Tubi Kids Hits The Scene Just Before Disney+

Tubi is creating a dedicated kids section, Tubi Kids, on Oct. 21 – just weeks before Disney+ launches on Nov. 12. 

The ad-supported kids content will be COPPA-compliant, meaning that buyers won’t be able to do any kind of behavioral targeting for the ads. Programmatic bid requests will be stripped of any kind of behavioral targeting signals that don’t comply with COPPA, said Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi – meaning it’s unlikely much of the inventory will be sold programmatically.

Buyers will primarily purchase the inventory direct or via programmatic guaranteed because of the COPPA data restrictions, said Chief Revenue Officer Mark Rotblat.

“We’re talking about tens and hundreds of [kid-focused] advertisers. The brands and their agencies love the idea of contextually reaching children in the environments they watch,” Rotblat said, especially as viewership declines on places such as Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel.

In order to strip out the IP address, Tubi will site serve the ads and won’t allow any third-party tags at launch, though it plans to add in COPPA-compliant tags later. COPPA allows for some forms of ad measurement, including frequency capping, and Tubi will cap ads for partners.

The Tubi Kids section is to some extent a reorganization of existing content, and will include 1,200 titles at launch, for a total of 5,000 hours of programming. Its ad load will average four to six minutes per hour, the same as its adult programming, but much lower than the 14 minutes to 18 minutes per hour in broadcast and TV programming.

Tubi sees its AVOD kids section as complementary to streaming services like Netflix, family-focused Vudu or the not-yet-launched subscription service Disney+.

“The vast majority of our users have SVOD services,” Massoudi said. “It’s no different than in the old days of Nickelodeon, Disney and other channels, because we offer a distinctly different library.”

As the market heats up to serve families with appropriate content, the government is tightening its restrictions. In September, YouTube paid the Federal Trade Commission a record $170 million settlement for violations of COPPA. YouTube allowed behavioral advertising for child-focused channels without gaining parents’ consent.

The settlement sets a precedent that suggests even general-interest streaming platforms should partition off child-directed channels and make it COPPA compliant.

Tubi Kids was in the works all this year, Rotblat said, because viewers wanted a kids-specific section. And Tubi will continue to have a “family” section that shows behavioral-targeted ads that it believes comply with COPPA.

Having kids-centered content is less about compliance for Tubi than it is a good strategy overall, especially as Disney+ makes a play to win families as subscribers.

Tubi is growing fast, increasing hours streamed by 40% from May to September this year, for a total of 132 million hours a month. Analysis of viewership data showed that kids content was performing well, Massoudi said, supporting the expansion into Tubi Kids. Tubi’s streaming competitor Netflix, for example, recently reported that 60% of all its customers watch its family content every month.

Adding to the appeal of Tubi Kids will be that its AVOD service also doesn’t rely on user-generated content, unlike another AVOD service, YouTube Kids.

“There’s no low-quality unboxing videos on Tubi,” Massoudi said. “That’s important for partners and advertisers.”

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