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YouTube for Kids

YouTube is releasing an app for kids today in an effort to help protect kids from inappropriate content on their website but also to help segment the audience more. This effort is a way to organize content on YouTube better just as the networks have done with the TV rating system. As YouTube becomes more advanced with their licensing system, content aggregator, and music system already in place, they have a financial incentive to keep offering relative material to certain audience members, namely kids and eventually teens.

Purposeful Entertainment
It always amazes me how parents are so quick to keep their kids from sitting in front of the TV all the time but never quick enough to say the same for what they watch on YouTube. How many times have you caught your child laughing at all the animal videos only to think how cute it is to see them laugh. It is easy to write that off as nothing harmful but pure enjoyable to them as a child. Why is that any different than if they were to sit in front of a TV and watch the Animal Planet channel? The truth is that it is not. The child is not getting any kind of stimulation (side note: for all future purposes and understanding your child does not need to be stimulated or educated every waking second of their child life, they too need down time just like an adult so over stimulating is just as bad as under stimulating) but the act of laughing itself makes the whole thing seem ok but now that there are YouTubers who provide material for children now it only makes seem to create a separate entity within the YouTube world just for kids.

Segmenting Content
Instead of searching for videos on certain things kids will have categories to pick from to find their favorite show. This will make it easier for content providers to connect with kids who are interested in learning new things. The search function will still be there but it will limit what videos they can still find. Yes, the silly cat videos will still be there but just be aware that this is another sneaky way to try and add in a kind of work around to creating a rating system on YouTube.

The app itself will have 8 categories for kids to tap on. A few of the major players in those eight categories will be Jim Henson studios, Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, and Thomas the Tank. Sesame Street will add in more interactive content for children to use including the many others who will be creating content specifically for little kids. The app will also include a voice search function, just like the regular YouTube website and app, which Google feels kids will use more often than typing since most kids won’t know how to spell certain words.

Functions of the App
The app itself is designed with a lot of feedback in mind from many of the developers themselves who worked on it to many organizations that work to create guidelines for parents. A few of the features of the app include

  • Time Limit Option – Parents can select how long their child is allowed to use the app everyday. When the time is up the app will ask for a password to continue what they are doing or shut off until next time.
  • No Distracting Comments – The app has disabled the comments options to keep kids from getting distracted by this but also nothing on the video screen either.
  • Voice-Search – Kids can search the app using just their voice. This is helpful for little hands that haven’t learned their ABCs yet.
  • Big Button Options – Excellent for little fingers that don’t have the dexterity that older hands have. This makes it easier to click on videos and find their favorite shows. Titles of videos will be replaced with larges pictures of what they want to see, since visualization is key to this app’s design.
  • Four Playlist options – Music, Shows, Learning, and Explore

The app will not be available to Apple users’ until late April. It will only be available for all Android devices starting today.

Making Money by the Rules
The creation of the app creates a very fine line that Google has to walk since the app caters only to children that means that Google must comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, not to mention a slew of other laws. This means that Google cannot collect personal information about a child without the parent’s consent.  This can make it difficult for how it plans to collect information so they can sell it for advertisers.

Currently Google is planning on creating original content just for the app itself, and because they are Google they have the enormous cash reserves to be able to do it in the beginning with no problem but any business person will tell you that is not a sustaining model in the long run. They will need to figure out how to make money off of this content that will only be viewed by children. It is a strong case that Google will introduce a subscription base model for this app in order for kids to access their favorite shows once they are hooked on them. The only challenge to that is kids don’t stay young forever so they will need to figure out how to keep getting new viewers.

Google has the option of placing ads on their app of course this can pose many problems since most kids, including teens and adults, are not able to tell an online ad from content within the video itself. They will need to be careful if those ads try to take them out of the app and onto the internet where they can run into problems. Once you get a child out of the app and onto an advertiser’s website, the rules for child compliance change since the child was not supposed to be there in the first place, just another sneaky way advertisers get around the rules.

Of course for many online companies that do comply with the rules of protecting children’s online privacy they view this opportunity as a goldmine of being able to target kids specifically, especially toy makers, candy companies, and movies for kids. They know that anyone watching will be their target audience, which is very difficult on the YouTube website itself, here they know that only kids will be watching, since it is for kids 12 and under. YouTube is for people 13 and over but who follows those rules?

New form of Entertainment
The app is a shift in how online entertainment is going. Netflix already has an option for kids where content is aggregated by age and pre-selected for young viewers but many kids know how to get out of that if there is no password. It won’t be long before more and more websites start catching on the potential to market and create content for young viewers since so many are already walking around with tablets in their hands at a young age now that tablets and mobile technology is getting cheaper and cheaper.

If you would like to download the app for your child click on this link.

News Articles

YouTube Unveils New App for Kids

YouTube for Kids will Launch on Feb 23

YouTube to Release new App for kids

Introducing the newest member of our family, the YouTube Kids app–available on Google Play and the App Store

Get Ready to Pay for Content on YouTube starting with listening to music

[Article Updated: 11-13-2014]
Google adding service to Youtube called Music Key will be a streaming service that people can use on their computers and even Android phones while they use other apps. Ad-Free service costs $9.99 after the first month and is free to those that don’t mind the ads.


It’s no surprise that YouTube wants to charge for letting users view certain content on their website. They have talked about charging a subscription fee to let people view ad-free content. In an article written by Fast Company last year they talked about how YouTubers with more than 100K subscribers can now create new channels that charge people to view content.

There was also talk of of deciding whether or not to let creators put up a paywall to charge people to view their content first hand or have an overall subscription fee for everything. Depending on whether any of that will happen only time will time but time now is telling us something different. Musicians music on YouTube that do not agree to the new terms of YouTube will be taken off completely from the website. If an artist doesn’t want to agree to the ad-free content of their music then it will be barred from having their music on the site. For many artists, their fame started on Youtube and for them to now have to agree to terms they do not like is a slap in their face.

The new model of charging people to listen to their music is just another way for musicians to make more money off of their music online, which includes the money they get already for the number of views each song has. Whether you agree with this model or not, there are many artists who are not happy that all their music will be taken off the site in a matter of days.

Changing How Content Is Viewed Online
The challenge right now to YouTube is that it doesn’t make any money, infact, YouTube has been struggling to turn a profit for the last couple of years so it needs to find new ways of generating cash for it’s business. YouTube is the largest source on the planet for viewing content online for free and if it plans to be the number 1 source for everything video streaming online then it needs to find new ways to keep its head above the water.

Right now the site has the largest growth in site views per month, which is how most websites online are viewed in the business world since businesses operate on a quarter market projection. They want to see how a business does from month to month so in order to see how well YouTube is performing they look at monthly projections and how many hits it gets every month.

If you look at other sites that offer content to be viewed online like Vimeo, Hulu, Ustream, and BigThink, then you can see there is a huge market for people to put up online content. Infact a site that is all about streaming online is YouNow, where anyone can host their own live streaming show and store it for later viewing for their “fans.” The name is similar to YouTube which is why it has been able to generate more hits every month. The business model for video sharing sites is growing considering that 83% of web traffic now is video streaming. So blogs like this are not as popular as someone who makes a video that talks about being an entrepreneur.

Many of the sites listed previously have a paywall for higher quality content. Sites like Vimeo distinguish themselves as sites that have a more professional and stylish quality to the videos that are allowed on their site. If you look closely you will notice that many of the videos they offer, both free and paid viewing, have a higher quality to them instead of videos you see of people in their bedrooms with poor lighting on YouTube.

Whether you plan to open your channel on YouTube or on another site just be aware that Google owns YouTube and they want their finger in everything so if you think your content is not reaching enough people because of the terms of agreements YouTube makes you agree to, there are other sites you can use that are gaining in popularity. You can read about this guy’s experience with creating YouTube channels for YouTube.

News Articles

Read more about YouTube’s plan to charge to listen to music

Old Article on YouTube wanting to charge a subscription fee

YouTube’s New Subscription Music Service Plays Anything

YouTube’s “Music Key” Subscription Service Launches

Google to Launch Music Subscription Service