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3 Ways to Perfect the Kids OTT User Experience

The kid's OTT space is becoming increasingly competitive. Giants like Netflix, Amazon, and Disney are investing in children’s entertainment, while smaller players like Hopster, PlayKids, and ToonGoogles are also offering kid-specific streamable video. To stand out in the growing market, these video providers have to ensure that they not only provide large pools of high-quality content — they also have to give viewers a high-quality experience.

The need for a seamless viewer experience is perhaps greater for kid-focused providers than adults. Studies continue to show that OTT users are frustrated by streaming issues like buffering — and no one is as impatient to see their content as kids. Plus, children growing up in today’s world are incredibly digitally literate. They’re exposed to technology and the internet at a young age, and their tolerance for a poor user experience is likely lower for that reason. This is especially true when it comes to streaming video.

Kids today watch videos on YouTube more than any other media outlet, and each year watch more and more OTT video content. According to Business Insider, kids ages 2 to 18 now spend an average of 1.8 hours a day streaming video online.

That means for providers of OTT children’s entertainment, it’s important to stand out and catch young viewers. To do this, user experience is just as important as having child-friendly content. Netflix is dominating the market, drawing the attention of younger viewers, and it’s no coincidence: the company has invested in offering a slick user experience and functionality for their kid's content, and it shows.

In order to catch up and capture younger eyeballs, there are three main ways kids’ OTT providers can improve their user experience.

Battle Buffering: When kids hit play, they want their video to start immediately (don’t we all). Unfortunately, on most streaming apps, without perfect wifi or cellular connection, users will experience some amount of start-up buffering. Incorporating a solution to start-up buffering, like Penthera’s FastPlay™ feature, ensures that when kids hit play, they’ll immediately see their content, even with poor connectivity. Children are less brand loyal than adults, and they’ll naturally prefer the services that solve their common frustration and are easiest to use.

Offer Offline Content: Startup buffering isn’t the only user experience issue that can frustrate young users. For many parents, video is an important tool to keep kids entertained on the go: in the car, on planes, in the doctor’s waiting room, and beyond. Unfortunately, these places often offer poor or no connectivity, meaning kids will be unable to watch the content (and parents will have to deal with the consequences). Having to deal with a child upset that they can’t watch defeats the point of having on-the-go entertainment in the first place. For these common moments, the ability to download content to a device and watch completely offline is crucial. Some apps, like DHX and Corus Treehouse, already offer downloadable content for children. To stand out in the crowded market, other apps need to follow suit and offer this feature, so they can help ensure parents are able to entertain their kids whenever and wherever they go.

Discoverability: These days, offering great, exclusive content isn’t enough. Providers need to ensure that users are able to navigate the wealth of content offerings and easily discover content that suits their interests. This is true across the OTT industry, but especially true for young viewers who are just getting their feet wet as regular viewers. A seamless interface and personalized recommendations can help users become users of your app for years to come.

The children’s OTT space presents a huge opportunity, as kids are increasingly watching more streaming video. According to comScore, 77% of households with kids stream OTT video — 37.5% higher than households without children (56%). They also found that those with children spend considerably more time streaming OTT (68 hours per month) than those without children (48 hours). These numbers not only point to the fact that younger audiences are streaming more — they demonstrate that OTT streaming is becoming part of family life.

To seize this opportunity, providers need to stand out from the pack by providing a user experience that makes their service easy to use and content easy to watch. To learn more about how kids' entertainment providers can optimize their platforms, visit


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