02/23/15: YouTube’s new playground; family pranks in store for Disney XD; ZhuZhu Pets head to TV


Nickelodeon is All for One.

Nickelodeon meets viewers at every stop on their path to content. All-for-One programming means content flows freely across the Nickelodeon ecosystem. From popular shows to creative marketing messages, brands and IP reach consumers on multiple screens and platforms.


Good morning. It’s Monday February 23, 2015, and this is your first early morning briefing.


Confirming long-standing rumors, YouTube Kids officially launches today first only for Android smartphones and tablets (an Apple version is said to be in the works). The app will be free and separate from YT’s mainstream mobile app; it’s expected to feature kids TV content from companies including The Jim Henson Co., DreamWorks Animation and Reading Rainbow, plus some original content. Episodes available at launch include Thomas The Tank Engine, Sesame Street and Mother Goose Club. Content is arranged in categories and able to be managed via parental controls.


Nickelodeon’s Ecosystem Keeps Getting Bigger.

Nickelodeon has a powerful, 10-screen ecosystem that connects brands to our audience as well as Consumer Products, Movie Partnerships, Apps, Recreation, Social Media and Live Events.

Meryl Streep is resonating with the younger set. First-time nominees for the annual Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards include Streep (for her performance in Into the Woods), Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, Angelina Jolie, 5 Seconds of Summer, Channing Tatum, Meghan Trainor, Chris Pratt, Fifth Harmony, Jessie J, Liam Hemsworth, Imagine Dragons, Elle Fanning and Echosmith. Nick Jonas hosts the event, which airs Saturday, March 28, at 8p.

Technicolor acquired French independent animation producer OuiDo Productions a move that bridges Technicolor’s technology and production strengths with OuiDo’s licensing and development expertise. Headed by Sandrine Nguyen and Boris Hertzog, OuiDo has produced animation series including Alvinnn!!! & The Chipmunks, co-produced with Bagdasarian Productions; and Sonic Boom, a co-production with Sega for Cartoon Network.


Production company Essential 11 (Fools Gold, The Carbonaro Effect) and marblemedia (Japanizi: Going, Going, Gong!, Splatalot) are producing Made Up, a new hidden camera show created by Mark Herwick ( Code:9) and hosted by Andrew Chapman (Extreme Babysitting). The half-hour series will premiere later this year on Disney XD in the US and YTV in Canada. The action happens after a professional makeup artist renders teens unrecognizable to their families, then sets them loose to pull pranks on their parents and siblings.

Nelvana Studio is producing a new animated series based on the ZhuZhu Pets toy brand. In partnership with toy company Cepia, the hamster-centric brand will return to store shelves, with Nelvana Enterprises overseeing global merchandising of the brand in conjunction with series distribution.

Demi Lovato will voice the female lead, and exec produce the music score for the 3QU Media animated movie film Charming. Charming is an irreverent animated comedy that re-imagines the tales of three iconic princesses: Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, who find they are all engaged to the same prince.

Gaumont Animation secured the worldwide exclusive option to animation rights of iconic duo Laurel & Hardy, from Larry Harmon Pictures Corp. The studio will finance, produce and distribute a new 2D animated series based on the brand. It’s been nearly 50 years since Harmon and Hanna-Barbera produced the original animated cartoon series.


TV Success Anchors Nickelodeon’s All-for-One Strategy.

Nickelodeon has 8 of the top 10 shows for kids 2-11. TV is still the biggest platform and is at the center of Nickelodeon’s portfolio, reaching 87 million viewers a month.


Select nominees for the 2015 Radio Disney Music Awards will be announced in a televised special, Disney Channel Presents the 2015 RDMA Nomination Special, on Friday, Feb. 27, 7-7:30p.  Hosted by the Radio Disney on-air team, the special will feature appearances by Nick Jonas, Jessie J, Meghan Trainor, Olly Murs, and others. All categories and nominees will be highlighted on a Radio Disney nomination special, Feb. 28 5-7p ET/2-4p PT. The event airs April 26 on Disney Channel.


SVOD service Kidoodle.TV tapped three YouTube content creators for the latest additions to its programming suite. Youth-targeted Alex & The Kaleidoscope from True Blue Media Productions, Dinostory from Rainbow Songs and Tea Time with Tayla from BrighterMoon Productions will be available on the customizable Kidoodle.TV service in the coming weeks. 

Classic comic book character Richie Rich is getting a reboot by Netflix, which last week debuted a new half-hour sitcom featuring the richest kid in the world.

ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Thunderbirds Are Go co-producer Pukeko Pictures are teaming with BeyondTheStory to produce an app to support the upcoming Thunderbirds television series, which debuts this spring.


An expanded multiyear distribution deal between the Walt Disney Co. and DirecTV gives DirecTV subscribers access to WATCH ABC Family, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney Junior, WATCH Disney XD and other of the company’s authenticated products.


A second Chuggington app, We are the Chuggineers, is on the way from StoryToys, in partnership with Ludorum. Based on the TV series, the app features 17 pages of story, animation and illustrations; video clips from the TV show and four immersive 3D games.


In case you missed the biggest news from Toy Fair… Spin Master is the new global master toy partner for Cartoon Network brand The Powerpuff Girls. The company will anchor the licensing program for the next generation of the franchise, set to launch in 2016. The deal expands the two companies’ long-standing relationship; a PPG global retail rollout is slated to begin in fall 2016.

Nickelodeon is expanding its Paw Patrol toy line into categories including games, costumes and electronics. The series airs weekdays at noon. Licensees include American Greetings, Blip Toys, Bravo Sports, Cardinal Industries and Leapfrog.

Saban Brands is working with Bendon on a new line of merch to support its current Power Rangers season, Power Rangers Dino Charge. The line includes coloring and activity books, stickers and puzzles. Other new partners for Power Rangers merch include Bentex/Dreamwave, Bioworld, Intimo, Kids with Character and Threadless. The new PR season premiered Feb. 7 on Nickelodeon.

DHX Brands appointed VTech as licensee for interactive electronic toys for its Teletubbies brand. Product is set to debut in fall 2016 in the UK followed by other European territories.


Sinking Ship Entertainment sold its live-action multiplatform series Odd Squad to broadcasters including ABC 3 (Australia), SVT Barnkanalen (Sweden), NRK Super (Norway) and Gloob (Brazil.) Odd Squad launched in November in the States on PBS Kids.

The Jim Henson Co. licensed Doozers to several new international networks: France Televisions (France), RTVE for Clan (Spain), Dreamia (Portugal), AMC Networks International for Canal Panda (Spain), TV New Zealand, MediaCorp (Malaysia and Singapore) for its Okto Channel. Doozers debuted in the US in April 2014 as the first Hulu Original series for kids.


Mobile Business Growth is Integral to Nickelodeon’s All-for-One Strategy.

As kids keep consuming content across screens, Nickelodeon is there to meet them. Our mobile business has increased six-fold over the past two years.


9 Story Media Group named Jennifer McCann Director of Development. McCann previously was Creative Producer at Marathon Media, part of Zodiak Kids. Over the course of her career, she’s worked on shows including Totally Spies! and spinoff The Amazing Spiez!, and was part of the development and team behind Get Blake!, which is set to launch on Nickelodeon this year.

Disney Channels Worldwide elevated Sean Cocchia to EVP, Business Operations/GM. Cocchia had been SVP in the same role since 2011.

Jillianne Reinseth has been appointed VP, Creative Affairs, for eOne Family. She most recently served as VP of Creative Affairs for Nerd Corps Entertainment and held previous posts at Cookie Jar Entertainment, Studio B Productions, Chorion, The Walt Disney Company and Nickelodeon.


Weekend box office estimates for the top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for Feb. 20-22, 2015:

SpongeBob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water (20th Century Fox) PG $17.53 million (weekend) $67.11 million (3-week cume)
McFarland USA (Disney) PG $11.32 million (weekend) $11.32 million (1-week cume)
The Duff (Lionsgate) PG-13 $11.03 million (weekend) $11.03 million (1-week cume)
Jupiter Ascending (Warner Bros.) PG-13 $3.67 million (weekend) $39.52 million (3-week cume)
The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Co.) PG-13 $2.56 million (weekend) $83.91 million (13-week cume)
Paddington (The Weinstein Co.) PG $2.29 million (weekend) $67.66 million (5-week cume)
Still Alice (Sony Pictures Classics) PG-13 $2.16 million (weekend) $7.96 million (5-week cume)


Today’s Trivia Question: Richie Rich debuted in 1953 as a supporting character to which other comic book character? Email cathy@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)


Nickelodeon’s Lineup Continues To Resonate With Kids.

Nickelodeon has always had a unique connection with kids. Today, with the top 3 shows for kids 6-11, the popularity of our TV content remains the anchor of the Nickelodeon ecosystem.

Cheers — Cathy Applefeld Olson
Cathy@cynopsis.com for
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Nickelodeon Hits 300 Million Followers.

Social engagement continues to be an integral part of Nickelodeon’s ecosystem. Nickelodeon now has over 300 million social media followers, delivering more paths to reach and connect with consumers and fans than ever before.

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