Amazon introduces Kindle FreeTime Unlimited
“Tablet, tablet in my hand
Who’s the kid-friendliest in the land?”
“Why, NOOK, it once was you, it’s true
But Amazon has something new”
I’ve written before about how Barnes & Noble was getting the jump on Amazon in bringing kids into their e-book ecosystem.
Amazon has certainly made strides, especially after the introduction of the Kindle Fire line, where we got famous kids books in interactive editions…and even apps.
In late October, we got Kindle FreeTime, which was a “parental control” app. While it had some good ideas, it was clunky. You could make it do what you wanted, which was choose things for your child to enjoy and exclude other things, but you had to constantly enter passwords in the same function, and while it may have been kid-friendly, it wasn’t particularly parent-friendly.
Amazon introduces a truly revolutionary new parent’s helper.
It promises to do what parents/legal guardians really want, and I think it will be very popular and be the deciding factor on which tablet to get (until somebody else counters it effectively…and then it may be too late for consumers to switch easily).
It’s called Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, and it’s a very different model from the way parents/legal guardians buy kids content now.
It’s an “all you can eat” plan, curated to be appropriate media for kids.
Your child (aged three to eight) will get access to content featuring Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, and PBS (including Reading Rainbow titles)…unlimited access to carefully chosen titles.
In-app purchasing, social media, and advertising are all gone.
How much does it cost?
For Prime members, it’s $2.99 a month for one child, or $6.99 a month for up to six children.
For n0n-Prime members, it’s $4.99 per month for one child, $9.99 for up to six children.
For people with a “family plan”, joining Prime lowers the annual cost by $36…that could make that $79 a year for Prime a lot more attractive…and then Amazon’s got you buying those profitable “diapers and windshield wipers”.
I think this is a really huge announcement. You can read more about the program here:
I’ll be very interested to see the implementation of it.
It’s coming in an update to the new generation of Kindle Fires (apparently, not the Kindle Fire 1st Generation) in the “coming weeks”.
If this is as successful as I think it will be, I can see this expand into a “tween” version, a “teen version”…and could it go on to adults as well? Could we get, say, a $14.99 a month “all you can eat” romance or science fiction/fantasy package?
Well, of course, Prime gets us some of that already. We have all you can eat streaming movies, and one book a month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
However, the simplicity of a set monthly bill could be attractive, even if you don’t own the media afterwards. Can’t you see gifting somebody a month of a themed media package (maybe mysteries, or Westerns)?
The adult version would be a lot more complicated.
I’ll also guarantee you that Amazon spent a lot of money getting these licenses…Nickelodeon and Disney?
It won’t surprise me to see Amazon’s traditional investors worried about this one…maybe even see the stock drop a bit for a couple of days.
I can also see some folks concerned about having other people curate what your kids read.
Many of my readers have talked about how they had pretty much carte blanche as a kid on reading.
Well, that’s fine: you won’t have to participate.
If you want to get an idea of what will be in and out, Common Sense Media (a non-profit) will be involved…here’s their website.
I think that this is potentially as paradigm-busting (what Amazon calls “messing with normal” as the Kindle itself or Kindle Direct Publishing.
What do you think? Am I overestimating the importance? Will it depend on the way it’s done? Will people like it or not? Will the monthly price rise within the next year (Prime’s annual fee hasn’t)? Could this be expanded to adults? Would you not want to use it because you’d rather do the work (and have the control) or managing your child’s media consumption? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.