‘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.

Hulu to Premiere New Kids’ Animated Series ‘The Bravest Knight’ June 21

Hulu June 21 will premiere the first five episodes of a 13-episode order of the new Hulu Original animated kids’ series “The Bravest Knight.”

Based on children’s book by Daniel Errico, The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived, the story chronicles a young pumpkin farmer’s adventure as he attempts to become the bravest knight who ever lived. The new series features a household with two dads (Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew), making it one of the first children’s television series with an openly gay main character, according to a Hulu press release.

Hulu “continues to be a supporter of LGBTQ content and creators,” according to the release.

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Sir Cedric, now grown and married to the prince of his dreams, shares the story with his adopted 10-year-old daughter Nia of how he transformed from farmer to knight. Nia, who is training to become a knight herself, learns important values such as honor, justice and compassion.

The cast includes T.R. Knight as Sir Cedric, Bobby Moynihan as young Cedric’s troll sidekick Grunt and Storm Reid as Nia. The show also features the voice talents of RuPaul, Christine Baranski, Wanda Sykes, Wilson Cruz, Teri Polo, Steven Weber, Donna Murphy, AJ McLean, Dot-Marie Jones, Maz Jobrani, Chance Hurstfield and others.

Netflix Acquires Kids Property StoryBots

Netflix has acquired the StoryBots property, the Emmy, Annie, and Parents’ Choice award-winning children’s media brand created by Gregg and Evan Spiridellis.

The brothers have entered into an overall deal with Netflix to significantly expand the universe of the StoryBots. Netflix and the Spiridellis brothers will produce more StoryBots original programming, such as series and short form specials, while also expanding the brand into new areas, according to a Netflix press release.

“The acquisition is a sign of Netflix’s commitment to bring educational content to its growing member base of kids and families around the world,” according to the release.

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The audience for the Netflix original animated series “Ask the StoryBots” has “grown significantly year over year since it first started streaming in 2016,” according to the release.

The series makes use of multiple formats, including 3D, 2D, claymation, stop motion and live action and features guest stars such as Snoop Dogg, Edward Norton, Whoopi Goldberg and Wanda Sykes. It takes kids on a journey to seek answers to questions such as, “Why is the sky blue?” and “How does night happen?”

“’Ask The StoryBots’ has a proven track record of synthesizing complex subjects into bite-sized lessons that are funny and entertaining for young kids and satisfying for parents,” said Netflix VP of original animation Melissa Cobb in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome Gregg and Evan into the Netflix family and look forward to building out the wonderful and whimsical StoryBots world, finding new ways to delight our growing member base of families around the world.”

“Together with Netflix, our goal is to make StoryBots the leading educational entertainment brand for connected kids and families globally,” said StoryBots co-founders Evan and Gregg Spiridellis in a statement. “We want kids from Argentina to Zambia growing up laughing and learning with StoryBots that feel native to their culture. We see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring something epically good into the world.”

Season three of “Ask the StoryBots” launches on Netflix this Fall.