Kidscreen Summit in Miami kicked off with a bang as YouTube’s head of global family and learning Malik Ducard formally unveiled the company’s first standalone app for children which is now available for Android and iOS mobile devices.
News of the hotly anticipated app first broke last Friday when Google confirmed the app would launch today on the Google Play Store offering a large selection of age-appropriate videos and channels grouped into four categories: shows, music, learning and explore.
Loaded with new and existing series from popular YouTube channels including Jim Henson TV, National Geographic Kids, Mother Goose Club, DreamWorksTV and Talking Tom and Friends, as well as episodes and clips from familiar children’s TV brands like Sesame Street and Thomas and Friends, the YouTube Kids app is free, COPPA-compliant and funded by ads, which will be carefully screened by YouTube for age-appropriateness.
According to Ducard, who unveiled the app to a packed room at the Intercontinental Miami for Kidscreen Summit’s keynote presentation, there is a lot of work being done on the ad side.
“We wanted this app to be free to users and families and the business model to get to that is the ad-support YouTube model. We’re putting a lot of effort into making sure that the content is family friendly and appropriate and we’re putting the same effort on the ad side to make sure categories that aren’t kid-appropriate don’t surface,” Ducard says.
Ducard couldn’t provide more specific details on YouTube’s ad screening process, but he did say the app currently features a number of public service announcements.
While it was revealed on Friday that the app will feature an exclusive original series called uTech from LaVar Burton and Reading Rainbow along with new content from YouTube stars such as Vlogbrothers and Stampylonghead, Ducard offered more details of the new Stampylonghead series today.
Wonder Quest is expected to launch within months, according to Ducard, and is a curriculum-backed show that takes children on a journey of learning and discovery.
“Minecraft worlds will be featured on the show and after kids are done exploring or watching an episode they can explore the world of that episode directly in Minecraft,” says Ducard.
The new series comes as the YouTube star looks to gain more traction with kids and learning content. A second purely educational YouTube channel with Maker Studios is already in the works.
Ducard wouldn’t say when the app will launch outside the US, but a global rollout in multiple languages is expected.