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What does ‘free’ mean?

We’ve had some good discussions, both inside Hopster and with our users, about the word ‘free’.

Nick Walters
Nick Walters - September 29, 2014

As our users will know, full access to Hopster isn’t free. It costs a small fee to access all of our TV shows and games.

But we do offer something for free – a selection of TV shows, which change every day, and some games. You can access these without ever paying anything. We do this so that people who haven’t used Hopster before can give it a try before deciding whether or not to pay.

We try to be really, really clear about this, so that no one ever feels misled. Our pricing is prominently set out in our app store descriptions and on our ‘Grown Ups’ screen.

‘But Hopster should be actually free!’ some people have said to us. ‘Like other apps, or videos on the internet.’

Well, we have two answers to that.

Firstly, we’re a business (or so our investors keep telling us). We have to pay for (deep breath) our staff, bits of technical kit, TV shows, game developers, educational experts, user testing, bandwidth to send video over the internet, marketing so that people find us, and every now and then a curry on Fridays. If we were ‘free free’, we couldn’t keep doing that for very long.

Secondly, what does ‘free’ really mean? Most ‘free’ services aren’t really free – they just make money from you in different ways. By advertising to you, or selling toys to your kids, or sharing your data with other people. You might not pay, but – in the jargon of the industry, you and your children are still ‘monetised.’

We’re not criticising services that do that. Many parents are fine with it. But we set out to offer something different with Hopster. That’s why we guarantee that in the Hopster app you’ll see no ads ever. And why we’ll never share your data with people you don’t want us to.

To do that, and hope to cover our costs one day, we need to charge a small fee. At about the price of a magazine each month, we think that’s fair.

That’s not to say that we’re perfect. If you think we could improve our price or the way we explain it, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know here.

So no, free trial aside, Hopster’s not free. But we try to be worth it.

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