For many years there was an understandably provincial focus on technological advancements for the adult world, and specifically within the field of consumer goods. There was some uncertainty about how specific technologies could be applied to younger generations. Can a smartphone or tablet, or some other device be tailored expressly for children? That question has been answered quite emphatically. The most noticeable difference may be in schools, which, in many states, have been transformed within the last ten years, as districts purchase millions of new tablets, along with other devices. Now, it appears, consumer media devices are beginning their own child adaptation.
This week, Nickelodeon announced the launch of the Nick Jr. App on Roku and Apple TV devices. The app, which is already available on iOS (Apple) devices, provides children with opportunities to learn from their favorite characters, such as Blaze and Dora. The launch is important in the field of streaming media devices, as it is designed specifically for preschoolers, featuring full-length and short-form videos. The app allows children to directly engage with the characters, which can potentially help to boost reading, motor, and problem-solving skills. The app can be found in the “Kids & Family” category in the Roku Channel Store, and homes that have the Nick Jr. channel can sign in with their TV providers’ username and password. The Nick app and Nick Jr app have over 23 million downloads across Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft platforms.
This expansion adds to an already established children’s brand, which just expanded its Noggin video subscription for preschoolers to include Android and Apple TV. Nickelodeon has launched more than 30 preschool apps including titles like PAW Patrol Rescue Run, which helps with problem-solving and social skills, and Wallykazam! and Word Magic, which both help with literacy.
As Nickelodeon continues its expansion into this new market, others appear poised to join the fray. YouTube now has its own kids channel, which is available on both Apple TV and on Google Chromecast. That app is designed for kids 5 and younger, and has now been downloaded over 8 million times, according to Google, which of course owns YouTube. And unsurprisingly Disney also has their own children’s app, along with other big names such as National Geographic, PBS, and Hasbro.
As media streaming devices continue grow, children’s offering will likely follow alongside. The move signifies a continuing variation of moves away from more traditional forms of video consumption. Now, adults and children are watching TV differently and on different devices, which are both more versatile and more interactive than traditional models. Nickelodeon’s launch is exciting, but it is even more exciting because it marks just the nadir of this new mini industry. In just a few short years, new media streaming devices will pop up, and companies like Nickelodeon will respond with new offerings, which could greatly alter learning and entertainment for children into the future.