You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Roku Is Embracing Kids Content With New Roku Channel Section

Roku unveiled a new kids and family content section in its Roku Channel Monday, making it easier for young viewers to find movies and shows they’d like to watch, and assuring their parents that the little ones won’t be exposed to inappropriate content or ads.

The new kids section offers access to 7000 free and ad-supported movies and TV show episodes from partners including Hasbro, DHX, Lionsgate, Mattel, Moonbug, A Spark, Pocket.Watch and others. In addition, it will have several TV-like linear channels for leanback viewing.

Kids will also be able to discover age-appropriate content from any subscription video service their parents may have signed up to through the Roku Channel. For instance, if consumers subscribe to HBO through the Roku Channel, the kids section will automatically be populated with a dedicated row for shows like “Sesame Street” and other appropriate content from the premium network.

However, kids will not be able to sign up for any new subscription services on their own, and they won’t be prompted to beg their parents for it either. “We don’t want to upsell kids to paid content,” said Roku vice president of programming and engagement Rob Holmes in a recent interview with Variety.

Popular on Variety

Roku is also introducing parental control via pin code for the Roku Channel to make sure that youngsters don’t just find content that exceeds their age rating in other sections. However, Roku devices do not have system-wide parental controls beyond blocking the installation of new channels, meaning that actual parenting is still very much required.

For the design of the kids and family section, Roku arguably took some cues from Netflix’s kids UI: The channel not only offers young viewers to find content by category, but also by character, meaning they can easily discover all the “My Little Pony” movies and TV show episodes in one place.

Roku is actively curating the channel, and relying on editors instead of machine learning to approve content. “We want this to be a hand-selected experience,” Holmes said. The same goes for ads, with Holmes saying that the company wanted to make sure that young viewers don’t get to see ads not appropriate for their age.

Of course, Roku also benefits from the ability to provide advertisers with an environment that caters to a young target audience. At the same time, the company is using its ad load as an argument to convince parents, promising that the section will have just about 40% of the advertising shown on regular TV.

Holmes said that the company did quite a bit of research and user testing before launching the channel, which also included his own 2 young kids. “They’ve been active beta testers,” he told Variety.

More Digital

  • Bernie Sanders Trump win

    Bernie Sanders Vows to Break Up Comcast, Verizon & AT&T: 'Their Greed Must End'

    Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled plans to launch publicly-funded broadband networks and break up big internet providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T Thursday. “Their greed must end,” the Sanders campaign wrote in its high-speed internet policy proposal. The campaign argued that high-speed internet access should be treated as a public utility, [...]

  • The Office

    Streaming Wars Heat Up Rerun Market as New Services Stock Up on Hits

    In a year in which more than 500 scripted series are on the air and new streaming services seem to debut nearly monthly, some of the biggest money being thrown around for content has gone to a handful of old TV shows, the kind that for years have hummed along evening television without much fuss. [...]

  • The Irishman

    'The Irishman' Nabs 17.1 Million U.S. Viewers on Netflix in First Five Days, per Nielsen

    Martin Scorsese’s mafia saga “The Irishman” was watched by 17.1 million unique Netflix viewers in the U.S. in the first five days of its streaming release, according to Nielsen estimates. By comparison, Sandra Bullock-starrer “Bird Box” scored nearly 26 million U.S. viewers in its first seven days of availability (Dec. 21-27, 2018) on Netflix, according [...]

  • Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on

    Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on Their International Plans

    It’s different strokes for different streaming folks as Amazon, HBO Max and Netflix lifted the lid on their international plans in London this week. Amazon said it’s not in the volume game and talked up a select number of hyper-local shows, while Netflix dished on plans to rev up non-English-language originals. The message from HBO [...]


    Daniel Rezende on Netflix Brazilian Series ‘Nobody’s Looking’

    Having premiered on Netflix Nov. 22, “Nobody’s Looking” marks the first collaboration between Gullane and Netflix – their second, “Boca a Boca” is in development- and comes from a long list of new projects that the streaming giant has announced with it’s $87 Million investment in Brazilian content. The series embodies the streaming platform’s push [...]

  • Sunil Doshi

    ATF: Sunil Doshi Launches Content Development Platform All Things Small (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sunil Doshi, whose company Alliance Media & Entertainment produced 2017 Tokyo film festival title “Bioscopewala” and distributed Jafar Panahi’s 2018 film “3 Faces” in India, has launched a new content development platform at the ongoing Asian TV Forum & Market in Singapore. The Mumbai-based All Things Small (ATS) is founded by Doshi, journalists Sidin Vadukut, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content