Eduardo Henrique has overseen the launch of preschool-targeted SVOD app PlayKids in big markets around the world, including the US and the UK, but it’s possible none will be quite like the platform’s debut in China.
“There are many feelings about the China launch—of course the challenge is huge. Maybe we’ll make some mistakes and we have to adjust the strategy, but let’s see what will happen,” says PlayKids head of global expansion about the announcement Thursday that the Movile-owned children’s entertainment app is launching on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in that market. “China is a dream to me. I’ve never seen a Western company, especially on apps, succeed there, so I think that if PlayKids reaches leadership in the kids segment there, it would be super incredible news.”
As in other non-English speaking markets, content on PlayKids will be about 80% local, including shows like Xiong Xiaomi, Musti and Rubi, which is a hit on Chinese streaming service LeTV. International content includes popular US hits like Fireman Sam and Wild Baby Animal Explorers.
Henrique says the content strategy for the app, which has eight million downloads globally, is a mix between series that are very famous on TV or have generated a big audience online. He gives the example of Galinha Pintadinha (Lottie Dottie Chicken), a sing-along series that saw huge success on YouTube in Brazil (where Movile is headquartered), with nearly three million subs.
“We have many series that we found on YouTube that are famous on YouTube, and they are not on TV,” he says. “New producers are very welcome to come to us and show their projects, so we’d love to analyze the possibility to license their content.”
PlayKids usually asks for 10 episodes that are three to seven minutes in length, and offers either an upfront licensing fee for two years, or a rev-share deal for what Henrique refers to as more “mature” providers.
Exclusivity is not a priority for the platform, considering the under-five target demo—the strategy is more focused on investing in content that is musical, educational and interactive in nature.
“We invest a lot in the design, we invest a lot in the user experience to keep the users engaged. We don’t believe that exclusivity is the best strategy. We believe that other attributes are more important than spending a lot of money on a very famous series.”
PlayKids generates revenue through a “freemium” model, with different download fees based on subscription length and how much content the viewer can access.