highlightsWhat do you do if you’re a classic children’s print magazine in an era when all the kids have migrated to digital entertainment? You try to go digital yourself, of course. And 70-year-old children’s magazine Highlights is going digital in a big way.

TechCrunch reports that Highlights has launched iOS and Android apps called Highlights Every Day. But since kids are now into multimedia entertainment pursuits, this app goes beyond being just another print e-zine. Apart from stories and articles, it will also feature videos, games, and other activities. Highlights is partnering with children’s mobile app developer Fingerprint to build out the application.

Much like LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow revival, the new Highlights digital platform is being sold as a monthly subscription. But whereas Reading Rainbow is a fairly inexpensive $50 if you subscribe for a whole year, Highlights is going to run a hefty $7.99 per month—nearly twice as much, and almost as costly as services like Netflix or Hulu. The app service has a free 7-day trial to start out, for parents who want to try it.

But like TechCrunch, I wonder many parents are going to want to shell out that kind of money, especially considering how many websites and apps there are for kids that don’t cost anything after the first purchase? (I asked my sister-in-law if she thought her kids would use it, and she replied, “We prefer apps that stay free. If I’m going to pay for it, it has to be amazing.”)

And for that matter, how many kids are going to be interested in something that’s so obviously “edutainment”? I remember not being terribly impressed with the original Highlights magazine when I encountered it in doctor’s office waiting rooms and the like in my youth, as it always came off as a bit too patronizingly didactic for my liking.

I wonder how many print magazines for adults have tried to reinvent themselves as multimedia activity applications? Is that sort of thing “just for kids” these days, and we grownups will simply read print and like it?


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