Monday, November 11, 2019

Spotify Announces Spotify Kids App; To Feature Nickelodeon Content

From the Spotify Newsroom:

Introducing Spotify Kids, A New Standalone App for the Next Generation of Listeners

OCTOBER 30, 2019


Spotify is committed to bringing audio content such as music and stories to more people in more ways–including the next generation of listeners. That’s why we decided to launch a fun standalone app designed with safety in mind specifically for kids and families.

We sat down with Alex Norström, Spotify’s Chief Premium Business Officer, to learn a little more about the app.

1. Why create a Spotify Kids app now? What can users look forward to?
We know that families love listening together—whether it’s while driving in the car or cooking dinner together in the kitchen. But we also know that family members love to listen on their own too. That’s why we’re so excited to welcome the next generation of listeners—kids—into the Family Plan experience.

Kids consuming audio content, such as music and stories, isn’t a new phenomenon—in fact, they love it. But most audio experiences were built with adults in mind—meaning they’re not simple, easy, or fun for young kids to use.

Spotify Kids was born out of the desire to create a playground of sound just for kids—to build a place where younger kids can explore their favorite music and stories in a fun environment. The content is ad-free and hand-picked by a team of editors, and the experience is bursting with color. Our visuals help guide young minds through the app with simple navigation and scaled-back text. Before setting out to explore, each kid can also select a custom avatar and color theme to personalize their experience.

Spotify Kids is a composite of playlists, which makes it easy for kids to find music and stories from their favorite movies and TV shows or hit plays on a playlist to sing along to during their favorite activity—or their least favorite chore.

We’re thrilled to beta launch in Ireland and look forward to introducing Spotify Kids in all markets that have Premium Family in the coming months. As we evolve the app experience, we’ll roll out enhanced parental settings and controls for even more customization in an effort to give parents peace of mind.

2. How is the Spotify Kids app different from the original app? Any unique content?
Spotify Kids is a standalone app available exclusively for Premium Family subscribers and intended for kids ages 3+. The content within Kids is hand-picked by a team of editors, who have nearly 100 years of combined experience curating content for kids. They come from some of the most well-respected brands in this space, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Discovery Kids, and Universal Pictures, as well as Public Service in Sweden and BookBeat, which is a family- and kids-oriented audio streaming service.

Beyond the content, the entire Spotify Kids user experience looks and feels different from the Spotify app. And that’s intentional. It’s built for kids, with their specific cognitive skills in mind, and exudes a fun, familiar, playful, and bright atmosphere. This look and feel also varies by age group—for example, the artwork for younger kids is softer and character-based, while content for older kids is more realistic and detailed.

3. Why launch in beta? What are you hoping to learn?
Having a standalone app specifically for younger kids is a new space for Spotify, and we understand the sensitivities around content for children. We are being very deliberate in our launch approach. We’ve started with a beta launch in Ireland, knowing that this initial roll-out phase will yield many learnings from parents, caregivers and other experts as they begin to interact with the app.

As we evolve the Spotify Kids experience over time, we plan to enhance parental control features to allow for even more customization. We’ll also bring our audio expertise to the table with listening experiences that go beyond music—like more stories and audiobooks and eventually podcasts.

4. As you were building the app, did you tap any external resources? Say, consult with any parent organizations or conduct focus groups?
While launching this kids app is an exciting moment for Spotify, creating it was not a task we took lightly. We knew the importance of understanding parents’ needs and making sure they would have peace of mind about the content their kids are consuming.

Spotify has spent more than two years learning about this space, and we’ll continue to learn as people begin to interact with the app. We have gathered expert insight from a number of organizations, including the National Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., and conducted our own studies with parents around the world and tapped into our Employee Resource Groups here at Spotify.

Spotify Kids is available starting today in Ireland. Ready to get started? Spotify Premium Family master account holders can simply download Kids from the App Store or Google Play, then sign in to their regular Spotify account. (If you’re new to Spotify, you’ll need to sign up for Premium Family before signing in to Spotify Kids.)

For those outside of Ireland, Kids will be rolling out to all markets that currently have Premium Family. Be sure to check back here for more or check out spotify.com/ie/kids.

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From Variety:

Spotify Kids: Music Streamer Wants to Lure Family-Plan Subscribers With Purpose-Built App

Spotify is trying to sell more multi-account family-plan subscriptions — by setting up a special “playground of sound” just for kids.

The new Spotify Kids app brings together a hand-picked selection of age-appropriate music, singalongs, soundtracks, and stories for kids as young as 3 years old. The app is available in a beta test period initially only in Ireland starting Oct. 30, and will come to other countries where Spotify Premium Family is available in the next few months.

It’s designed to push more consumers to Spotify’s full-fledged Family plan, priced at $14.99 per month in the U.S., which offers up to six accounts. The individual $9.99-per-month Spotify Premium service lets customers listen to music and audio programming on just one device at a time.

The initial launch of Spotify Kids in Ireland will include 80 playlists with approximately 6,000 songs. A company said as the app rolls out more widely, the pool of content will grow over time.

Parents can set up accounts with two distinct buckets of content: “Audio for Younger Kids” with singalongs, lullabies and soundtracks or “Audio for Older Kids” with popular tracks and playlists (which exclude explicit content). Spotify isn’t specifying age ranges for the different sections, leaving it up to parents’ discretion. The app is simpler to use than the regular Spotify app and features the ability to select cutesy, animated avatars for each child’s profile.

The company didn’t provide examples of specific artists or content that will be in Spotify Kids, but a rep said the “Audio for Younger Kids” section will include content licensed from partners including Disney and Nickelodeon.

According to Spotify, it spent several months conducting research with children’s content experts to develop Spotify Kids. The content included in Spotify Kids is vetted by a dedicated team at the company, which includes staffers who hail from Nickelodeon, Disney, Discovery Kids, and Universal Pictures. Another plus: There aren’t any ads in Spotify’s subscription services anyway, so it doesn’t have to deal with various restrictions on serving advertising to minors.

“Spotify Kids is a personalized world bursting with sound, shape and color, where our young listeners can begin a lifelong love of music and stories,“ said Spotify chief premium business officer Alex Norström.

The rollout of Spotify Kids comes after the company recently added several other new features to Premium Family designed specifically for families, including parental controls to filter explicit content, a “Family Mix” playlist with personalized songs for the whole family, and a family hub where primary account holders can manage all settings in one place.

The Spotify Kids app will be available for Spotify Premium Family subscribers at no additional charge for iOS or Android devices once the app launches in-market.

Playlists in Spotify Kids will span various content categories including: movies and TV shows; current hits; activities (like play time, party time, bedtime and homework); genres; seasonal; Spotify originals; and stories. There also will be select playlists for specific artists or groups.

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From Digiday:

Spotify taps Viacom for content marketing globally

For the next year, Spotify has contracted Viacom’s advanced marketing solutions arm to create custom content, programming and influencer content development for Spotify globally.

The deal covers 15 different markets across North America, Europe and the Middle East, Latin America, Asia Pacific and India. Both Viacom and Spotify declined to disclose financial details of the deal, but emphasized its global scale.

While Viacom isn’t doing the media buys — Spotify will still be placing ads with the help of its agency of record, UM, and its own in-house agency — it will use Viacom’s reach on linear, digital and social platforms to make sure that custom content secures what June Sauvaget, Spotify’s global head of consumer and product marketing, described as “added value and premium inventory.”

While the pairing like that between Spotify and Viacom isn’t a common occurrence today, Sauvaget sees it becoming more of a norm going forward. “Having the upfront discussions means you’re able to secure premium inventory, higher-impact inventory at a lower cost, and that’s always beneficial to a brand,” she said.

Spotify chose to work with Viacom, she said, primarily because of its global reach and because of the variety of different channels and resources it has to reach what she described as micro-audiences. Examples might be the Gen Z audience for Awesomeness TV or the urban demographic for BET, she said. In the U.S., Viacom reaches 80% of consumers ages 18 to 34.

Sauvaget said that Spotify is a platform that doesn’t want to focus solely on paid media to drive its brand proposition; it wants to be able to reach and speak to new audiences who can be users, and because its content is so rooted in culture, especially through music, it needs partners who get those cultural references.

“The way our consumers pick up content is influenced by local nuances in culture,” she said. “We need partners who reference the very nuanced nature of our marketing efforts and are both localized and fluid.”

Last year, Advanced Marketing Solutions, Viacom’s advertising arm, brought in $343 million in revenues, and it has built up its expertise in digital tremendously. It has an influencer marketing firm, Whosay, a Gen Z-friendly digital studio called Awesomeness TV and streaming service, Pluto.

“Depending on the challenge we have, or the audience we’re trying to capture, we can fit into their different solution and have that work hard for us,” Sauvaget said.

“Advertisers can come to Viacom and buy TV, or do an influencer campaign or buy space at our events or buy digital,” Steve Ellis, evp of ad strategy for Viacom, said. “To be an effective marketer today you have to do all of it; you can’t just buy TV or Facebook. You need to be everywhere.”

Ellis said Viacom’s advantage for Spotify lies in its creative, distribution and reach, and an added benefit for Spotify is that the creative isn’t limited to Viacom’s properties alone. It can live and be distributed anywhere — but it’ll no doubt benefit from “premium” placement on Viacom’s channels.

“There’s a certain amount of commitment and a certain amount of output,” Ellis said. “You can distribute something with CPM value and deliver back a clear efficiency and price. That’s really how the economics of the deal are defined.”

Ellis said this deal is symbolic of how the client and agency system is changing. “We’re structuring businesses to address those needs longer-term and with a more holistic view.” The upcoming merger between CBS and Viacom, he said, will only “add even more value.”

Spotify didn’t enter into this partnership with Viacom blindly; it tested out what a potential partnership might look like with a few initial campaigns.

Last year, Viacom worked with Spotify on the RuPaul for Spotify’s Holiday ‘Wrapped’ campaign, and it drove the most traffic to Spotify than any other partner Spotify worked with on its annual campaign.

In June, Spotify enlisted Viacom’s help with the Sophie Turner for Spotify brand campaign “A Playlist for Every Mood or Moment,” and the Instagram story drove seven times the lift in site visits to Spotify in a single day.

Similarly, in the spring, Viacom brought in the stars of Hulu series “Pen15” to promote a Spotify Premium Hulu offer that drove traffic via an Instagram post that had twice more video views than Spotify’s average social posts.

Spotify is currently working with Viacom once more on its end-of-year “Wrapped” campaign, this time beyond just the domestic U.S. market.

Sauvaget said that Viacom isn’t the only publisher Spotify is interested in working with on future custom content, and said the Viacom partnership may be extended beyond a year if they continue to see success.

“My penultimate goal is to grow user acquisition,” she said. “All users are not created equally. When I think of a partner, I want to partner with someone who can bring high-value customers to us. It’s our determination that Viacom can lend us the reach into a consumer base that will be of high value to us. ”

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From Mobile Marketer:

Spotify partners with Viacom for content marketing push

Brief:

- Spotify hired Viacom's advertising unit, Advanced Marketing Solutions, for content marketing campaigns aimed at boosting the audio streaming platform's audience and paid subscriptions. The agreement covers 15 markets in North America, Europe and the Middle East, Latin America, Asia Pacific and India, Digiday reported.

- Spotify will continue to place ads though its in-house agency and agency of record, UM, while using Viacom's linear, digital and social platforms to create the customized content. Viacom's brands include MTV, VH1, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, Colors, Paramount and Nickelodeon, among others, per its website.

- The partnership with Viacom follows more limited pilot campaigns that helped Spotify to drive web traffic.
Insight:

By working with Viacom on content marketing campaigns, Spotify aims to reach younger audiences who are mostly likely to sign up for its audio streaming platform. Viacom's brands like MTV, BET and VH1 align well with Spotify's music content and goal of reaching Generation Z worldwide. In the U.S., Viacom reaches 80% of consumers ages 18 to 24, per data cited by Digiday, making its channels key to targeting likely subscribers.

Spotify has seen past successes in its collaborations with Viacom's Advanced Marketing Solutions unit, making a stronger partnership in the months ahead more feasible for both companies. Viacom last year supported Spotify with its RuPaul for Spotify's Holiday "Wrapped" campaign that drove record traffic. In the spring, Viacom created a campaign for bundled subscriptions to Spotify Premium and Hulu that featured the stars of Hulu series "Pen15." The companies in June collaborated on a campaign starring "Game of Thrones" star Sophie Turner called "A Playlist for Every Mood or Moment" that included an Instagram Story, and boosted site visits to Spotify by seven times, Digiday reported.

Spotify needs to stand out in the streaming media market amid growing competition from services like Apple Music, which comes preinstalled on the tech giant's products; Amazon Prime Music, which has several tiers of paid and unpaid services; and YouTube Music that Google is bundling with the latest version of the Android mobile operating system. Pandora also has a significant audience in the U.S., while iHeartRadio is available in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The increasingly crowded market points to why Spotify must develop creative ways to attract valuable subscribers, who likely won't pay for multiple audio services.

Spotify said listeners of its ad-supported service grew by 29% to 141 million people in Q3 from a year earlier, while paid subscriptions climbed 31% to 113 million, it announced in October. To differentiate its platform from rivals and offer a wider range of content for subscribers, Spotify expanded its library of exclusive podcast content. Podcast listenership on the platform grew 39% in Q3 from the prior quarter, as adoption reached almost 14% of total monthly average users, the company said. The global podcast market is forecast to make up 4.5% of all audio ad spend by 2022, hitting $1.6 billion, according to researcher WARC.

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More Nick: Nickelodeon Embarks on New Direction with its Biggest, Most Wide-Ranging Content Slate Ever | Nick Upfront 2019!

Originally published: Thursday, October 31, 2019.
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