Look, kids are awesome. But you'd be crazy not to think there are times when the iPad becomes a parent's best friend, babysitter and bargaining chip all in one.
Foxtel has cottoned on to this with the launch of a new streaming app just for kids, designed to offer all the age-appropriate shows they want to watch, with the kind of lean-back experience that means parents can have a bit of down time.
And most importantly, it offers offline viewing.
The Foxtel Kids app is a standalone app for iOS and Android that pulls virtually all of Foxtel's kid-friendly content into the one ecosystem, with a pretty simple interface that children can manage. There are dedicated areas for different channels like Nickelodeon and Disney, and kids can watch entire seasons of the one show or sit back as the app offers up recommendations based on viewing habits.
Beyond all that "Peppa Pig," there are also key features that Foxtel says parents will like:
- G or PG content filters
- Two age settings for younger and older kids
- Parental PIN controls
- Approximately 2,000 episodes (regular Foxtel video on demand has around 500 eps at any time)
- Activity timer that lets parents set between five minutes and 120 minutes of screen time
- Five devices registered per account and two concurrent streams
- Separate device limits to the regular Foxtel Go account
- Adaptive bit rate streaming
The app is also Foxtel's first foray into offering offline viewing. Parents can download shows when they're on the home Wi-Fi network, and each episode will be available offline for 31 days.
It's a big move for Foxtel, albeit one that has been somewhat eclipsed by Netflix's announcement at the start of this month that it would be offering large sections of its catalogue for offline viewing.
Foxtel didn't comment on the Netflix move, but speaking to CNET ahead of the Foxtel Kids launch, the company said the new app helped make the case for rights holders to start getting behind the idea of offline streaming, meaning a win for viewers.
But while he says "never say never," Foxtel's general manager of content aggregation, Benjamin Cox, said the Kids app would be Foxtel's "test case" for offline viewing for the time being, especially while rights holders are reticent to hand over rights for downloading.
"The minute you have to explain, 'Some content not all,' or, 'This content for x many days,' it becomes a point of disappointment, not delight," said Cox. "But the market's going to change."