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

Kids love iPads, and kids love watching TV. Combine both, and you got yourself a killer app. That’s the thinking behind Amazon’s (S AMZN) FreeTime Unlimited offering, and it’s also the reason why Netflix(s NFLX) 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.

4 Responses to “How Movile wants to take on Netflix with its PlayKids iPad app”

  1. BergoniaC

    Let me see if this makes financial sense to me: I am going to pay $5 a month so my pre-school/kids can watch unlimited cartoons. Once my kids go to sleep/nap, I want to watch my movie/shows. (BTW I don’t have cable). So I have to subscribe to Netflix, Amazon, or Redbox Streaming for $9. Total cost $14.

    Oh BTW.. Netflix has a whole lot of cartoons that are age appropriate and shows and movies I like. All that for $9.

    Lets go with features: 1. Downloadable 2. Use in a car, plan, or restaurant

    1. I like downloadable. Not sure how you are going to combat piracy but that doesn’t matter to me.

    2. Since ipads are not truly integrated in the car, I don’t advise parents to manipulate the iPad while driving. It is bad enough parents want to text and drive.

    3. Plane is a good idea, but how many times does a normal person fly with family. Once a year. Since your target is pre-school, may once during that time frame.

    4. Restaurants. It is hard enough trying to get kids to eat. Now you want parents to compete while their little ones are watching a show.

    Unless you can get exclusive high demand cartoon shows, then this service will not compete very well. Also be careful about saying the shows you have are educational and help develop pre-schoolers young mind. There is a lot of controversy of those claims.

  2. Quote: “Kids love iPads, and kids love watching TV. Combine both, and you got yourself a killer app.”

    Yes, killer as in growing up fat and chubby because they’re not getting outside for exercise. Killer as in destroying their social skills because rather than interacting with other kids and adults they’re staring at cartoon characters on a screen.

    Do Moville, Netflix and Amazon care about that? I doubt it. If they did, they not only would not offer ‘unlimited access,’ they’d only sell services that highly restrict use. This is a bit like a candy company offering ‘all you can eat’ candy.

    Little preschoolers can be quite creative at entertaining themselves. They don’t need these killer apps or unlimited subscription services.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer

    • Suzana Bueno

      Hello, Michael.

      As a Movile representative, I would like to address some of your concerns. Of course we don’t want our children to grow chubby and lacking of social skills. Many of our developers are fathers and mothers, and they use our app with their children.

      In our promotional channels, you’ll see that we always encourage parents to be with their kids while watching PlayKids TV. We also encourage responsible use, sharing news articles with hints and guides to appropriate use of smartphones and tablets by children.

      Our app also suggest some offline activities. There is an Activities train car where kids can learn how to draw some characters or print and assemble a paper toy.

      If you have any concern or would like to learn more about it, please feel free to contact us at kids (at) movile dot com, we’ll be happy to listen.

      Suzana Bueno
      Movile | PlayKids TV Team