A screen shot from Amazon's new Free Time Unlimited digital subscription service for children. Kids can get all the content they want for a monthly rate.(Photo: Amazon)
Amazon is launching a new kids' entertainment service, just in time for that long holiday drive to grandma's house.
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
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.