The deal is the first of its kind for Fingerprint, which has launched an app platform that screens out inappropriate content and promotes approved apps, games, e-books, and educational content for children. Fingerprint has created a tech platform that can be customized for curated content of any kind, said Nancy McIntyre, the chief executive of Fingerprint, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“We are developing a version of our platform for them, which is a learning network for kids ages 3 to 10,” said McIntyre. “We’re very excited by what we’ll learning in this exciting marketplace.”
The big benefit is that the platform can expose kids apps to much larger audiences, improving discovery in a sea of apps.
The new platform will offer apps in English, Tamil, Malaysian, and Mandarin Chinese. Fingerprint will offer apps as will third-party app makers. In addition, Fingerprint will work with Astro on titles such as Happy Dragon, a preschool science app. It will also develop an app that teaches English to children. Astro expects to debut its platform by the end of the year and offer bundled mobile gaming services for kids and families, including apps, games, e-books, and more to over 3.6 million customers in Malaysia. Astro will manage distribution and customer-focused services while Fingerprint will develop and manage back-end technology and content.
McIntyre said her company is talking to some of the biggest educational and media companies in the world about licensing the company’s mobile platform. In the U.S., Fingerprint launched its edutainment apps last fall, and about 1.5 million families have played with the platform to date. The average family has 1.7 kids playing, and those kids play a lot.
Fingerprint Digital was founded in 2010 by MacIntyre, a former executive at Leap Frog, and Kevin Wendle and Daniel Klaus of K2 Media Labs. It raised $7.8 million from Corus Entertainment, K2 Media Labs, Reed Elsevier Ventures, and education-oriented angel investors. The team includes Brad Edelman, the chief technology officer and former CTO of PlayFirst; Heather Regan, the chief product officer and former chief operating officer at Everloop; and Michael Chanover, the vice president of creative and former vice president of product at Kidlandia.
“This partnership is a watershed moment for both the industry and for Fingerprint,” said MacIntyre. “Together with Astro — one of the most innovative media companies in the world — we will deliver the first customized and localized network of learn-and-play content to one of the world’s largest consumer markets for mobile learning, and we’ll open the doors to new global distribution opportunities for top developers.”
Asia leads the world in mobile learning market revenues of $2.6 billion in 2012, and that is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2017, according to market researcher Ambient Insights. Asia accounts for almost half of the mobile learning revenues in the world. North America is No. 2 with $1.4 billion in revenue for mobile learning, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.6 percent.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., about 53 percent of kids have increased their mobile gaming time in the last two years, according to market researcher NPD.
“Astro is committed to customizing its services to appeal to varied customer preferences, budgets, and digital lifestyles for our company’s growth,” said Brian Lenz, the chief innovation officer at Astro. “By partnering with Fingerprint to create this mobile app network, we will be able to deliver a wide range of innovative and valuable learning and entertainment content directly to our customers on their mobile devices.”