How Movile wants to take on Netflix with its PlayKids iPad app

PlayKids TV

Kids love iPads, and kids love watching TV. Combine both, and you got yourself a killer app. That’s the thinking behind Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited offering, and it’s also the reason why Netflix has its Just for Kids UI. But Movile, the Latin American mobile entertainment specialist, thinks it can compete with the big guys.

Movile launched its PlayKids TV iPad app in the U.S. four months ago, and the company is going to announce Tuesday that it has secured the rights for Caillou, Super Why!, CareBears and ten other shows from PBS, DHX Media, Henson and Televix Entertainment. With these new shows, PlayKids is going to offer kids between the ages of 2 and 5 up to 30 age-appropriate shows as well as games and lullabies.

PlayKids offers access to one episode per show for free, and parents have to pay $5 per month if their little ones want unlimited access. Of course, PlayKids isn’t the only app offering this kind of fare. And Netflix is only $3 more, but arguably has a much bigger catalog. So how exactly does Movile want to compete?

Not by beating Netflix on all fronts. The company squarely focused on the preschooler crowd, Movile co-founder and head of U.S. operations Eduardo Henrique told me during a recent interview, because it knows that kids six and up like different shows and games. It also wanted to assure parents that their little ones aren’t watching things that are meant to be consumed by much older kids, and plans to add additional monitoring tools to its app soon.

And then there is the location factor. “I don’t want to compete against Netflix on the sofa,” Henrique told me. “I want to compete in the car, on the plane, in the restaurant.” Places where Netflix doesn’t work because of limited or no connectivity aren’t off-limits to PlayKids due to a simple trick, he explained: “We don’t use streaming. We use downloads.”

The decision to download content has a lot to do with Movile’s heritage. As a mobile content provider in Latin America, the company has learned how to deal with infrastructure and connectivity challenges. Henrique believes that this will help as it is looking to launch localized versions in other countries. Movile launched PlayKids in Brazil, and expanded to the UK last month. Now, it’s looking to have the app available in a total of 20 markets within the next two months.

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