As Foxtel’s end-to-end OTT service provider, Switch Media is excited to have assisted Foxtel with the delivery of the dynamic new Foxtel Kids app that provides a safe space for children to enjoy the amazing kids content available on Foxtel, ad-free and anytime.
Available for free to Foxtel, Foxtel Play and Foxtel from Telstra customers, this smart new app has been built with parents concerns in mind including regulating screen time, managing what their kids watch and limiting data use.
It can be used across smartphone or tablet, and enables the download of content to watch offline. With a child-friendly interface that is clean, fresh and very easy to navigate, Switch Media is thrilled to have assisted Foxtel to deliver the Foxtel Kids app in time for the holidays.
Deanne Weir, Foxtel’s Managing Director of Content Aggregation and Wholesale, said, “We’re delighted to bring our new Foxtel Kids app to Australian kids and families. After taking on board some great customer feedback coupled with our own research, we’ve designed what we think is the best app to keep kids entertained and parents informed; and, with the Christmas holidays just a few weeks away, it couldn’t come at a better time.”
PRESS RELEASE: Hands on: Foxtel Kids app – Adam Turner, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 December 2016.
Hands on: Foxtel Kids app
As Presto closes up shop, Foxtel is working to make its streaming options more family-friendly.
Something always had to give in Australia’s crowded streaming video market, with Foxtel preparing to pull the plug on Presto in January after buying out joint-owner Seven West Media. The pay TV giant is trying to entice Presto subscribers across to the Foxtel Play online subscription service by dropping Foxtel Play prices, offering discounts and upgrading to high-definition streaming via the Telstra TV set-top box.
At the same time Foxtel has also taken the wraps off its new Foxtel Kids app which, like Foxtel Go, is a streaming mobile app available for free to customers with a home Foxtel subscription – only letting you watch content from the kid-friendly channels in your Foxtel package.
What’s is particularly interesting is that Foxtel Kids also works if you’re a Foxtel Play subscriber, with kids channels to be included in the new Foxtel Play entry-level packages. You can even download the app and watch a few episodes for free even if you don’t have a Foxtel account, just press Skip at the login screen.
If there are children in your life then you’ve probably been confronted by the fact that within most streaming video apps the children’s content is only a few clicks away from the likes of Daredevil, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead – which aren’t exactly kid-friendly. Foxtel Kids is similar to Netflix’s kid-friendly interface, except that Foxtel’s offering is a standalone app to make it easier to manage your children’s viewing habits.
Available for iOS and Android, the Foxtel Kids app lets you register up to five devices and watch video on two at once – separate to the usage limits on the Foxtel Go apps, so the big people and little people in your home can use different apps to watch different Foxtel content simultaneously. Unlike Foxtel Go, Foxtel Kids doesn’t offer desktop browser access – it’s only for mobile gadgets.
Foxtel Kids only supports catch up video on demand, you don’t get streaming simulcasts of live channels. You can only watch video on standard-definition but that’s unlikely to bother children, especially if they’re watching animation on a small screen.
The app has a slick child-friendly interface which is easy to navigate even if you can’t read. You have access to a wide range of Foxtel content including shows from Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, CBeebies, Discovery Kids, Cartoon Network and Boomerang.
The amount of content at your disposal varies widely – some shows like Pepper Pig and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble only have the last few episodes, while others like Star Wars Rebels have the entire back catalogue from the series premiere right up to the most recent episode screened on Foxtel (which seems to be one episode behind the US). Strangely the app doesn’t stick to the standard episode numbering system, with the first episode of Rebels season two described as S2E16 rather than S2E01 – which I guess is intended to make things less complicated for children.
The app lets you choose between three user interfaces – one aimed at pre-schoolers, a second aimed at older children who are looking for slightly more mature content and a third designed to cater for both. To help ensure it’s child-friendly the app doesn’t screen advertisements or promos, not even for other Foxtel content. You can even set a timer with a cute animation to tell kids that they’ve used up their screen time, with a three-minute grace period if they’re almost at the end of an episode.
Parental controls – locked with a PIN – let you block channels as well as limit content according to ratings, such as blocking PG content to only allow G. There’s also the option to disable 3G/4G mobile broadband access so streaming only runs over Wi-Fi, with the data unmetered if you’re at home and Foxtel Broadband is your internet service provider.
Considering that it’s free for subscribers, Foxtel obviously isn’t aiming to make money directly from Foxtel Kids. Instead, like Foxtel Go, it’s designed to make a Foxtel subscription more attractive so you’re less likely to abandon it in favour of competitors like Netflix, which also has a wealth of children’s content. Other kid-friendly options include the free ABC iView kids app.
The other key attraction of Foxtel Kids is offline access, which is great for parents who use their smartphone or tablet to entertain their kids while they’re out and about but don’t want to chew through their mobile data allowance. It’s also handy when you’re getting on a flight.
Netflix also recently added offline access, although the rules regarding downloads are quite convoluted. Meanwhile Foxtel Kids offers a 31-day download window after which you needed to download those episodes again, assuming they’re still available as content will change regularly. Unlike some Netflix offline content, Foxtel Kids doesn’t offer the ability to “renew” offline content without actually downloading it again.
All up Foxtel Kids is a respectable effort as the pay TV giant jostles for position in the Netflix age. If you’re on the verge of abandoning Foxtel then the new app alone probably isn’t enough to change your mind, but it’s still a welcome addition to the Foxtel ecosystem.
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