Sky launches new app for kids
James R | On 02, Apr 2016
Sky has launched a new app for kids, as the competition for young eyeballs continues to increase.
Sky’s app was announced last year, just after YouTube launched its own kids’ platform and Amazon introduced its own child-friendly tablet and accompany subscription multimedia service. Now, the broadcaster has officially unveiled its own contender, called, fittingly enough, Sky Kids.
The app, which is available on both iOS and Android devices, is designed for pre-schoolers to nine year olds, with “thousands” of episodes of kids shows to stream, including 16 of the 20 highest-rated shows.
The app has been created by Sky’s in-house team together with ustwo, the digital product studio behind hit mobile game Monument Valley – winner of Apple’s 2014 Design Award, iPad game of the year and two BAFTAs. It was developed through consultations with hundreds of children and their parents to ensure that it is both easy to use and comes with safety features for adults. The Sky Kids app allows multiple age-appropriate profiles to be created and personalised using one of its “Sky Buddy” avatar, with a sleep mode to be introduced later this year so parents can limit viewing time.
Features, though, are only half of the battle to win youthful viewers – content is is important too. Sky’s app doesn’t skimp on shows, with TV programmes such as Nick Jr.’s Paw Patrol, Boomerang’s Scooby Doo, CBeebies’ Octonauts and Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. Sky is also commissioning its own exclusive original kids’ content, starting with new episodes of Morph in partnership with Aardman Animation. The new episodes will arrive latest this year, alongside new short features that encourage kids to create their own characters and films at home. Discussions are already underway with other producers about future projects and there are also plans to produce kids’ versions of some favourite Sky shows.
Lucy Murphy, Head of Kids Content, Sky comments: “Having lots of great shows for kids has always really mattered to us. Around a quarter of Sky households have children so we know how important it is we give them the very best kids entertainment. That is why we are investing in exclusive new programming starting with family favourite Morph as well as developing future enhancements for the app including even more safety features, live channels and offline viewing.”
The app, though, will require people to be signed up to Sky: the service is available for customers with the Sky Family or Variety bundle, or Sky Q.
The move marks the latest step in an increasingly crowded sector. Indeed, new research shows that growing numbers of children are watching TV on mobile devices, with 80 per cent having access to a tablet at home. Who will be next to join the kids’ streaming race?