Toca Boca takes kid-focused concept into online video realm via Ooyala, Microsoft

Image: Toca TV(Toca Boca)

There’s no doubt that kids’ apps are driving revenue growth for developers in the device realm. The popularity of tablets and smartphones is making a mark on the over-the-top video segment too -- as the success of kids’ series like Amazon’s Emmy-nominated Annedroids show. So it’s not surprising that we’re starting to see providers crossing into both segments. Case in point is Toca Boca, a company that develops “digital toy” apps for kids, which has now launched its own SVOD service, Toca TV.

Toca Boca is streaming its new service using Ooyala’s managed video delivery platform, which handles publishing, production workflows, monetization and analytics for the subscription service, and Microsoft’s Azure Media Services platform.

This is the app provider’s first foray into OTT streaming, and as the top mobile-first kids’ app in Apple’s App Store, Toca Boca wanted to make sure its users would have a good experience with a video service in order to maintain its brand reputation. “This is a new kind of challenge, so we had to find a partner that was very experienced in this area and could shape operationally how this would be set up … in order to save time and develop best practices,” said Bjorn Jeffery, CEO and co-founder of Toca Boca.

Toca TV is geared toward kids aged 5 to 9 and offers a mix of licensed content from multichannel networks (MCNs) like Broadband TV, DreamworksTV, AwesomenessTV, Studio 71 and Freedom!, and plans a number of exclusives such as kid-hosted shows and animated content.

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User privacy and security are important for any content service, but especially for kids’ apps. Toca Boca wanted to make sure these elements were in place for its October launch. But the company also needs audience measurement and analytics data – something it said Ooyala can balance with privacy requirements. And because Toca TV plans to stream to multiple countries, having a partner with multinational experience – Ooyala powers several other streaming efforts and is owned by Australia-based Telstra – was also essential.

Toca TV also uses Microsoft’s Azure platform for streaming – while Toca Boca has utilized Azure for its apps in the past, using cloud for OTT delivery is “a new departure for us,” Jeffery said.

With the streaming service live for only a couple of weeks so far, Jeffery said that Toca TV is in the process of learning how to best optimize its marketing efforts around SVOD – another new element for the company, which for the past several years was geared toward marketing its paid apps.

Feedback on Toca TV from parents has been good so far, said Jeffery. “They know there’s great video out there for kids but are concerned that some of the content might be inappropriate or unsuitable.” Having a streaming app with pre-screened, targeted content eases parents’ worry, he said.