Sky commissions new family originals as kids VOD grows
James R | On 07, Jul 2016
Sky is doubling down on its kids on-demand content with the order of new original shows.
The battle for younger viewers is becoming increasingly competitive, with everyone from YouTube and Netflix to Amazon offering dedicated family-friendly services. Sky has been fine-tuning its own kids package for some time – in summer 2015, the broadcaster added a tile in its menu for kids shows, linking to all of its kids shows and movies available on demand, plus a quick view of what’s on now on linear channels such as CBeebies and Nick Jr. Since then, on-demand views have increased five times.
Earlier this year, Sky launched a “Sky Kids” app designed to highlight all of its children’s content for younger members of Sky families. NOW, its over-the-top streaming service for contract-free subscribers, also has a separate Kids Membership for children’s channels and on-demand shows.
Sky has backed up that investment with a slew of exclusive content deals, including over 4,500 episodes of kids’ favourite shows from all the major networks, from Nick Jr.’s Paw Patrol and Boomerang’s Scooby Doo to CBeebies’ Octonauts and Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time.
Now, Sky is also ordering originals to go with its existing titles. Speaking at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield yesterday, Sky’s Head of Kids Content Lucy Murphy announced specially created children’s versions of Sky 1’s science panel show, Duck Quacks Don’t Echo, and wildlife documentary series Big Cats, An Amazing Animal Family.
Duck Quacks Don’t Echo: Kids from Magnum Media will combine science, amazing facts and wild experiments presented Lee Mack. Big Cats, An Amazing Animal Family from Offspring Films, presented by Patrick Aryee, will bring world class natural history storytelling to a younger audience.
There are also plans for exclusive programming aimed at kids from Sky Sports to drive interest and encourage participation as well as the already announced commission for new episodes of Morph. Sky will also tap into YouTube talent with short-form content from leading Multi-Channel Networks (MCNs), including nursery rhymes and music.
The on-demand kids audience is certainly a captive one. Since it launched in March, over 13 million episodes of kids shows have been streamed through Sky’s app.
Murphy also announced more enhancements to the app, including the recently added Sleep Mode setting and, from 24th July, offline watching. Sleep Mode will also give parents the ability to limit viewing time, improving the level of control they have over what their children watch and for how long.
The app will also be rolled out to Sky customers in Germany and Austria shortly and, at the beginning of next year, Italy.