April 15, 2024

Akili Network launched Akili Kids, Kenya’s first and only free-to-air TV station with educational entertainment for children and families. 

Today, Akili Kids is the number one most-watched TV channel in Kenya in households with kids under the age of 18, with a weekly viewership of over 6.7 million children and 4.8 million grownups watching along with them. 

Akili Kids has disrupted the Kenyan TV landscape by focusing on 24/7 children’s educational programming and has become the number one way to reach families and children in Kenya.

Akili Kids is also a safe, fun, and supplemental educational destination that focuses on entertaining and inspiring children of all ages and stages.

Guided by a community-based approach, Akili Network produces and broadcasts educational entertainment that supports key developmental areas — from critical thinking skills and literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), while supporting creativity, imagination, social-emotional skills, as well as child resilience and protection. 

Akili Network ensures that all programs and activities are developmentally appropriate, safe, and fun and offer important learning outcomes.

Akili Network broadcasts Akili Kids via free-to-air terrestrial TV, satellite (StarTimes, DStv, GOtv, Zuku), mobile (Safaicom’s Baze & K24 Plus App), and the Internet (https://akilikids.co.ke/watch, YouTube).

They have shifted prime-time viewing from evenings on the other channels to daytime between 6 am to 6 pm for children and families.

Akili Kids! has helped families weather the pandemic with a safe, fun, and educative destination that understands daytime is an essential viewing time for all members and ages, and families need safe, educative content to watch when everyone is at home together.

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Akili Network has proven that co-viewing (when children and caregivers watch together) is not a trend; it’s the new normal. By curating great programs that families can enjoy together, time spent in front of the television can make parent-child relationships stronger.

Akili Kids! continues to grow audience and market share, as the number one way to reach children, teens, Mums, Dads, and caregivers in Kenya.

How it Works

Akili Network ensures that every program on Akili Kids! has a learning outcome. When a child is engaging and having fun, she will be more open and receptive to learning moments and absorb new information.

Akili Network uses a ‘whole child’ approach to learning through media to support the self-actualization of our young viewers. 

They also want to stimulate and support their social, emotional, mental, and physical well-being, also as their cognitive development. 

They engage our younger and older audience members holistically, employing a content and commercial strategy that builds trust and safeguards safety and well-being.

Additionally, they are relevant and responsive in their approach. As a result, they have created a safe and trustworthy media space for children, youth, parents, and caregivers.

Akili Kids! programming is curated by their team of experts to engage, delight, and inspire all ages of children, from preschool early childhood-focused content blocks that introduce and engage kids with math, science, reading, Kiswahili, music, and social-emotional learning; to school-age and early teen content that will encourage curiosity, model positive relationships and build confidence.

They broadcast content 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to always show engaging programs that the children can see themselves in, each program embedded with learning outcomes, on the safest destination for Kenyan children on free-to-air television.

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Akili Kids! was designed to encourage co-viewing for all ages of children and parents/caregivers, with the goal being that the entire family might enjoy their programs together. 

Their parent engagement strategy on social media (via Facebook) is designed to support inquiry and promote conversation between parents and children. 

Founders

Jeff Schon

Jeff Schon

Jeff Schon is the CEO and Co-Founder of Akili.

Jeff Schon is a highly accomplished executive in the software, Internet, television, and educational publishing industries. 

Before Akili Network, Jeff was President of Massiverse LLC, VP of Educational Technology, of Scholastic Inc.; President/CEO of Grolier Interactive, Inc.; President/CEO of Living Books, LP; and VP of Production, of Hearst Entertainment.

Jeff has produced and directed documentaries for such non-profits as PBS and the National Film Board of Canada. Jeff’s productions have earned numerous awards, including eleven Emmy Awards.

Jeff holds a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College. He served as Chairman of the Board of St. Stephen’s School in Rome, Italy, and is a member of the Producers Guild of America New Media Council.

Jesse Soleil

Jesse Soleil

Jesse Soleil is the President and Co-Founder of Akili Network.

Jesse Soleil likes to make things, break things, and regularly suffers from “The Innovators’ Dilemma”. 

He’s founded and co-founded several startups including Akili Network, Massiverse, Spry Marketing Technologies (for Omnicom), Tomorrow Foundry, and TeacherTally. 

He spent 6 years at Omnicom as EVP, Global Director of Digital supporting agencies in 130 countries for Porter Novelli.

Jesse spent many years at Scholastic, the largest children’s publisher in the world, leading adaptive reading technology product development and their businesses for Scholastic Education; consumer R&D for the Lab for Informal Learning; and ultimately eScholastic, overseeing the $2B company’s digital division that included 14 eCommerce stores and scholastic.com.

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Jesse also has extensive creative experience designing video games, developing interactive toys, co-creating TV shows, and developing original IP that works across platforms.

Investors & Funding Rounds

 Rwanda Innovation Fund

The Rwanda Innovation Fund has invested in Akili Network, disrupting Africa’s education sector through smart technology.

The investment will increase Akili Network’s positive educational impact on African families and enable greater access and more local educational content.

The Rwanda Innovation Fund was officially launched in 2021, with the mission to back disruptive, innovative companies that deploy solutions to solve major sustainability challenges in Africa and provide answers to the dire needs of hundreds of millions of people across the continent.

Main Competitors

Ownzones Entertainment Technology: Ownzones Media Network is a provider of a digital content delivery and subscription platform.

Iyuno-SDI: Iyuno-SDI Group is the media and entertainment industry’s leading localization service provider.

PlayKids: This is a children’s entertainment platform that offers age-appropriate videos, e-books, nursery rhymes, games, and more.

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