Niche networks

Content aggregator Kidobi gets personal with online TV.
March 31, 2011

The spark

In what has become a common trend these days, Leo Henning drew inspiration for his new online viewing tool Kidobi from his own life experiences. The Toronto, Canada-based software company founder wanted to create an age-appropriate video playlist for his young daughter and found the task of gathering online content to be arduous and time-consuming. His team of 10 at Henning Software Solutions set off to create a program for parents that would let them curate age-specific content  for their kids with the click of a mouse. Over the past two years, the company has refocused its full attention and resources toward fine-tuning what it deems a revolutionary customizable online viewing tool.

The software

Kidobi is a video player that aggregates personalized educational video content for kids. For roughly US$4 a month, parents can register details about their child’s interests and skills, and Kidobi sets off to create a tailored programming block from third-party content producers. Henning is also touting the value in Kidobi’s reporting tools, which provide insight into viewing patterns. “With technology today we can make that leap from broad programming to content being more precise, appropriate and relevant,” says Eric Sorenson, director of research and content at Henning. “Subscription-based models like Netflix and the ubiquity of computers leave huge opportunities because consumers are ready for this transition.”

The next phase

The company intends to launch Kidobi in North America this spring prior to rolling it out internationally in 2012 and plans to attract viewers through traditional and social media marketing tactics. The startup is looking to grow its library, which at launch time will be stocked by partners like The Children’s Group and WeeHands, and is banking on the software’s valuable audience-measurement features to draw in additional content providers. “The analytics and reporting data is so rich and age-specific that companies can put a pilot episode on Kidobi and see that while it may be intended for four-year-olds, six-year-olds really love it,” says Sorenson. “We’re always looking for more content. That’s our focus for now.”

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