Select Netflix members have been getting a new tab labeled "Just For Kids" in the main menu of the Netflix Web site, according to a GigaOm post.
When clicked, the tab opens a sliding bar of characters from a number of kid-friendly sources, including Nickelodeon and Disney, GigaOm explains. A click on one of those characters opens up a new page with access to TV shows and films starring that character. "Each episode is previewed with a screenshot," the post says, "and there is barely any text at all. Everything is optimized for instant playback of the episodes displayed."
Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation on the service.
I was once a Netflix customer for a few months but found that the initial on-demand offerings were pretty weak, largely due to the lack of children's titles. (Note: I am not currently a subscriber and asked a friend to log in to see if she has the new tab, and she doesn't yet--despite having children.)
A kid-friendly Netflix makes a lot of sense, especially in light of the fact that nearly every family I know owns at least one laptop and at least one smartphone or iPad. And if you think a 4-year-old doesn't know how to interact with iOS, you are sadly mistaken--especially considering that touch interfaces have become so simple yet sophisticated.
Accordingly, an interface that makes it easy for kids to find and watch content all by themselves (especially if it's filtered to be "safe") should hold a lot of promise with parents. And for better or worse, services such as Netflix are likely where we'll get the majority of our content in the future.
What I wonder about is how much difference a kid-specific site really makes in terms of Netflix subscription growth. I suspect much of it will have to do with how well tied in the service is with mobile devices and tablets, not just in terms of selecting content but viewing as well.
Back in July Netflix introduced price hikes that caused customer backlash and the stock to take a hit, but the company has stood behind the price increases in order to offset costs.