Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Amazon Kindle FreeTime: ‘Give me a Child……’
Amazon have once again shown their astute marketing awareness, ability to drive the market and have announced Kindle Freetime Unlimited. FreeTime delivers what it says on the can and serves up unlimited access to thousands of preselected books, games, apps, movies and does so by a monthly subscription. The target audience is in not adults, or the teens, but young children aged between 3 and 8. The service recognises who owns the purse in this area and offers full parental control. The service itself is tied to the new Kindle Fire and what is fast becoming a pivotal tool and marketing differentiator and jewel in the crown, Amazon Prime.
So parents can now by a single subscription give their children access to thousands of digital materials. No more having to buy individual books, films, games, just one monthly subscription gives the children hours of entertainment. No ,more do parents have to be worried what their children can see or how they spend their time as parents are given full control. As an appetiser Kindle Free Time now comes for one free month with every new US Kindle Fire and FireHD.
So Amazon have not only created the service, locked it to Prime but also are to make the service available to all to be sampled by every parent who buys a Fire. If the children and parents like what they see, they can simply convert to the full service in ‘one click’.
The service is not exclusive to Amazon Prime users, but they benefit by a substantial subscription discount. The service is $4.99 a month for one child without Prime and $2.99 with Prime. Up to 6 children can have access for $9.99 a month, but again enjoy a discount with Prime with the subscription dropping to $6.99. So FreeTime starts to become a 'no brainer' for Prime parents and could add that extra value to convert parents to Prime and for them to enjoy the benefits of the overall Prime service. This use of a ‘blanket service’ offer that ties added value benefits across many of the Amazon services is a very clever and effectively starts to further lock in customers to Amazon and becomes an added value attraction to attract more consumers to Prime.
FreeTime will serve up only hand picked content and media which itself assures parent that material is controlled. Freetime is itself attractive to content providers who don’t want to miss out on this audience. No other book publisher or retailer can easily match the overall offer. So it becomes a double lock in.
Amazon has built in parent controls that enable them to set limits on categories such as video and games, appealing to parents sensitivities and enabling them to give their children more time to read. Parents can also build individual child profiles which can control what each child can access and the time that they are on the individual service elements. Gone are the dry industry based categories and book shelves, the content is design to engage children with colour, graphics and child orientated navigation. Amazon is making the digital book work and not simply creating wizardry.
By starting with young children Amazon have also played another clever card. It starts to enrich its appeal to parents, adds even more value to Prime and importantly creates a model which can be easily reproduced to appeal to older or specialist groups, or even grow with the young user, appeal to the educational market and become a ‘must do’ for content providers.
In the words of the Jesuits, ‘ Give me a child until the age of seven and I will give you a man’. In the words of Amazon, ‘Give me a child until the age of eight and I will give you a family of Amazon customers for life.’