Common Sense Networks, a for-profit affiliate of Common Sense Media and a Public Benefit Corporation, today announced its inaugural venture, the 2021 launch of Sensical (sensicaltv.com), a free streaming platform offering thousands of age-appropriate, short-form videos for kids 2-12. With a mission to set a new standard in children’s digital media, the ad-supported service thoughtfully filters for quality through a rigorous and proprietary rubric and evaluates content based on the most comprehensive child development research available.
Headed by Common Sense Networks CEO Eric Berger, an industry leader in digital and entertainment media whose appointment was announced this summer, Sensical will answer parents’ essential need for entertaining, age-appropriate content that nurtures the specific emotional, social, and cognitive needs of their children. The immersive and handpicked library will be organized and tiered into three distinct categories: Preschoolers (ages 2-4), Little kids (ages 5-7) and Big kids (ages 8-12).
Every single frame of video will be viewed, vetted and rated by individuals trained in child development and Sensical’s rubric, mentioned above, will ensure that all short-form content from digital-first creators, studios and independent producers are selected based on criteria consistent with Common Sense Media’s 15 years of research and advocacy. By going above and beyond the algorithm-only option currently available on most platforms, Sensical creates a distinctive and demonstrably more effective engagement runway that ensures a true sense of choice for kids. For parents, leaving content choices in the hands of real people vs. software will give them confidence that only appropriate videos are being suggested for their kids.
“Sensical’s mission is to ignite kids’ passions, fuel curiosity, build bridges between children and their parents and make everyone part of the learning journey,” said Berger. “As a free platform offering only age-appropriate fare, we remove every obstacle to accessing a comprehensive, trusted resource for entertaining short-form video from the best possible content creators. Every family can afford to add Sensical to their personal bundle and we couldn’t be more excited to create a distinctive alternative for parents and partner with them in their goal to raise good humans.”
Commenting on the launch, Jim Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, said: “Over these past few years we’ve seen an explosion in commercial products and services directed at the audience we serve, but not always with their best interests in mind. We believe there is a meaningful opportunity for Sensical to fill a massive void in the current ecosystem and for Common Sense Networks to innovate in the space for the long-term benefit of kids and families.”
Built on the notion that education is at its best when kids pursue their passions, Sensical’s interface will encourage discovery and exploration by giving kids the opportunity to select from hundreds of defined topics/passions when searching for content. In addition, parents can take the reins of their kids’ personalized queue with an option to select a specific age range, introducing kids to titles that a) are an inherently better fit for their unique personalities and b) will foster deep connections whether families are co-viewing or children are watching independently.
Common Sense Networks’ deliberate investment in short-form is based on recent data noting that:
- Watching online videos now constitutes the largest proportion of children’s total TV and video viewing for those over two with an average of 39 minutes a day — more than double the amount of time devoted to online videos three years ago (:19).
- More than a third (34%) of children age 8 and younger watch online videos every day, up 42% from three years ago.
With those viewing habits in mind along with data from Pew Research saying that nearly 70% of parents are concerned about the types of products being advertised to their children, Sensical will introduce strict, best in class advertising guidelines that shift the marketplace narrative by exceeding expectations around current standards and practices and offer solutions that still work for brand partners. The free, branded app will lead with protection of kids as its main theme, ensuring digital privacy, featuring clear parental consent options and a clear line of distinction between commercial and noncommercial content.
Berger added, “By and large, parents don’t trust how short-form video is presented to their young children. They often find themselves in a position of hall monitor, trying to steer kids in the right direction, giving them guidance on what is appropriate and hoping they don’t take a wrong turn in the process. By leading with our age-appropriate, passion-based approach, we take the guesswork out of the equation and by doing so, raise the bar not just for Sensical, but also for the industry at large. As kids 2-12 lean in more heavily to their affinity for short-form, we want to embrace it but need to do so with a trained eye for selecting videos that give parents real peace of mind.”
Beloved brands and popular franchises from leading content providers will be featured on the service with plans to add thousands of videos to the library every month. Sensical will feature the biggest and best in entertaining, educational short-form fare from digital-first creators like Azevedo Studios (Funtastic TV), Bounce Patrol, Hevesh5, Sockeye Media (Mother Goose Club), Cosmic Kids Yoga, New Sky Kids, Skyship Entertainment Company (Super Simple Songs), StacyPlays (DogCraft) and Whistle (No Days Off); and studio/distribution partners including ABC Commercial (The Wiggles), Awesome Forces (The Aquabats), Big Big Holdings LLC (It’s a Big Big World), Boat Rocker Studios (Ollie the Boy Who Became What He Ate), CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution, Hoho Entertainment (Shane the Chef, Cloudbabies), Jetpack Distribution (Yoko, Kitty Is Not a Cat), Millimages (64 Zoo Lane, Molang), Nelvana (Mike The Knight, Bakugan), 9 Story Distribution International (Ruby’s Studio, Zerby Derby), One Animation (Rob The Robot, Oddbods), Sesame Workshop (Pinky Dinky Doo, Sesame Studios), Serious Lunch (Operation Ouch, Art Ninja), Studio 100 (Maya the Bee, Small Potatoes), ZooMoo Networks Pte Ltd (ZooMooPedia) and more.
In addition to Sensical’s wide range of content offerings, parents will also be able to access the Sensical Parent Zone, a dashboard tool allowing them to review and manage all of their kid’s viewing activity — including reports on what and how long their kids watch as well as the unique social, emotional and cognitive skills they are learning from the videos they are viewing.
Launching early 2021, Sensical will be available to the widest possible audience of users using an array of streaming devices, smart TV manufacturers and mobile devices (iOS and Android) anchored by a free, branded ad-supported app and live-streaming channels on all major OTT platforms. Over the coming months, Common Sense Networks will be announcing additional family-facing platforms, services, content development and related initiatives.