‘Kids & Family’ Service Added to the Roku Channel

Roku has announced the addition of the “Kids & Family” service on the Roku Channel, making it easy for children and parents to find a selection of tailored content available for free and through premium subscriptions, according to the company.

In addition, Roku is rolling out parental control features for the Roku Channel.

“We recognize that it can be a challenge to find quality kids and family entertainment across multiple streaming channels, particularly free, ad-supported options,” said Rob Holmes, VP of programming and engagement, Roku, in a statement. “’Kids & Family’ not only provides a selection of great free, ad-supported content from partners like pocket.watch with ‘Ryan’s World’ and Lionsgate’s ‘Leapfrog,’ but also highlights kids’ entertainment from existing premium subscriptions partners. Parents looking to find great programming for their children will enjoy the ease of going to the Roku Channel as their one place for kids and family entertainment.”

“Kids & Family” delivers a blend of shows, movies, and live linear and short-form video typically found across multiple free and paid kids’ channels and brings them together to watch in a single place, according to a Roku release. In addition to free, ad-supported options, users who have already subscribed to premium subscriptions through the Roku Channel will be able to view subscription-based kids and family content from partners such as Hopster, Noggin and Zoomoo, as well as children’s entertainment from services such as HBO and Starz, directly within “Kids & Family.”

Roku’s in-house editorial team created the “Kids & Family” experience to feature series, movies and entertainment for kids, according to the release. It offers 7,000 free, ad-supported movies and TV episodes from more than 20 partners such as All Spark, A Hasbro Company, DHX Media, Happy Kids TV, Lionsgate, Mattel, Moonbug, and pocket.watch, among others. Programming includes  shows such as “Care Bears,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “Leapfrog,” “Little Baby Bum,” “My Little Pony,” “Rev & Roll,” “Super Mario Brothers” and “Thomas & Friends”; live/linear streams featuring 24/7 kids programming available from Moonbug, pocket.watch and partners powered by Xumo, including Ameba, BatteryPop and KidGenius; five exclusive episodes of 22-minute series “Ryan’s World” by pocket.watch available directly on the Roku Channel for the first time; and premium subscriptions from Blue Ant Media’s ZooMoo, CONtv, Dove Channel, HBO, Hopster, Noggin, Starz or Up Faith and Family through the Roku Channel, featuring such series as “Bubble Guppies,” “Dora the Explorer,” “PAW Patrol,” “Peppa Pig” and movies including Adventures of Elmo in Groucholand and Muppets Take Manhattan.

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“There is a tremendous opportunity to expand our reach with the quickly growing audience on the Roku Channel,” said Chris M. Williams, founder and CEO, pocket.watch, in a statement. “Family time is often enjoyed in the living room where Roku is so successful and we’re thrilled to bring our biggest creator partners, like Ryan from ‘Ryan’s World,’ into the heart of the home through the new pocket.watch channel.”

Kids & Family” will have approximately 40% of the advertising time of traditional linear television, according to Roku. Lego Systems has signed on as the first advertising sponsor of the service.

“Roku offers a custom experience that will help us connect with our kid and family audiences, who are consuming content on an evolving array of platforms,” said Michael McNally, senior director at the Lego Group, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be the exclusive sponsorship partner in ‘Kids & Family’ on The Roku Channel.”

PIN-based playback controls to the Roku Channel help parents set access limits to content based on ratings within the Roku Channel. If the setting is enabled, a PIN will be required in order to view videos on the Roku Channel based on the content rating.

“Kids & Family” is now available to users of the Roku Channel in the United States and will be available on Roku devices, via the Web and on select Samsung smart TVs that access the Roku Channel.

Nickelodeon Celebrates 20 Years of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ With 200-Episode DVD Set

Nickelodeon is celebrating 20 years of “SpongeBob SquarePants” with a special DVD collection, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Best 200 Episodes Ever!, comprised of two box-sets, available exclusively on Amazon Prime Day July 15.

The DVD collection will be available nationwide at other outlets Aug. 27 from Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Entertainment.

Each DVD set comes with the special-edition 20th anniversary “SpongeBob SquarePants” poster, which was created specifically for Nickelodeon for San Diego Comic-Con and features all 760 characters and creatures that have ever appeared on the show.

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The DVD collection contains SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Next 100 Episodes and features every deep-sea adventure from the first 200 episodes of the series.

PBS Kids Launches Spanish-Language Shows on Amazon Prime Video Channel

PBS Distribution has launched Spanish-language versions of a variety of PBS Kids programs on the PBS Kids Amazon Prime Video Channel.

Spanish-language versions of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Dinosaur Train,” “Scigirls,” “Cyberchase” and “Caillou” debuted on the PBS Kids Amazon Prime Video Channel May 24.

“We’re excited to expand our PBS KIDS channel offering to include a selection of episodes presented in Spanish,” said Andrea Downing, co-president, PBS Distribution, in a statement. “Our aim is to provide educational and entertaining programming for all kids, and this expansion helps further that mission.”

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The launch includes a total of 30 episodes of PBS Kids programming available in Spanish. Subscribers of the PBS Kids Amazon Prime Channel will not need to pay any extra fee for the newly available programs.

Nickelodeon Buys ‘Sparkler’ for Noggin SVOD Service

Nickelodeon March 29 announced the acquisition of children’s learning technology platform Sparkler for its branded Noggin subscription streaming video service.

Viacom-owned Nickelodeon named Sparkler co-founder Kristen Kane EVP for the preschool subscription service that features more than 1,500 full-length library episodes, short-form videos, Spanish-language videos and music videos.

Over the next year, Sparkler’s technology will be integrated into Noggin’s platform, enabling parents to guide and support their kids’ growth and development through playable content and experiences on and off screen, with personalized features that track progress over time.

Kane will oversee the integration of Sparkler and drive Noggin’s strategy and next phase of development as an educational digital platform. She will be based in New York and report to Brian Robbins, president of Nickelodeon.

“Pairing Sparkler’s capabilities with our curriculum-driven content will fully transform Noggin into a premier interactive learning destination for preschoolers and their families,” Robbins said in a statement. “Kristen brings extensive experience in the education and technology space, and she will help drive Noggin’s growth with an increased focus on delivering even greater value to our direct-to-consumer service.”

Subject to the terms of the transaction, Sparkler’s work with schools, healthcare providers, and social services providers will continue through a new non-profit organization called Sparkler Learning, and Viacom will support its mission of helping families give their children a strong start in life through partnerships with educators, doctors, and others serving young families.

Previously, Kane was the founding COO of Amplify, an education technology company dedicated to collaborating with educators to create learning experiences for students K-12. Prior to that, she was COO of the New York City Department of Education in the Bloomberg administration, responsible for the implementation of reforms and oversight of daily operations. Kane also served at the Federal Communications Commission, where she led the development of strategies for applying broadband technologies in the education, healthcare, and energy sectors.

Since its launch in 2015, Noggin has ranked among one of the Top 10 Kids Apps on the Free Apps chart on the App Store, in addition to the No. 1 grossing app for music and video in the family category on Google Play. Noggin was also selected by Apple as an Apple TV app of the year.

Since launching in 2015, Noggin subscriptions have grown by triple digits from 2017 to 2018, and the service is currently available for iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Android, Fire tablet and Roku devices, as well as on Amazon’s Prime Video Channels and The Roku Channel.

 

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‘Ready Jet Go!: Chasing the Sun,’ ‘Wild Kratts: The Briny Blue Sea’ Coming to DVD April 9 From PBS

Four episodes of “Wild Kratts” and eight episodes of “Ready Jet Go!” are racing to DVD April 9 from PBS Distribution.

In Ready Jet Go!: Chasing the Sun, kids learn about the sun as Jet and friends discover that the sun is actually a star in the episode “Our Sun is a Star.” Then Jet and his friends turn their treehouse into their own observatory in “Treehouse Observatory.” They build their own telescope to observe the nighttime sky. In “Galileo, Galileo!” Mindy tells Jet she can see the sun move across the sky. Jet has to explain to her that the sun isn’t moving, it’s the earth moving around the sun. Other episodes on this DVD include: “Just the Right Distance From the Sun,” “Solar Power Rover,” “Mindy’s Bedtime,” “Sunspot’s Sunspot” and “How We Found Your Sun.”

In Wild Kratts: The Briny Blue Sea, kids have some underwater adventures with Chris and Martin Kratt. In the episode “Osprey,” Jimmy accidentally drops the keys to the Tortuga into the ocean. Chris, Martin and Aviva are on a race to develop osprey creature powers to find the keys before they disappear forever. Then in the episode “Sea Otter Swim,” the Wild Kratts take time out for a swim but Jimmy reveals that he’s not a strong swimmer. Martin and Chris take Jimmy to meet his own personal swimming tutor — a sea otter named Coach. Other episodes included on the DVD are “Puffin Rescue” and “Aye Aye.”

Netflix Eyeing Content Deal Involving Late Children’s Author Roald Dahl

Netflix reportedly is about acquire exclusive streaming rights to late author Roald Dahl’s extensive library of renowned children’s books, including George’s Marvellous Medicine, Boy and Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits, among others.

Dahl’s books have reportedly sold more than 200 million copies globally.

The deal — first reported by Sky News in the United Kingdom — would enable Netflix to create original animated and live-action children’s content. It would also be a feather in the cap for Melissa Cobb, VP of kids and family entertainment, who was specifically hired away from DreamWorks Animation last year to up the SVOD pioneer’s profile in children’s programming.

“We know that there is no one type of family,” Cobb said earlier this month when Netflix announced an ambitious family-friendly program slate going forward. “We embrace all kinds of creators, so we can tell unique and diverse stories that resonate with each and every Netflix family.”

While details of the agreement with The Roald Dahl Story Co. remain under wraps, Netflix has made no secret its desire to spend top dollar acquiring IP exclusivity.

The service, which ended its most-recent fiscal period with 130 million paid subscribers worldwide, in late October raised $2 billion in a bond (debt) sale earmarked for capital expenditures.

Netflix also ended the quarter with $18.6 billion in third-party content obligations, excluding $8.3 billion in long-term debt.

Nickelodeon ‘Paw Patrol’ DVD Available Exclusively at Walmart Ahead of TV Debut

Nickelodeon’s TV movie Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups will be available exclusively at Walmart on DVD Sept. 11 ahead of its TV debut.

The DVD of the 44-minute program retails at $17.99 and includes a digital copy on Vudu.

In this mission, the Paw Patrol are given Mighty Pup powers after a mysterious meteor lands in Adventure Bay. When Mayor Humdinger and his nephew trap Ryder and steal the meteor to take over the city, the pups must work together and use their new powers to race to the rescue and save the day.

Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups is produced by Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and distributed by Paramount Home Media Distribution.