Nairobi-based Akili Network has launched Akili Kids!, Kenya’s first and only dedicated free-to-air children’s television network with imaginative learning programmes that parents can trust and will benefit children
Akili Kids is broadcasting digitally to televisions, mobile devices and the Internet.
Jesse Soleil, president and co-founder, said the launch is a culmination of almost eight years of conceptualisation and hard work that saw Akili Network venture into the vibrant Kenyan broadcast industry.
“'We planned on launching on 31 March 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 also thanked the Communications Authority for the regulatory approval that saw Akili Kids! make its entrance into the Kenyan market, bringing children's content to the broadcasting industry and Kenyan audiences.
“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,” added Soleil.
Khilen Nathwani, the 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 the air.”
Akili Kids is a free-to-air channel, available on StarTimes/PANG Channel 105, and is free-to-view on digital TVs and some OTT set-top boxes, as well as live streaming on the web.
“Our target is for 40 per cent of our programming to be locally produced over the next three years. We already have some terrific local programmes in development,” said Jesse Soleil.
“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 in programming Kenya. We are also contributing to the growth of Kenya's creative economy by working with the vast pool of talent to create inspiring and imaginative programmes for children,” he added.