By Sahil Patel
Almost a year in the making, a children’s version of YouTube finally has a release date. The service, which will be available as a free Android app for smartphones and tablets, will go live on Monday, February 23.
With a focus on educational content and early literacy, YouTube Kids will feature licensed content from established producers as well as originals made exclusively for the mobile app.
Launch content partners include The Jim Henson Company, which is supplying full episodes of classic series like “Sid the Science Kid,” “Pajanimals,” and “Fraggle Rock”; DreamWorks TV, which launched on YouTube last year with original short-form programming inspired by the animation studio’s IP; Nat Geo Kids, which will offer a mix of original and curated videos; Mother Goose Club; and Talking Tom and Friends.
One of the biggest names in children’s TV, “Reading Rainbow,” will also be a major part of the app. Its creator, LeVar Burton, is producing a series for YouTube Kids called “uTech,” which will explore future technologies that will become an ever-present part of people’s lives.
Beyond the traditional names, the app will also offer original series and videos created by some of YouTube’s biggest stars. Hank and John Green (the Vlogbrothers), for instance, have created kids’ versions of their popular educational series “SciShow” and “Crash Course.” Joseph Garrett, a UK-based “Minecraft” gamer known by most as Stampylonghead, has also agreed to make videos for the new service.
All channels and playlists will be organized by four main categories: Shows, Music, Learning, and Explore. Additional features include parental controls over time limits, as well as the ability to turn sound and search on or off.
For the two rather large questions that still remain — how YouTube will monetize the app and if an iOS version is in the works or not — the company has not disclosed any information.
News of the impending launch of YouTube Kids was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.