Subscriber numbers surge for Family Zone ahead of ‘freemium’ parental control product launch

Family Zone Cyber Safety ASX FZO SpotShield Hot Spotting freemium
In the past 6 months, Family Zone has added over 145,000 new wholesale accounts, with 65,000 becoming paying subscribers.

Kids online safety specialist Family Zone Cyber Safety (ASX: FZO) has reported a surge in subscribers to its wholesale business since launching a new parental control product trial with Telkomsel Indonesia earlier this year.

The company passed through 134,000 paying accounts following an increase in sign-ups, taking its total book value to 145,000 new wholesale accounts, with 65,000 attached as paying subscriptions.

Family Zone has been working closely with Telkomsel in the development and trialling of its Insights parental control product to test alternative services, onboarding, marketing and sales strategies.

Telkomsel is one of the world’s largest mobile operators, with over 194 million subscribers.

The telco provides services for more than 16 million children with smartphones and represents a “massive scale opportunity” for Family Zone products.

The trial targeted small customer samples and offered packages including free trials, monthly and 90-day plans and content subscriptions.

“Recent take-up, subscriptions and engagement are validating, exciting and reward for several years of effort developing a cyber safety ecosystem [which] adds value to parents, schools and telcos,” the company said.

Insights launch

Rising subscriber numbers bode well for the imminent launch of Insights, marketed as a “freemium” mass market parental control tool.

Set to be launched through the company’s direct and wholesale channels, it is a free service which leverages the power of the Family Zone platform to provide valuable reporting, location tracking and alert services to parents.

It is designed to be a mass acquisition tool and will be available for parents to download on their children’s devices.

It will also be included free when schools install Family Zone technology on their students’ devices, or when telcos and device manufacturers re-brand and bundle with Family Zone products.

Under this “go-to-market” model, schools, telcos and device manufacturers become Family Zone’s effective sales force, driving cyber safety messages and introducing the company’s premium paid services to their customers.

“Our Insights strategy allows [us] to more cost-effectively identify, connect and inform those parents who are the best candidates for the upsell of [our] premium services,” the company said.

“[We] believe this strategy will accelerate customer acquisition and significantly drive down the average cost of acquiring a customer.”

Product rollout

Insights is currently in the final stages of product delivery and Family Zone said it will announce specific go-to-market plans with Telkomsel in the coming weeks.

The company also plans to roll-out the product to other telco partners including PLDT & Smart Communications in the Phillipines, Maxis in Malaysia, and Vodafone and Barti in India.

The telcos boast a combined subscriber base of more than 1 billion, and an estimated child smartphone user base of 90 million.

Hotspot breakthrough

Earlier this week, Family Zone launched what it called a “breakthrough solution” for mobile hotspotting in schools at the EduTech 2019 education technology convention in Sydney.

Students use hotspotting to bypass filters in school IT systems and access restricted sites such as those relating to online gaming, social media and adult content.

The growing trend has implications for school duty of care and can ultimately impact school culture and learning outcomes.

Family Zone’s SpotShield product claims to “put schools back in control” by ensuring all devices used during school time are subject to an Acceptable Use policy, regardless of whether the device is connected to a mobile network, school WiFi or a third party WiFi (hotspot).

When SpotShield is enabled by a school, it forces students to install the Family Zone app and related applications on their devices when connecting to the school’s WiFi.

Once connected, the Family Zone platform engages with parents, offering opportunities to leverage the same applications to enable parental controls after school.

“Feedback [on SpotShield] from our school clients globally has been exceptional,” the company said.

“We believe this product will be a game changer.”

SpotShield will be made available to all existing and new school clients in the coming quarter.

At mid-afternoon, shares in Family Zone were trading 17.39% higher at $0.135.

Imelda Cotton has over 20 years experience as a journalist and communications professional. She has spent the bulk of her career in the resources sector, having also worked directly with oil and gas majors and as a journalist covering a vast array of ASX listed companies within the resources, energy, science and health sectors.