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Netflix aims for kids and families after making its name on gritty dramas and adult comedy

POSTED: April 3, 2016 3:29 a.m.
Chandra Johnson/

Netflix is more synonymous with "House of Cards" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" than feel-good, family-friendly shows. But that's all about to change.

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Netflix is more synonymous with "House of Cards," "Orange is the New Black" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" than feel-good, family friendly shows.

But that's all changing as the world's largest streaming service sets its sights on a new core audience: children.

While Netflix has focused its latest efforts on no-holds-barred in-house dramas like the violent, Golden Globe-nominated African war drama "Beasts of No Nation," it has slowly made room for more family entertainment as well.

Last year, the service offered a reboot of the popular '80s children's animated series "Inspector Gadget."

It also made a conscious effort to offer more educational and child-appropriate features in its summer lineup for when kids are out of school, even entering into a partnership with Scholastic to add shows based on popular children's books, such as "The Magic School Bus" animated series, the Huffington Post reported.

This spring Netflix made a hard play for families as a whole when it played on parental nostalgia in its resurrection of '90s-era family sitcom "Full House" — dubbed "Fuller House" — which was just renewed for a second season.

Now, Netflix is going one step further: It has partnered with MGA Entertainment, the world's largest private toymaker, to host a tween and teen show to coincide with show-related toys. It's a smart business move if it pays off for Netflix, which estimates that half its 75 million users watch already-available children's programming on the service regularly.

"If the site is able to win over viewers when they’re young, executives said, they may be able to secure their loyalty for life," The Washington Post reported.

One thing Netflix didn't mention adding was something The Post said parents seemed to want desperately: better controls for stopping children from seeing age-inappropriate content.

"There is a pretty vast gray area where it's not real clear who the intended audience is," Parents Television Council program director Melissa Henson told The Post.
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