YouTube will launch a new app just for kids, as Search Marketing Daily is reporting today, which will rev up a lot of questions about how young children access online video and how advertising should address them.
Google's new YouTube Kids debuts on Monday -- but for now, only on Android devices, and the whole world, and a lot of its kids, will be watching.
In fact, the new app seems is anticipating some of the immediate blow back by building in safeguards according to USA Today, which says, for example, if a child would type “sex” as a search term, the app would respond with this message: “Try something else.”
Parents can even set a timer so the app takes a nap, maybe at the same time the tyke does.
YouTube’s children and family entertainment segments are growing 200% year-to-year, Shimrit Ben-Yair, the group product manager for YouTube Kids, told the newspaper.
It’s a smart move that should pay dividends for years to come for YouTube. That habit-forming thing starts early. A generation of kids raised on mobile devices, many of them watching YouTube Kids, makes for a compelling advertising platform, especially if YouTube takes the high road on content, advertising and safeguards.
Forever, it seems, people have wondered why YouTube didn’t break itself into smaller pieces like this new initiative represents.
And not forever, but for sometime now, it has been doing that but without a grand announcement that it is the overall plan. Its Google Preferred list of channels has been around for advertisers since last summer, as a select group of YouTube sites that enjoy good content and high traffic.
As a consumer, if you search, you can find its “preferred lineup” in a lot of categories, which include science and education, news, parenting and family and even “weightlifting, workouts and wellness.”
As advertisers put a premium on premium content, YouTube is smart to lift out the best of what it offers; it’s surprising, though, that it does such lackluster marketing of it.
It also launched its MusicKey service late last year, repackaging and enhancing a big category on YouTube. It was introduced at $7.99 a month, but will be sold for $2 more than that when it goes wider. It gives access to Google Play, offline caching and other features, and it’s ad free. That’s why you’re paying.
The mobile and app gateway to content is obviously huge. So is the opportunity for the rather ungainly YouTube to segment itself into a bunch of apps, and not necessarily even keeping the YouTube brand in the names for those.
For as long as YouTube has been around, it’s been associated with user-generated content, the least ad-worthy but arguably the most controversial part of that massive YouTube universe. But as the online video audience really matures and also heads for an OTT life on big screen TVs in living rooms, it’s easy to imagine a time when YouTube becomes a many splintered thing. It’s starting with the kids.