Sony Pictures Television Acquires Minority Stake in Kids Video Service Hopster (EXCLUSIVE)

Sony Pictures Television Networks has acquired a minority stake in London-based Hopster, a video subscription service for kids content. Sony Pictures Television led Hopster’s latest round of funding, which also included additional money from previous investor Sandbox Partners. Neither company disclosed the exact funding amount.

Hopster is a video subscription service for the preschool crowd that’s available on iPad, Android and select TV-connected devices. The service, which costs $4.99 per month, offers ad-free content from DHX Media and others. The company claims to have more than 800,000 users, and says that its app has become the top-grossing preschool app in 24 countries.

“Investing in Hopster offers us an advantage in the fast-growing subscription kids’ space, and is a real opportunity to increase our on-demand services,” said Sony Pictures Television Western Europe EVP Kate Marsh.

Hopster isn’t the only company that is targeting the little ones, and their parents, with video subscription services. Brazil’s Movile has been offering similar content via its PlayKids app, and Netflix itself has also been heavily engaged in the kids space, even funding its own original children’s content.

Hopster aims to differentiate itself from the competition by not only offering videos and TV shows, but also interactive content. Kids can also use the app to play learning games and listen to nursery rhymes. And finally, Hopster makes it possible for parents to download shows for their kids for offline viewing — a feature that Netflix has been looking into, but hasn’t committed to yet.