Following in the footsteps of Voot and Disney+ Hotstar, streaming service Zee5 has launched a dedicated offering for children in Zee5 Kids, which will offer over 4,000 free hours of content across nine languages: English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, and Bhojpuri. With most kids stuck at home amid a nationwide lockdown, this is an opportune moment to launch a free-for-all family-oriented offering. Zee5 Kids will carry a mix of original and licensed content, with the latter coming from Lionsgate (known for John Wick, Hunger Games in adult fare) and animation outfit Cosmos Maya.
Among originals, Zee5 Kids has announced three upcoming ones: Gadget Guru, an animated movie and series based on a superhero character that will “take kids on his fun adventure trips”; Guddu, about a fun titular lion and his troupe of friends who fight the evil cat Billori and her gang in “the most passionate way”; and Bapu, a light sitcom and educational series that will tell you about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and “his great deeds”.
Zee5 claims that Zee5 will be easy to use and be kids-friendly, though it hasn’t announced a profiles feature or any updated parental controls. As of now, Zee5 only allows parents to choose from “complete restrictions”, which is essentially useless, “13”, which restrict content made for those older than 13 years, or “18”, which doesn’t restrict anything and is the same as not turning parental controls in the first place.
Zee5 Kids will also educate parents on the content slate, features and safety precautions through blogs, stories, challenges, and tutorials, it said. And it will host live chats with mental health experts, nutritionists, and life coaches on social media to offer advice to parents to take care of their kids.
In a prepared statement, Zee5’s programming head, Aparna Acharekar, said: “We are very excited to share our new offering, Zee5 Kids, a unique and smart confluence of entertainment that is designed to meet the learning needs in a child-safe environment. The product is deliberated to augment the intellectual abilities of children in a fun learning way by providing bespoke content ranging from shows, movies, reality & DIY shows to nursery rhymes in nine languages and across genres.
“The framework has been securely curated keeping in perspective the use of devices and exposure to unlimited information that kids have these days with digital platforms. We are certain that through Zee5 Kids we will be able to inculcate the habit of #NonStopBachFUN [a wordplay on non-stop bachpan, Hindi for childhood] among audiences across demographics.”
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