Kid’s learning platform Hopster targets larger African markets in its global launch

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Balancing Act has recorded over Africa-related 100 VoD platforms to date. New, more niche services will soon be added to this competitive segment. One of these newcomers is Hopster TV and application platform - set up on iOS, and soon on Android - which will launch across the African continent, particularly in Anglophone Africa. Balancing Act's analyst Sylvain Béletre talked to Hopster's founder and director, Nick Walters who was at MIPTV 2015.

Hopster is a TV and an interactive learning platform for preschoolers that boasts an impressive catalogue.

On 13th. April 2015, Hopster announced its global launch. Following a raft of multi-territory content deals with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, Millimages, CAKE, and EarthTree Media, the chart-topping kids service will commence the roll-out of a global English language version to 100 territories from April 2015.

The launch targets preschool children in English-speaking countries: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Dubai, and in many other countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. North America is out of the scope at the moment because of program rights.

"In Africa, we will communicate in countries where the use of iOS is strongest. South Africa, Nigeria, of course, but also Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania also. Africa is not unknown to me. I worked at Viacom in the department 'Emerging Markets'' says Nick Walters.

"Our company is financially sound; we have an investor and do not need additional funding at this time, "confirms Mr. Walters.

The platform contains over 600 hand-picked episodes from global family favourites including Max & Ruby, Mouk, Louie, Babar, Wanda and the Alien, and Poppy Cat. etc. "We will be in talks with suppliers of African content, including animated films for children in South Africa for example," says Walters, adding that "our success in Africa also depends on partnerships we will seal."

Kids all over the world will also be able to learn with Hopster’s suite of games. Built on multiple international curricula, these games add depth to the video experience and ensure that using Hopster isn’t just fun, but also educational and stimulating. The proprietary curriculum was developed in collaboration with leading academic advisors including Lydia Plowman and Annette Karmiloff-Smith. It combines multiple international curricula, including the US’ National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines and the UK’s Early Years Foundation Stages (EYFS), in an integrated framework that puts kids at the centre and grows with them. Read more here.

The international version will be first launched on iOS, with country-specific price points to be confirmed. "For now, I cannot give out the subscription price per country in Africa, it will depend on local agreements we set up with content providers and distribution partners," said Walters. Other partnerships might be announced later across Africa.

Nick Walters said, “All over the world, a new generation of kids is finding things to delight them on mobile. In India alone, more families have smartphones than digital TV, so there’s huge potential for a mobile-first service like Hopster. We’ve taken a global approach to our global launch, and handpicked the best shows from around the world: for example Aesop’s Theatre started life in Korea, Mouk in France, Wanda and the Alien in the UK, and Learn to Draw Minis is a cool Scandinavian indie hit!”

Since launching in the UK in 2013, Hopster has seen exceptional growth, with over 265,000 UK families having downloaded its chart-topping iOS app to date. Over a quarter of a million parents already trust the award-winning, safe, and ad-free world to keep their kids entertained and stimulated. It also received two nominations for the 2015 Kidscreen/iKids Awards: Best Channel Design and Best Streaming Video Platform, and was one of Apple’s Best Apps of 2014.

"Hopster is easy and edutainment service for preschoolers. For a low monthly subscription (GBP 3.99 / month in Britain) the Hopster Club subscribers have access to advertising-free children's shows, academically controlled learning games, on compatible devices. More than a quarter of a million parents already trust the service.

"The educational service is modeled on the United Kingdom educational programme, but with this international launch, we will adapt our service to academic programmes of other countries, "said Mr. Walters

The Hopster team will be at Discop Africa Johannesburg late 2015.


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