How do you launch an app in a time when parents are restricting screen time? GoNoodle thinks the solution is to get kids moving.
On Friday, the Nashville-based company launched a self-titled app, with the goal of encouraging kids to dance, jump and shake through a variety of mini-games. Using parents’ smartphones, the app detects movement and encourages kids to physically jump around to advance to new levels (such as dodging asteroids by hopping aside, or swinging a tennis racket), says CEO KC Estenson. The idea came when GoNoodle, which has previously partnered with Disney, Warner Bros. and Netflix, spotted a white-space among kids four to 11, for content that promotes healthy lifestyles.
Known for making call-and-response videos on behalf of clients, Estenson says they found the most effective, top-reaching videos tended to the ones that encouraged physical activity.
“The top two things kids do on screens are watch videos and play games,” says Estenson. “They’re sedentary when they do these things, and we believe that this can have serious health effects on kids in the long run.”
The key to the success, he adds, is through the parents, who’ve increasingly taken issue with screens of all kinds. Thirty-four percent say kids spends too much time using social media, research from the University of Sheffield’s School of Education, Dubit and BBC Children’s found. Indeed, 80% of of parents said they limit their child’s screen time as much as possible, according to a recent study from ViacomCBS.
GoNoodle is actively looking for partners hoping to reach kids through physical activity, Estenson says. It’s open to a wide swath of companies, but won’t work with unhealthy food and drink brands. To kick things off, it partnered with the US Tennis Association to get the word out. The two will release videos to the associations’ 14 million monthly users. There’s also a possibility GoNoodle will launch an interactive tennis game in the app, which would be sponsored by the association, he adds.
There are licensing opportunities on both the company’s videos or the new app for licensees looking to reach kids through physical activity, he says, and the company is open to licensing partnerships with entertainment companies and brands that market to kids, though it won’t work with unhealthy food and drink brands. The studio teamed up with UK kids development agency Dubit to build it, and the app doesn’t capture, save or share any data.