03/11/15: PlayMobil accelerates commitment to debut series; Disney’s new Best Friends; Family streaming service Feeln ups originals, holiday fare



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CYNOPSISKIDS!
03.11.15

Good morning. It’s Wednesday March 11, 2015, and this is your first early morning briefing.

TODAY’S TOP NEWS

Production is already underway on a second season of Super 4, PlayMobil’s foray into kids programming, before the series even begins airing in the U.S. Aimed at kids 5-9, it will debut here on Netflix in April after a successful launch in markets including France and the U.K. Co-produced with Morgen Studios and Method Animation, it introduces four characters whose adventures occur in a distinctly PlayMobil universe. A Super 4-specific merchandise line is on its way to market, too. PlayMobil USA marketing coordinator Sarah Blair-Miller and marketing manager Mary Lombardo tell CynKids about the decisions leading up to the move.

Why is Netflix the best outlet for Super 4 vs. a traditional TV network?
SBM:
They’re a natural partner for this type of content because the platform suits the flexibility the family lifestyle demands.

Do you have a long-term content development deal with them?
ML:
Right now we have exclusivity with Netflix for the first season, [but] it’s not in any way connected to any future content. That doesn’t mean we won’t be working with them again, but the deal is for this season only.

What can a programming extension do for a legacy toy line, and vice versa?
ML:
This is not an all-new brand for PlayMobil but an expansion of our current brand. It uses PlayMobil scenes and figures and now there’s a story line kids can build off of. It’s a great opportunity to reward existing fans and win over new customers.

Are there other content extensions in the works?
SBM:
That’s definitely an avenue we’re exploring as a global company. But it’s not something to be taken lightly.

PRODUCTION NOTES

Disney Channel gave a direct-to-series-order to time-traveling comedy series Best Friends Whenever, starring Landry Bender (Crash & Bernstein), newcomer Lauren Taylor and Gus Kamp (Deadtime Stories: The Beast of Baskerville). Premiere will be this summer. The series was created by Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas (both of Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja). Michael Kaplan (Dog With A Blog), Elinoff and Thomas are executive producers.

Nickelodeon renewed live-action comedies Bella and the Bulldogs for season two, and The Thundermans for a third season. Year-to-date, Bella is the No. 1 show on the network with premieres averaging 2 million total viewers. Since its season two launch, The Thundermans averages 1.1 million for K2-11.

DHX Television is heading to the drawing board after ordering the new animated comedy adventure series Fangbone! from Radical Sheep Productions. Production is under way on 52 x 11-minute episodes of the series, based on the graphic novel series Fangbone: Third Grade Barbarian by Michael Rex. DHX Television plans to debut the series on Disney XD Canada in spring 2016.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is joining the voice cast of Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels, which already includes her husband Freddie Prinze Jr. Gellar will have a recurring role on the animated series.

Nickelodeon is partnering with Get Schooled, a nonprofit co-founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Viacom, to award a $25,000 scholarship to one animator aged 17-24 for an original animated short he or she creates. Applicants are required to submit an animated short in any format; 13-16 years-olds are invited to submit a theme-based looping animation for the chance to win prizes, such as a tablet with animation software. Full guidelines will be available in April and winners announced this summer. For more info, check out www.getschooled.com.

PROGRAMMING PICKS

Host Nick Jonas will perform on Nickelodeon’s 28th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards, airing Sunday, March 28 at 8p. Also taking the stage: Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Hudson and Aussie band 5 Seconds of Summer.

Season five of My Little Pony trots to Discovery Family Saturday, April 4, with back-to-back premiere eps beginning at 11a. The net promises a season “full of Cutie Mark Magic.” Heidi Klum (Project Runway) guested on the just-completed two-part season three finale, which aired Saturday, March 7, at noon and 12:30p. Klum voiced Blythe’s newest friends, a high-energy day camper named Lady Yodely of the Heidi, who has a strong passion for yodeling.

Four days and eight new eps of comedy series will roll out on Disney Channel during the net’s Tune In 4 What?! Promotion running Thursday, March 26-Sunday, March 29. Included are new eps of Jessie guest-starring the NBA’s Chris Paul, Austin & Ally guest-starring Maddie Ziegler (Dance Moms), Liv and Maddie guest-starring Jordan Fisher (Teen Beach 2), and the season finale of Girl Meets World.

Join us for the annual Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast on Thursday, April 16 from 8:00-10:00am at the New York Athletic Club. We will honor four executives who have changed the way their sports entities connect with fans around the country: NHL’s Gary B. Bettman, Univision Deportes Juan Carlos Rodriguez, CBS Sports Sean McManus, and Gatorade CMO Morgan Flatley. Register here.

DIGITAL UPDATE

The Kurio line of Android devices for kids will now come preloaded with the YouTube Kids app thanks to a new deal between KD Interactive and Google. Existing Kurio users can now find the YouTube Kids app in the Content Management section. The first Kurio tablet was introduced in fall 2012.  Kurio Xtreme, a 7-inch wifi-enabled Android 4.4. tablet, is the current model available.
 
The Wiggles
’ program Ready, Steady, Wiggle is headed to Hulu. In an agreement with Australian Broadcasting Corp., Hulu will exclusively premiere the 104 episodes from the Australian program for U.S. subscribers. Hulu also recently snagged SVOD rights to Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins, Bunnytown and non-exclusive streaming rights to Handy Manny.

Look for an increase in holiday fare and original programming from Hallmark-owned family movie streaming service Feeln, which curates movies rated PG-13 or lower aimed at family viewing. Rebranded last fall from its original moniker Spirit Clips, the subscription-based service ($4.99/month or $47.99/year) is available on Samsung TV, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, and apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. The sweet spot is families with kids 8-17, says Mark Cregar, SVP, marketing & distribution; fodder includes Annie, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Spy Kids and age-appropriate Hallmark Hall of Fame films. The Hallmark content accounts for 20 percent of the service’s offerings. “We have classics parents want to share with their kids and newer films too. It’s definitely about family viewing, not content only the kids would want to watch.” Cregar says “holiday is definitely a peak” category, noting, “We’ve had a strong holiday offering and plan to have more holiday this year.” Original content, such primarily short-form titles such as Rainbow Brite, are also performing well. “Originals are going to be an even bigger part going forward,” Cregar says. “We’ve been producing a lot of short films; we plan to go more toward longer-form original content.” The service was developed by Academy Award-winning producer Rob Fried (Rudy, Hoosiers).


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


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GAMES & APPS

Disney has been talking up plans to up the ante on its theme park-related content. Show Your Disney Side, a new free photo transformation app for iPhone and iTouch, enables users pick a Disney Parks character, take a selfie and then tap and swipe to watch their Disney Side come to life with special effects. The Show Your Disney Side app was created by app developer Tyffon, a participant in the 2014 Disney Accelerator program.

Amazon is ramping up its mobile gaming division, rolling out recent acquisitions and multiple original games on Apple devices. For the first time, four different Amazon Game Studios titles will come to the iOS world, including horror game Lost Within, sci-fi adventure Tales From Deep Space, haunted adventure Til Morning’s Light and arcade game To-Fu Fury. Until now, the company’s mobile games have been available only on Fire TV and other devices within the Fire family. Created with game studios such as Wayforward Technologies and Frontier Developments, Amazon intends to charge a premium price tag of $6.99 per game, a decision that goes against the current free-for-play trend in the mobile gaming industry.

Boston-based Playrific will produce an app for iOS and Android devices for the Deer Little Forest preschool property. The deal marks the brand’s first foray in the U.S. market. The property is also being developed as a series with King Rollo Films (Poppy Cat, Mama Mirabelle, Maisy). All licensing rights are managed by Lisa Hryniewicz at Koko Media; licensing rights are represented in the U.S. by Think Tank Emporium.

IN MEMORIAM

Sam Simon, the co-creator of The Simpsons and dedicated animal rights activist, died Monday after a long battle with cancer. He was 59. Simon was a nine-time Emmy winner for his work on The Simpsons and The Tracey Ullman Show. 

EXECUTIVE MOVES

 
Saban Brands
appointed Zofia Karpinska as Director of Distribution, Emerging Markets. In this newly created role, Karpinska will spearhead content deal TV negotiations, digital distribution and home entertainment for the Eastern European market. She most recently worked at 3DD Entertainment Limited as Head of Sales and Co-Production.

Animation studio 41 Entertainment appointed Anna Kislevitz as Senior Manager, Licensing and Merchandising.  Kislevitz joins the company after holding previous positions at Evolution Europe, Winning Moves International (Hasbro) and Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising.
 
Summer Infant, which makes products for the 0-3 set, appointed Robert Stebenne President and COO. He is a current Summer Infant board member, who spent 20 years at Hasbro Industries.

BY THE NUMBERS

Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of March 2-8, 2015

K2-11 Total Programming Day
Network/Rating/000s
NICK/2.2/667
DSNY/2.0/612
TOON/1.6/498
DSJR/1.3/311
NAN/0.8/237
NKJR/0.7/174
BOOM/0.7/105
ADSM/0.6/176
DXD/0.5/132
SPRT/0.5/83

K2-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)
Network/Rating/000s
DSNY/3.0/921
DSJR/1.6/383
NAN/1.4/422
BOOM/1.1/172
NKJR/0.9/218
DXD/0.7/191
ADSM/0.6/199
NKTN/0.6/130
SPRT/0.6/111
TNNK/0.4/86

K2-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)
Network/Rating/000s
NICK/2.2/667
DSNY/2.1/651
TOON/1.6/498
DSJR/1.4/353
NAN/1.1/348
NKJR/0.9/219
DXD/0.6/150
BOOM/0.6/97
SPRT/0.5/88
NKTN/0.4/82

K6-11 Total Programming Day
Network/Rating/000s
DSNY/2.1/405
NICK/1.9/356
TOON/1.8/336
NAN/0.9/177
ADSM/0.6/115
DXD/0.6/99
BOOM/0.654
DSJR/0.5/74
TNNK/0.4/57
NKTN/0.4/52

K6-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)
Network/Rating/000s
DSNY/3.7/712
NAN/1.7/315
BOOM/1.0/95
DXD/0.9/153
ADSM/0.7/129
NKTN/0.7/86
DSJR/0.6/96
TNNK/0.5/75
NKJR/0.4/63
USA/0.3/65

K6-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)
Network/Rating/000s
DSNY/2.1/405
NICK/1.9/356
TOON/1.8/336
NAN/1.4/261
DXD/0.7/111
DSJR/0.5/77
BOOM/0.5/49
TNNK/0.4/64
NKJR/0.4/54
NKTN/0.4/51

K9-14 Total Programming Day
Network/Ratings/000s
DSNY/1.9/381
TOON/1.2/239
NICK/1.2/234
ADSM/0.7/143
NAN/0.7/139
DXD/0.5/84
TNNK/0.4/67
MTV/0.3/57
NKTN/0.3/37
BOOM/0.3/30

K9-14 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)
Network/Rating/000s
DSNY/3.0/599
NAN/1.2/241
ADSM/0.8/166
DXD/0.6/113
TNNK/0.6/87
BOOM/0.5/50
AMC/0.4/87
USA/0.4/84
FAM/0.4/76
MTV/0.4/71

K9-14  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)
Network/Rating/000s
DSNY/1.8/357
TOON/1.2/239
NICK/1.2/234
NAN/1.0/200
DXD/0.5/86
TNNK/0.5/71
MTV/0.3/59
NKTN/0.3/36
BOOM/0.3/27
FAM/0.2/38

Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research National MIT, ranked on coverage ratings
Viewing Type: Live + Same Day

Weekend box office estimates for the top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for March 6-8, 2015:

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) PG $8.54 million (weekend) $8.54 million (1-week cume)
SpongeBob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water (20th Century Fox) PG $6.66 million (weekend) $148.66 million (5-week cume)
McFarland USA (Disney) PG $5.22 million (weekend) $29.33 million (3-week cume)
The Lazarus Effect (Relativity Media) PG-13 $5.08 million (weekend) $17.38 million (2-week cume)
The Duff (Lionsgate) PG-13 $4.79 million (weekend) $26.05 million (3-week cume)
Still Alice (Sony Pictures Classics) PG-13 $1.58 million (weekend) $14.65 million (7-week cume)


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


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TRIVIA

Answer to last week’s Trivia: What was the name of the title character’s talking goldfish in the series Stanley? Dennis. Congrats to: Christine Ferrara WBZ-TV/WSBK-TV, Boston; Lindsay Garber, Splash Entertainment, Woodland Hills, CA.

Today’s Trivia Question: What was Sarah Michelle Gellar’s first movie? Email cathy@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Cheers — Cathy Applefeld Olson
Cathy@cynopsis.com for
Cynopsis Kids!
03.11.15

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