Akili Network has launched Akili Kids!, Kenya’s first and only dedicated free-to-air children’s channel, digitally broadcasting to TVs, mobile devices and over the internet.
Akili Kids! is available on StarTimes/PANG Channel 105 and is free to view on digital TVs and some OTT set-top boxes, as well as streaming live via the website at akilikids.co.ke (in Kenya only). The channel aims to have 40 percent of its schedule dedicated to local productions over the next three years.
Jesse Soleil, president and co-founder, said the launch is a culmination of almost eight years of conceptualization and hard work. ”We planned on launching on March 31, 2020, but with schools closed and children and parents at home we knew we had to hit that date. We had to accelerate in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, so that families across the country could have access to free, inspiring and educative content,” he said.
Soleil thanked the Communications Authority for the regulatory approval that saw Akili Kids! make its entrance into the Kenyan market. ”Our Kenyan team overcame significant obstacles to get to launch, and we would not have been able to do it without the amazing support of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Pan Africa Network Group (PANG), East Africa Data Centre, and Liquid Telecom, and especially our lead investor The Kays Foundation,” he added.
Khilen Nathwani, founder of The Kays Foundation, commented: “The power of entertainment cannot be underestimated. Akili Kids! has the potential to greatly enhance childhood experiences, and thus later life outcomes, for millions of young Kenyans. We are so proud of Jeff, Jesse and the team for their hard work getting on air.”
CEO and co-founder Jeff Schon added: “Our target is for 40 percent of our programming to be locally produced over the next three years. We already have some terrific local programs in development.”
He continued: “We have an outstanding team in Nairobi, and as Akili Kids! viewership grows, so will our ability to develop, acquire and broadcast the most impactful children’s programming in Kenya. We are also contributing to the growth of Kenya’s creative economy by working with the vast pool of talent here to create inspiring and imaginative programs for children.”