We're now just a couple of weeks away from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) passing through a meaty price increase to many of its existing subscribers, but the video buffet operator hasn't forgotten what's important to you -- your kids.
Netflix is adding a Just for Kids tab on its website, opening up an easily navigable experience for children 12 and under to access vetted kid-friendly streaming content.
Pretty sneaky, Netflix.
I was already set on swallowing the price hike. I've grown too fond of the discs now that I've mastered the trick for getting new releases (keep this on the down-low, but you basically just make sure that your local Netflix distribution center receives a return disc on Monday when it ships out the new releases that come out on Tuesday). I've also grown too fond of the streaming service, having spent the past few weeks introducing my wife to Mad Men and reliving my Lost experience with my eldest son.
If I had any doubts on keeping the $7.99 a month streaming plan -- which I didn't -- they were lifted yesterday afternoon when I set up a bookmark on my youngest son's PC to access Just for Kids. He gravitated right to some classic Wallace & Gromit shorts that he hadn't seen in a few years. He was hooked. I was anchored.
The area is laid out perfectly. The top of the screen is filled with familiar characters from Viacom's (NYSE: VIA ) Nickelodeon and Disney's (NYSE: DIS ) Disney Channel. If you don't know who iCarly or Phineas & Ferb are, ask a kid. If those characters don't do the trick, more conventional video box covers follow. The categories are broad enough. From robots to dinosaurs -- and princesses to girl power -- there are plenty of streaming videos available to satisfy even finicky kid tastes. Animated classics including The Iron Giant and Toy Story 3 share the virtual racks alongside live-action faves Spy Kids and Free Willy. Kids who can't sit still in front of a PC screen for 90 minutes can dive into television shows and animated shorts.
Yes, this is strictly a PC-tethered experience for now. A quick download of Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Silverlight is required just as it is for Netflix's conventional streaming service. Yesterday's press release promises that the service will roll out on all three gaming consoles and the iPad tablet over the next year.
This is a brilliant move for Netflix. Instead of acquiring more content, it is repackaging what it already has creatively and more effectively. Since anyone with kids knows that they stand up to repeat viewings of things they like, they will likely never complain about a lack of streaming content the way some adults have with Netflix.
Well played, Netflix.
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