Amazon launches new kids content service on Kindles

Amazon is launching a new kids’ entertainment service, just in time for that long holiday drive to grandma’s house.

Report by USA Today Online

The new Kindle FreeTime Unlimited monthly service lets children aged 3 to 8 watch, read and play all the Cinderella and Thomas the Tank Engine videos, books and apps they can for a flat price starting at $2.99 per child for Amazon Prime members.

Available starting today on the 7-inch display Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD models – and coming next week to the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD – the all-you-can-consume plan costs $4.99 per child or $9.99 per family for non-Prime members (Prime members get a $6.99 monthly family rate).

The curated content includes movies, TV episodes, games, educational apps and books from Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS, Sesame Workshop and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “It’s a lot of work for parents and the rate of error is pretty high when you are going out to get this content,” says Peter Larsen, Amazon Kindle Fire vice president.

Rented individually, a movie on Amazon may cost $4, while TV episodes may be $1.99 each. Within a month, a child could easily consume up to $50 in content, if rented separately. “We think it’s an unbelievable deal,” he says.

The new FreeTime Unlimited service builds on the FreeTime parental control feature built into Kindles. Parents can set profiles for their children and limit viewing times and they get their own user interface for the device. “They feel like it’s their tablet,” Larsen says.

Content that appears in each child’s FreeTime profile will reflect their age and gender. They can search for characters such as Dora the Explorer or Buzz Lightyear and find TV episodes, movies and apps starring them. “You can choose to download content as you see fit. If you know you are going on a trip in the car and you want a couple TV shows, a few games and maybe a map app and a book, you can just download that within FreeTime and hand it over to your kid and away they go,” Larsen says.

“We hope that the combination of FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited is going to make these $159 Kindles really attractive for families and their kids,” he says.

Advertising and in-app purchasing features have been removed from the thousands of individual titles already approved for Free Time Unlimited.

FreeTime Unlimited will arrive on the devices as a free software update. Customers can sign up within the Free Time app. For more information go to the FreeTime Unlimited page on Amazon’s site.

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