SuperAwesome, the “kidtech” startup valued now at over $100 million, is today launching its own alternative to YouTube’s embedded video player. The technology is aimed at kids publishers – not consumers directly – and is part of the company’s larger platform of kid-safe technology. This includes tools for social engagement, parental controls, advertising, authentication, and more, all specifically designed for companies catering to kids.
The launch comes at a key time in the industry, as YouTube is now the subject of a class-action lawsuit over children’s privacy, and recently had an FTC complaint filed against it by 23 advocacy groups. The complaint says YouTube has been collecting data on children’s viewing patterns for years, in violation of federal law – meaning COPPA, aka the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
The new player provided by SuperAwesome gives kids brands another choice amid all these questions over YouTube and its respect for children’s privacy.
Explains the company, the player does not capture data on children, nor does it breach regulations like COPPA (U.S.) or GDPR-K (E.U.).
The opportunity for SuperAwesome is fairly sizable here. Already, the company counts among its customer base over 190 kids’ brands like Crayola, Topps, Spin Master, Warner Bros., Hasbro, Disney, Roald Dahl, Mattel, Dreamworks, Penguin, and others. These companies use SuperAwesome’s platform and its tools for socially engaging, advertising and connecting with their under-13 audience.
“The demand for [the video player] has come directly from our customers and the player has been in beta testing for a while,” SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins tells TechCrunch.
As with its other tools, the kids’ publishers will be able to embed the new player within their own websites and apps, and then manage all their social content – including video – from SuperAwesome’s “PopJam” dashboard.
“To give you a sense of scale, the PopJam Connect platform is enabling tens of millions of kid-safe social engagements every month,” Collins adds.
The platform itself offers a set of basic tools for free, but larger companies pay for premium upgrades on a SaaS (software-as-a-service) basis. Because it’s working with so many big brands, SuperAwesome is now turning a profit. It’s expecting to grow 100 percent this year to reach a revenue run rate of $50 million, it recently said.
And it also just added Tim Weller, chairman of Trustpilot and Taptica, as its Chairman a few months ago, and announced former Upworthy CRO, Ben Zagorski as its North American Chief Revenue Officer.
SuperAwesome’s platform today is addressing an underserved audience: kids brands that need to abide by federal and international regulations around children’s privacy, but have had limited options in terms of technology that helps them do so.
That was the case with video in particular – there hasn’t really been a viable alternative to YouTube’s player that suits kids publishers’ needs.
“There are over 170,000 children going online for the first time every day and the kidtech ecosystem is growing equally quickly to make the broader internet compatible with this new audience,” noted SuperAwesome CTO Joshua Wohle in a statement about the player’s launch. “Many people misinterpreted children's appearance on the internet as a temporary blip, whereas in reality it is a structural shift that is changing the landscape,” he said.