Common Sense Networks launches Sensical, a free, hand-curated streaming service for kids – TechCrunch


Common sense media has made a name for itself among parents as a useful resource for checking out entertainment and technology in terms of age suitability. Now the for-profit affiliate of the organization, Common sense networks, is inspired by these child-friendly recommendations with the launch of a new streaming service called Sensual. The service offers age-appropriate, entertaining and educational videos for children 2-10 years old.

At launch, the free, ad-supported service features over 15,000 hand-picked videos and over 50 themed channels for kids to explore. And unlike other platforms, like Netflix or YouTube, Sensical doesn’t use algorithms to make content recommendations. Instead, kids are encouraged to follow their own interests and passions on over 50 theme channels. This includes things like adventures, animals, arts and crafts, music, science, sports, video games, and other types of kid-friendly topics.

Kids can watch these channels, or individual videos or series, to follow their favorite content in a dedicated Favorites section within the app.

Kids will see a selection of these channels based on their age, but the company is working to expand the range of channels so that there are even more specific categories in the future. For example, instead of just “sports”, there could be channels like “football” or “gymnastics”. Instead of “Arts”, there could be “drawing” or “origami”. Instead of just “science,” it could include channels like “geography” or “robotics,” and so on.

Image credits: Common sense networks

The app also offers a Live TV section, which is timed throughout the day with kid-friendly content so kids don’t have to browse for something to watch quickly.

While other streaming services on the market offer kid-friendly content – because that’s a huge selling point for subscribers – it’s not always organized in a logical fashion. Sometimes all the content is grouped into a general “Kids” category where videos for small children are mixed with content for older children. Sensical, meanwhile, organizes the content recommendations into three different experiences, including preschool (2-4), little kids (5-7), and big kids (8-10).

What the child sees depends on how the parents set up their profile. Additionally, parents can use the service’s ParentZone app dashboard to set screen time limits, expand limits as needed, and view daily reports on what the child has watched.

The best feature of the service, however, is that the content is guaranteed to be age-appropriate, even the advertisements.

This is possible thanks to the curation approach adopted by Sensical, which is very different from that of YouTube Kids. The Kids’ YouTube app relies on algorithms to filter adult content from YouTube’s larger library, but the company doesn’t manually review all of the videos it includes. It warns parents that some inappropriate content might get through. (And he possesses). Common Sense Networks, meanwhile, says dozens of trained child development experts view, review, and rate “every frame of video” that is uploaded to its service using its intellectual property and patent. pending process. This system also involves tagging the content with specific benefits for the development of the child.

Sensical also checks its advertising, this is how the service is supported, with similar direct monitoring. Its experts review sponsor content to make sure it’s appropriate for children – an area that is often overlooked on other services.

Image credits: Common sense networks

To fill its library, Common Sense Networks has partnered with dozens of studios and distribution partners as well as digital creators.

Studio and distribution partners include CAKE (Poppy cat), Cyber ​​Group Studios (Leo the forest ranger), The Jim Henson Company (The Wubbulous World of Dr Seuss, Jim Henson’s Animal Show with Stinky and Jake), Mattel (Kipper, Pingu, Max Steel), Raydar Media (limited series of Five Apples, Apple Tree House), Superights (Bo Bear, Handico), WildBrain (Teletubbies, Rev & Roll), Xilam Animation (Learn and play with Paprika, the fabulous adventures of Moka), ZDF Enterprises (Lexi & Lottie, School of Roars), Zodiak Kids (Mister Maker, Tee and Mo), ABC Commercial, CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution, Jetpack Distribution, Nelvana, 9 Story Distribution International, Sesame Workshop, Serious Lunch and Studio 100.

Digital creators, meanwhile, include ABCMouse, Aaron’s Animals, Alphabet Rockers, batteryPOP, California Academy of Sciences, GoldieBlox, Gotham Group’s Gotham Reads, Guggenheim Museum, Howdytoons, Kids’ Black History, MEL Science + Chemistry, N * Gen, Pinkfong, Storytime Brilliantly from Penguin Random House, Studio71 (Parry Gripp, Maymo, Hyper Roblox), Tankee, Ubongo Kids, Vooks, Bounce Patrol, Hevesh5, Mother Goose Club, StacyPlays, Super Simple Songs and The Whistle.

The service follows United States Child Privacy Protection Laws (COPPA) and is certified by the kidSAFE Seal Program.

Image credits: Common sense networks

After briefly playing around with the mobile app, it looks like Sensical is working as described. If I had any personal complaints, it would only be that the experience could be referred to as a ‘baby stuff’ by older children approaching the age of 20, due to the cute pictures and iconography. young used in the design of the application. Children in older age groups object to being treated as if they are younger – and they pay close attention to anything that does. The same complaint goes for the live TV programming, which was clearly aimed at the little ones when we checked it out, despite testing the app as a kid profile whose age was set to “10”. .

I also think it would be nice if there was a better way to follow favorite channels and see when they update with new videos, because kids who switch to Sensical from YouTube will want to ‘feel’ as if they are always connected to new and fresh content, not a library. But Sensical is not YouTube. There is a compromise between manual curation and punctuality, and Sensical favors the former.

Sensical was first introduced this spring in a closed beta, but is now available to the public to stream web and mobile on iOS., Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. This summer, it will expand to other distribution platforms, including VIZIO.

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