Sling TV, Dish’s over-the-top service aimed at cord cutters, is after your kids. By that I mean the company is rolling out a new on-demand channel that caters to children, or, more accurately, the parents of young children looking for easier access to kid-friendly entertainment from the streaming service. Called, Sling Kids, the channel offers new on-demand content as part of its larger selection of more than 200 live and on-demand titles.
This includes on-demand content from Kabillion, Kaboom and Splash, with shows like “Sonic X” and “Chloe’s Closet,” as well as movies like “The Missing Lynx” and “My Friend Bernard,” plus more popular titles from the majority of the top TV networks for kids.
Depending on which version of Sling’s service you subscribe to, the network lineup will vary due to streaming rights deals. On the more limited Sling Blue service, Sling TV’s kids networks include NickToons, TeenNick, Nick Jr., Boomerang, Cartoon Network, ducktv and Baby TV, while the Kids Extra Sling Orange adds Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD.
This programming lineup is organized into to age-appropriate groupings, for ages 2-4, 5-7, 8-11 and over 12 years old. However, Sling TV stops short of offering user profiles with built-in parental controls to lock down its interface the way that rival Netflix does. (It does have parental controls, however).
While typically the addition of a new channel isn’t ground-breaking news, this is actually a fairly competitive move from Sling. Streaming services today are heavily investing in children’s programming, which is serving as something of a battleground for acquiring new subscribers. Earlier this year, for example, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said that its service was “doubling down on kids and families,” with plans to invest a big part of its $5 billion 2016 programming budget on kids’ shows.
Netflix has also partnered with Disney to deliver a number of new and classic Disney films to the service.
Amazon, meanwhile, is also funding its own Amazon Original Kids series, having ordered two more shows to its lineup just this month. And it did a multi-year deal with PBS Kids earlier this year to bring that networks’ programming to its subscribers, as well.
Even the typically adult-oriented network HBO has been expanding to kids, most notably with its Sesame Workshop deal, whose content — including Sesame Street — has been used to flesh out HBO’s “Kids” section on its mobile apps, including the over-top-app HBO NOW.
Sling TV’s new Kids Extra channel is available as a $5 add-on pack to Sling TV’s core service, and arrives today alongside other new programming, like live video news network Cheddar, and the recently troubled conservative news channel TheBlaze.