PBS has created an online neighborhood for preschoolers, the latest of a growing number of subscription-based educational sites.
The service, PBS Kids Play!, opens today for a free beta trial period. It’s designed to let children 3 to 6 play and learn with the help of characters such as Curious George and The Berenstain Bears. Activities will be added every week featuring Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends and characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
When the trial ends before spring, the service will cost $9.95 a month or $79 a year. PBS expects some local TV affiliates to offer it at a discount or free to donors.
PBS Kids senior vice president Lesli Rotenberg says charging for online programming is “a new direction that is much more convenient for consumers” than packaged media such as CD-ROMs.