Cox Sparks Up ‘FlareKids’ App

Cox is going over-the-top again, this time with a free, family-friendly app for the iPad (opens in new tab) that aggregates kids shows.

Cox’s FlareKids app, first spotted by  Variety, is starting off with what it calls Flare Kids Clubs that feature fare from 10 “networks”: PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Nick Jr., National Geographic Kids, Reading Rainbow, Khan Academy and Pocoyo. Varity notes that Cox is aggregating that content, including some accessed via YouTube, without the need to strike separate licensing deals.

The ad-free app lets parents set time limits and select which content their kids can view. A version of FlareKids for Android devices is in the works.  Here’s a short video about the new service:

“FlareKids is another example of an investment in a business/platform which organizes and presents content in a user friendly and personalized way,” Cox spokesman Todd Smith said in a statement. “Similar to other Cox products that help customers connect to the things they care about most, different in that it is focused on children and curating existing, free online content.”

The FlareKids app is free and requires users to register, but also supports in-app purchases that allow users to customize the experience. One such theme, called  “Cool Cats,” costs 99 cents and appears to be the service’s top-selling in-app option.

With respect to monetizing FlareKids, “right now we are focused on equipping parents with this tool to help create a personalized and safe digital playground for their families,” Smith noted.

FlareKids is connected to Green Lane Innovations, a unit of Cox that focuses on and incubates new business opportunities. Green Lane is also the division associated with flarePlay, an OTT subscription gaming service that Cox has been beta testing for about 18 months.

Both FlareKids and flarePlay are OTT, meaning they are offered in and out of Cox’s traditional cable footprint. Comcast’s coming “Watchable” offering and Verizon’s mobile-first service, reportedly to be called Go90, are also delivered OTT, but will be ad-supported.

Cox's new app also shines the light on the continuing importance of kids-focused fare, which has long been a focus area of Netflix. FlareKids also comes on the heels of HBO's Sesame Street deal, and Kids Zone, a kids-themed offering on Comcast's X1 platform that highlights content that's been reviewed by Common Sense Media.

FlareKids is also the latest service to use the Flare brand, joining MyFlare, Cox’s Dropbox-like, cloud-based media storage and sharing service. Cox shut down its short-lived flareWatch IPTV trial in 2013.