Kids Streaming Service Hopster Now Available On Apple TV
Hopster began as a children’s TV app available for the iPhone and iPad but has now launched onto Apple TV as the only children’s streaming service.
Subscribers are able to use both the iPad and Apple TV service through a £3.99 a month subscription made available in the UK by the British startup company. The Apple TV version offers shows such as Pingu and Thomas and Friends which are licensed by Hopster as part of their catalog of children’s programs. What’s missing from Apple TV is the games that Hopster offers as part of the iPad app as the Apple TV is generally not used for playing for games even when targeted at children.
The Hopster iPad app was launched in 2013 and has been downloaded over 285,000 times. In 2014 Hopster also launched an app for Samsung TVs that was aimed at children aged 2-6 and manage to secure a ‘U’ rating. Hopster’s videos are marketed not just to be entertaining to kids but also to stimulate them and help them learn. Parents can let their children watch the videos knowing that they won’t be bombarded with unsuitable adverts or content, as can happen with some untargeted video services.
Chief executive Nick Walters says that children can switch between the TV and iPad in order to play games, as the Apple TV is more for watching than playing and both platforms can be used under one subscription. The simple nature of the Apple TV has forced Hopster to simplify their curation of shows and make it easier to find them- Hopster has enabled a Discover mode which groups shows into categories. These include Hopster’s ‘curriculum categories’ as well as specials and particular themes like Engines or Animals.
While Netflix, YouTube and Amazon pose a big threat to Hopster, it is able to secure licensing deals with producers by emphasising its independent nature. It hopes to allow parents to have more choice and variety, preventing them from being limited to ‘massive content warehouses’ when choosing on demand content for their children. Hopster is the only dedicated kids service on the UK version of Apple TV and offers children and parents a limited selection of free episodes through their TV before subscribing.
Walters has described Hopster on Apple TV as a ‘complete world for preschoolers to spend good screen time’. While their current iPad app is only available in the UK, they plan to expand to more than 100 countries as well as launch an Android app which is due to be released soon. Hopster will be available as a universal English language app in selected countries throughout Asia, Africa and Europe and each country will have their own selection of shows for local children. Hopster has managed to secure multi-territory content deals with productions companies such as Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, Milimages and EarthTree Media.
Other companies are trying to offer variety to children and parents, preventing them from having to rely on the same large services for their entertainment videos. One such company is PlayKids from Latin America which offers children’s video through iOS and Android apps, enabling them to learn and have fun safely. PlayKids has support in over 27 countries and has secured $40m in funding based on its popularity and independent nature. In Addition the $9.99 PlayKids subscription allows parents to specifically choose content types for the child and there is even a ‘baby mode’ which plays content continuously even when the screen is randomly tapped.
Canadian service Kidoodle TV also offers apps for smartphones and tablets through their $4.99 a month subscription, which allows for unlimited viewing of children’s content that can be selected by subject matter and age limit. Much of the content sends positive and encouraging messages to children with subject matter such as courage, kindness and positive self-esteem.
Before the age of on-demand and streamed content, children had to wait for two or three dedicated hours in the day to watch kid-specific shows. Now, they can safely watch entertaining and educational shows at any time, not restricted to a particular device. Additionally, services such as Hopster help to add variety and educational aspects into the mix which can be watched on phone, tablet and now Apple TV.