Studios continuously racking up content deals. Among the latest players in the game is PlayKids TV from Latin America's largest mobile content platform Movile - and broadcasting heavyhitters like DHX Media, PBS and The Jim Henson Company are now taking note of the subscription-based video app.
October 10, 2013

Nowadays, there’s more than enough news – and content – circulating the children’s digital video space, with Netflix and Amazon Studios  continuously racking up content deals.  Among the latest players in the video distribution game is PlayKids TV from Latin America’s largest mobile content platform Movile – and broadcasting heavyhitters like DHX Media, PBS and The Jim Henson Company are now taking note of the subscription-based video app.

Thirteen new licensing deals have been inked for the iOS and Android PlayKids TV app for preschool shows including Animal Mechanicals, Caillou, Super Why!, Sid the Science Kid, Rob the Robot and CareBears. Episodes from these series will join growing lineup available to PlayKid’s 500,000 subscribers in the Americas – a membership base that’s expected to double by the end of this year through expansion to more than 20 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

“Netflix and Amazon are doing good jobs in the living room for longer content. We are a mobile-first company so our focus is smartphone and tablets. We want to compete against Netflix in the car and on the airplane, and our experience is better because you can download video and store it to your device,” says Eduardo Henrique, head of Movile’s US operations. (The company’s headquarters are in Brazil.) “Streaming doesn’t work well for kids, especially among those under five. They want to easily watch the same video on repeat every day, so the user experience needs to fit this.” As for YouTube, Henrique says the world’s largest online video platform is extremely easy to navigate but is notoriously a dangerous hub for curious preschoolers who may end up watching inappropriate content.

On top of the shows, the PlayKids TV interface also features preschool-appropriate navigation instructions and games, all of which is offered for US$9.99 per month. Hernrique says the ability to download shows and then watch them offline is a major selling feature.

Half a million preschoolers and dozens of content providers seem to be in agreement. The app is doing well in the US, where 30% of its users reside, with the rest hailing from Latin America, and the app kicked off its global expansion with a UK launch last week. Henrique says the company is currently closing launch agreements in 20 more countries including Australia, South Africa and Spain, which is a suitable home for PlayTV’s catalogue of Spanish content. Other big smartphone-toting countries like Germany, France, South Korea and Japan are also large targets.

“Our goal is to combine local content with global brands. For instance, Caillou has massive global appeal, but we are also closing local deals with local providers,” says Henrique. For now, the company’s licensing strategy is centered on third party content, but plans to have their own original productions are not far off. That may just be the best strategy to implement when competing against the influx of mobile TV content providers entering the fray, such as kid-friendly on-demand TV channel Hopster, which officially launches in the UK next month.

About The Author
Wendy is Kidscreen’s Associate Editor. When she’s not sourcing material for the brand's daily email newsletter, she’s researching, writing and connecting with others about the newest trends in digital media. Contact Wendy at wgoldman@brunico.com.

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