Press4Kids leverages tablet for news reading engagement
February 19, 2013
Press4Kids has rolled out a mobile application for Apples iPad that aims to engage children with interactive, daily content.
News-O-Matic is a news app that is catered to children between the ages of seven and ten years-old. The decision to focus on this demographic is aimed at starting a dialogue with kids the moment that they begin reading to learn.
Kids are aware of the news, and we want to help them understand it, said Marc-Henri Magdelenat, founder of Press4Kids, New York.
We want kids to read and become citizens of the world by creating a news experience, he said.
Helping children become the center of the experience and creating a daily routine is important.
The News-O-Matic app is updated with five news articles Monday Friday and is available for download from Apples App Store.
News-O-Matic offers three different subscription plans for users.
Weekly subscriptions are $1.99 and a monthly subscription is $6.99. Users can also buy a yearly subscription for $49.99.
The app's content helps inform kids while also taking their age into consideration. Therefore, each article is vetted by a child psychologist.
The content is a mixture of world news, science and sports news. For instance, a news article on New York Mayor Bloomberg's campaign to rid the city of Styrofoam runs next to an article about Dr. Seuss.
Although tablets present big opportunities for publishers to show off content, many digital publications essentially port articles from PDFs or Web sites. For children in particular, creating interaction is critical.
Each article is loaded with buttons and activities to keep readers engaged with content.
For example, a vocabulary tab on the left side of articles triggers an audio clip that says the word and includes definitions of important words in a story. There is also a tab that is linked to an additional fact about each article.
A map button in the top right-hand corner of stories uses the devices built-in GPS to show the distance between a user and where the article takes place.
Partnering with schools and teachers plays a big role in how News-O-Matics content gets into the hands of children.
Press4Kids has partnered with 50 public and private schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to offer free content to teachers. Per Mr. Magdelenat, 250 teachers are receiving free content as an in-classroom resource.
From idea to the final product, News-O-Matic took one year to develop.
The app is intentionally not supported by ads to keep children's and parents' best interests in mind.
Tablets have become a go-to for brands and publishers targeting children to add engagement to marketing initiatives.
The tablet is the best experience and more controlled once kids are in the app they will stay there, Mr. Magdelenat said.
These brands on the tablet are more visual, and we believe that the experience that we have built is more excellent on a tablet than on a smartphone, he said.
Marc-Henri Magdelenat is founder of Press4Kids, New York
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