Sky has entered the battle for kids’ tablets with the announcement of its own child-friendly app.
Children have become an increasingly important part of the modern entertainment landscape, as video on demand providers race to win over not just adults but families too. Indeed, according to Ofcom’s most recent figures, one in three kids aged between 5 and 15 own one. The proportion of children watching TV on a tablet has also risen by a third in a year to 20 per cent, while a third watch TV on-demand.
Netflix has commissioned a whole heap of original content; YouTube has its own kids’ app; indie SVOD service Hopster, which provides shows and educational games, has gone international; and Amazon has introduced its own rival kids’ subscription service and dedicated tablet.
Earlier this year, Sky followed suit with the expansion of its kids’ on-demand library, adding shows such as Adventure Time and Spongebob Squarepants to both Sky+ boxes and NOW TV’s line-up, taking the total number of kids’ episodes from 700 to 4,000.
Now, as Amazon releases its latest kids’ TV pilots, Sky has gone one step further with the announcement of its own app. The app, which will launch early next year, is already under development with the talents of ustwo, designers of Monument Valley, winner of Apple’s 2014 Design Award iPad game of the year and two BAFTAs.
The app will mean children in Sky homes can access their favourite shows in a way that best suits them.
Aimed at children aged 4-9 years, the app will bring together all the best age-appropriate shows available on Sky, from the likes of The Cartoon Network, Disney and Nickelodeon, in an easy-to-use interface.
Sky says it aims to “empower children to discover programmes themselves” but will also include parent safety functions, from content filters to a time-limit on usage.
Sky is also appointing a a new Head of Kids Content to ensure the broadcaster continues to offer “the most compelling kids content”.
Kids’ VOD viewing is already up 50 per cent since its library expansion, says Sky, and is expected to grow further with the launch of a new advertising campaign. Already airing in the UK, “Operation Kids” features characters such as Peppa Pig and Captain Barnacles from The Octonauts working together to add a new dedicated kids section to the Sky+ home page.