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Pinna hears demand in children’s audio space

CEO Maggie McGuire tells Kidscreen why now is the time to get kids to tune in to podcasts and audiobooks, and how the company plans on cornering the market.
February 21, 2019

Hear that? Pinna is expanding its reach with a roll out on Android and plans to be available on all devices.

The New York-headquartered telecom signaled its entrance into the children’s audio market with the launch of its eponymous app in January. The app provides more than 1,000 children’s audio shows, podcast episodes, audiobooks and pieces of music content targeting kids ages three to eight.

Pinna is currently available in the US for iOS and launches on Android next week. In the coming year the company plans to make the app available globally, add in the ability for users to listen to content offline, to listen on any device, and the option for users to make their own playlists. The goal, says CEO Maggie McGuire, is to eventually corner the market in the children’s audio space by incorporating content that will be age-appropriate for children up to 12.

The app is an ad- and screen-free, audio-on-demand, entertainment subscription service. It features both original content developed by writers and child development experts, as well as curated licensed content. Pinna’s original content includes the podcast ExtraBLURT, which invites kids to play along with trivia games; Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest, an interactive retelling of classic folktales written by Adam Gidwitz; and Anytime Art, a five-episode beginner art class for children created in partnership with New York City art school Scribble Art.

Pinna has also licensed content from the likes of The Scholastic Corporation (audio readings from brands like Captain Underpants, Clifford and Magic School Bus), American Public Media (podcasts Brains On and Smash Boom Bestas well as Gen Z Media’s Peabody Award-winning podcast The Unexplained Disappearance of Mars Patel.

After a 30-day free trial, subscriptions for Pinna are available for US$7.99 per-month or US$79.99 annually. The company doesn’t release membership numbers.

McGuire, who previously worked with the Scholastic Corporation, says the company and its app are the result of a shift in the children’s audio landscape.

“Adults are listening to more audio and there is a trickle-down effect where kids are listening to it more as well,” she says.We spoke to 1,000 moms and 400 teachers who told us they wanted something that would fit into their kids’ diet of media and take them away from staring at screens.”

Originally launched in 2017 as a pilot project under US telecom company Panoply Media, Pinna separated from its parent company to be a stand-alone entity when the app bowed in January. Both companies are backed by US media company Graham Holdings.

iPhone X _Audiobooks

Pinna launched in January with a large catalogue of licensed and original content

Pinna is a member of the kidSAFE Seal Program, an independent safety certification service designed for child-friendly websites and mobile apps.

“Our creators wanted to make sure our adult hypothesis of what kids liked was something they actually liked. So in kid-testing we look to see if we get that giggle where we’re supposed to. Are they understanding and enjoying the content? We’ve had content scrapped because it didn’t meet the standards of what the kids were looking for,” McGuire says.

McGuire says Pinna’s competitors—including apps like Spotify and Audible—offer only audiobooks or music, covering a small portion of the audio market. As a result, she sees curated, exclusive kids content as an untapped opportunity because parents can access everything in a single spot, saving them time and effort researching content.

 

About The Author
Online writer for Kidscreen. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at rtuchow@brunico.com

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