Apple TV+ Orders Kids Series ‘Jane’

Apple TV+ has ordered “Jane,” a series for kids and families inspired by Jane Goodall.

From Emmy Award winner J.J. Johnson, Sinking Ship Entertainment and the Jane Goodall Institute, “Jane” follows Jane Garcia, a 10-year-old girl with an active imagination. Through pretend play, Jane and her trusty teammates work to protect an endangered animal in each episode because, according to her idol Jane Goodall, “Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, can they be saved.”

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From Sinking Ship Entertainment, “Jane,” a live-action/CGI blended series, is created and executive produced by company partner J.J. Johnson, with the Jane Goodall Institute also serving as executive producers.

Report: Kids Multitask While Watching Video

Children are consuming increasing amounts of content from a wider variety of sources, and often multitasking to fit more in, according to new data from Futuresource Consulting.

In a study of 9,800 consumer interviews carried out with children aged between three and 16 years in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Mexico, the U.K. and U.S., London-based Futuresource found  multi-tasking is becoming the norm for entertainment consumption, with 52% of children in the survey saying they engage with another device while watching TV.

Of these, 61% play video games, 32% watch video on a second screen and 28% are on social media.

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“Children are constantly finding more time for entertainment consumption,” Carl Hibbert, associate director at Futuresource Consulting, said in a statement. “From watching online video, to playing video games; from consuming music, to interacting with social media, the hours of engagement continue to climb.”

Despite a rise in non-video activities, this does not seem to be cannibalizing TV viewing on a large scale. Linear TV is still reported as the most popular viewing platform in China, France and Germany across all age ranges, with free online video becoming increasingly important for kids of 11 and above.

In the U.K. and U.S., SVOD and free online video consumption is becoming comparable to free linear TV. In Brazil and Mexico, there is a significant migration towards new media, with free online video the most popular viewing platform across all ages.

According to the study, 45% of parents stated ease of use was the main feature as to why their child used a specific video platform. It ranked number one across kids that used linear TV, free online video and transactional video services, ahead of the quantity of content available recognised/preferred brand and safer content.

“As an example, our survey shows that children who interact with TikTok, the free social media app that lets you watch, create, and share short videos, [most respondents] are looking for a combination of consumption and creation,” Hibbert said.

 

HBO Max Orders Unscripted Kids Competition Shows

WarnerMedia’s pending subscription video service, HBO Max, has ordered eight episodes each of two unscripted kids competition series, “Karma” and “Craftopia.

Michelle Khare

“Karma”will be hosted by Michelle Khare, an extreme lifestyle enthusiast with almost 2 million followers on YouTube, and half-hour series “Craftopia,” hosted by Lauren Riihimakia.k.a. LaurDIYone of YouTube’s top creators with over 21 million followers across all her social platforms.

Both social media personalities are known for inspiring their followers to think creatively and follow their dreams, according to HBO.

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“We are giving kids an opportunity to show us their absolute best as they strive for excellence in both challenging and creative situations,” Jennifer O’Connell, EVP, original content, HBO Max, said in a statement.

“Karma” takes 16 contestants, ranging in age from 12 to 15, completely off the grid to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges, with the laws of karma setting the rules.

Lauren Riihimaki

In “Craftopia,” contestants aged from nine to 15-years-old put their imaginations to work making creations from materials acquired at the studio “store.” Production will begin later this year.

“Kids are so incredibly inventive,” said Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher, executive producers of ‘Craftopia.'” “They look at an empty cardboard box and a paper towel roll and see a pirate ship with a telescope.”

HBO Max launches in early 2020.

Reports: Kids Still Covet the Boob Tube

In an age of portable media, children’s fixation with screen time has increased exponentially. Yet, new research suggests kids still gravitate to the old-fashion television — with no discernible damage to their health.

Comparing pre-mobile device usage in 1997 to when mobile devices were widely available in 2014, the study — by the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work at Florida International University — found that television consumption still significantly outpaced mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets.

“There is growing concern over the amount of time that children, particularly very young children, spend watching shows and in front of screens,” Weiwei Chen, assistant professor in the department of health policy and management, said in a statement. “Our findings were surprising as it feels like mobile devices are omnipresent, but televisions are still the most common way for young children to consume media.”

The study, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that the average amount of screen time in 1997 for children up to the age of 2 was 1.3 hours, while children between the ages of 3 and 5 spent about 2.5 hours a day on screens. By 2014, children up to the age of 2 were using screens an average of 3 hours per day — more than double the amount of time. It was found that children aged 3 to 5 did not have a significant increase.

Jessica Adler, assistant professor in the department of history, in the Steven J. Green School of international and public affairs, said the study  reinforces the belief that a variety of characteristics, such as education and income levels, relate to screen use.

“Further research is needed, once data become available, to assess changes in media consumption and device use in more recent years,” Adler said.

In a separate study, chief medical officers in the United Kingdom said there wasn’t enough evidence to support screen time guidelines for children.

However, they recommended a precautionary approach — including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s Screen Time Guidance — in addition to schools, government and technology companies’ actions to protect children and young people from too much screen time exposure.

“While there is a lack of evidence to suggest that screen time itself is harmful, the content and context of what children are viewing is paramount,” said RCPCH president Russell Viner.

Viner said parents should make decisions about screen time based on their child’s development and health, and whether they are getting enough exercise and sleep.

“It remains a question of balance, as it is when screen use gets in the way or restricts other activities that a child’s well-being can be negatively impacted,” he said.

 

Survey: One in Five U.S. Children Under 6 Own a Smartphone

One in five U.S. children (20%) between the ages of 1 and 6 own a smartphone, according to a survey from Decluttr.com.

Decluttr.com, a service to sell unwanted items online, surveyed 1,007 U.S. parents about smartphones and children.

In the survey, 29% of parents said they spent more than $100 on their 1 to 6-year-old’s smartphone. Half of parents in the survey agreed the most appropriate age for a child to own a phone is between 10 and 13 years old. The majority (83%) said their children spent up to 21 hours per week on their phones, and 68% of parents said they have not placed limitations on their children’s smartphones

Among the group of parents with young children (1 to 6), respondents said phones are often used for entertainment, such as playing games and watching videos.

Most parents spend up to $200 on their child’s first phone, with 75 percent of parents opting for a new phone versus a refurbished option. While keeping in touch and safety reign as the top reasons parents purchase phones for their children, most children are receiving new phones from top smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple.

Additional data found that among parents whose children currently have their own phones, 87 percent said their kids spend up to 21 hours per week on their devices. Beyond messaging and calls, kids use their phones to play games (45%) and watch videos (37%).

Seventy-one percent of parents have not capped the amount of time their children spend on their phones, but 76 percent closely monitor it. About half (47%) said they allow internet capabilities to be enabled.