Fingerprint, a fast-growing digital learning and entertainment company for kids, and Astro Digital 5, a division of leading consumer entertainment media group Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad (Astro), today announced a partnership to develop a completely customized mobile entertainment and learning app network for children. Powered exclusively by the Fingerprint technology platform, the Astro mobile app network is expected to debut by the end of 2013 and will bring bundled mobile gaming services for kids and families, including apps, games, ebooks and more, to more than 3.6 million Astro customers throughout Malaysia.
Already established as a leading provider of learn-and-play mobile apps for kids in the U.S. via its Fingerprint Play network, Fingerprint is now expanding its business model from direct-to-consumer to include an enterprise platform solution. By partnering with leading entertainment and technology companies like Astro Digital 5, Fingerprint will license and develop customized versions of its network. Under its deal with Astro, Fingerprint is developing both the underlying platform technology as well as the SDK, which will enable Fingerprint-approved, third-party developers to easily integrate their apps onto Astro’s mobile app network. Astro will manage all distribution and customer-facing services, while Fingerprint will develop and manage the back-end technology and partnerships with top content providers and game developers from around the world.
‘This partnership is a watershed moment for both the industry and for Fingerprint,’ said Nancy MacIntyre, CEO and co-founder of Fingerprint. ‘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 is the world’s leader in the mobile learning market with revenues expected to reach a $6.8 billion by 2017. In fact, Asia currently accounts for almost half of the mobile learning revenues in the world.
‘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, 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.’
This mobile app network, powered by Fingerprint, is a bundled service that will feature a range of learning and entertainment games, apps and ebooks, localized in Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and English. As part of its expansive library, the Astro mobile app network will feature titles from the most celebrated developers around the world, including current fan favorites from Fingerprint’s network, such as Kids Learn Mandarin and Big Kid Life Firefighter, as well as Astro’s many successful properties like Happy Dragon and Oh My English! The service, available on iOS and Android, will be a featured bundle as part of Astro Digital 5, which provides mobile content, IPTV and interactive television services to Astro.
GiN spoke with MacIntyre earlier today about the news. In addition to getting into the largely untapped Asian market for kids games, she was most happy about what this move means for developers thinking about working with Fingerprint, and the new advantages the company can offer. "When a developer works with Fingerprint, their game can now go into any of our partner networks," she said. "In Asia, they are seeing a large adoption of tablets that can be used for gaming and learning apps. It’s a massive business opportunity."
MacIntyre said that Fingerprint does the initial translation of games on the English-speaking network, so that apps look and play the same on all of their partner sites. Someone searching for games available for Mandarin would presumably be using the portal in that language, so they would automatically be shown all the apps that were available for them in a seamless way.
Although there are no announcements yet about other sites or networks, MacIntyre said the company was working to expand its network across the globe, with each new acquisition giving developers an even greater chance for success with their kid-focused titles.