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05.06.14 Good morning. It’s Tuesday, May 6, 2014, and this is your first early morning briefing.
The wait is over. We’re delighted to announce our Cynopsis Kids’ 2014 Animation Innovators. Congratulations to: Steve Borst & Gary "Doodles" Di Raffaele, Co-Creators & Exec Producers of Nickelodeon’s Breadwinners; Traci Paige Johnson, Blue’s Clues Co-Creator and Co-Founder of Yummico; Joel Kuwahara, Co-Founder of Bento Box; and Cort Lane, VP of Animation Development & Production at Marvel Television. Look for Q&As with each Innovator in upcoming CynKids editions. Additionally, these creative pioneers will be on hand to share insights during a panel discussion at the third annual !magination Awards, 8-10am on June 11 in NY. The !magination Awards recognize the best in kids and family media. Don’t miss out–register to attend here.
Brian Robbins is one busy guy. Not only is he running DreamWorks-owned MCN AwesomenessTV, but Robbins is also heading up new YouTube channel DreamWorksTV, which will bow this summer featuring original live-action and animated family fare. First series that will debut on the channel is Jimmy Blue Shorts, exec-produced by Chris Hamilton and Zachary Aufdemberg; soon to follow are Fifi: Cat Therapist, penned, produced and directed by Mike Blum; and Gorillaville, exec-produced by Mike De Trana, Birkner Rawlings and Ron Yavnieli.
Nickelodeon is getting into short-form story-telling "in a big way" via the Nick App, Ron Geraci, EVP, research & planning, said at the Cable Show. Although the lion’s share of kids viewing remains tethered to the TV, "There’s room on some of those second screen platforms for experimentation," said Geraci. Nick "can use some of these platforms to test different types of formats," he said. "And we get immediate feedback of things that work that we can potentially develop into full-length programming."
Can we ever really get enough Stephen Hawking? Nerd Corps Entertainment and Pure Grass Films have enlisted the renowned theoretical physicist and his daughter, author Lucy Hawking, to develop a kids TV series based on the Hawkings’ New York Times best-selling George Greenby book series for kids. In early development, the animated series targets 5-9 year-olds and follows 11-year-old George Greenby and his friend Annie Bellis as they explore the far reaches of the universe, traveling through space and time with the help of a speech-capable "supercomputer with attitude" named Cosmos.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
What are you waiting for?
We’ve announced the Cynopsis Kids !magination Award finalists, Kids People Award winners and our 2014 Animation Innovators… now join us in saluting them at the Awards Breakfast! Date: June 11, 2013
Time: 8AM 10AM
Location: The Yale Club of NY – Register Here Questions?
Registration: Pete Romas; 203.899.8483 | Sponsorships: Mike Farina; 203.218.6480
Nick topped the Daytime Emmy tally, with 37 nods this year. Hub Network was second among cable nets with 24including Family Game Night’s Todd Newton for Outstanding Game Show Host–a record for the channel. Cartoon has 10 Emmy noms, and Disney Channel has eight. Litton Entertainment partnered in 11 of the Daytime Emmy noms, including the Born to Explore with Richard Wiese and Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin honors.
Talk about "baby steps." LeapFrog is getting into the kids wearable market with a watch-like fitness wristband called, you guessed it, the LeapBand. The $40 device, set to debut in August, is designed for kids ages 4-7 and offers commands like "wiggle like a worm," then rewards participation with points used to unlock gaming features housed on the band. Parents can monitor their kids’ activity through a website or app, and can select and amend the list of physical challenges.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment will get distribution rights to HIT Entertainment’s family content library–including Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Barney & Friends and Bob the Builder. Beginning Oct. 1 Universal can distribute, sell, and market HIT content in the U.S. and Canada across Blu-ray, DVD, electronic sell-through, SVOD and VOD platforms. The two companies will work together to distribute new content produced by HIT, including the upcoming Thomas & Friends feature length special, Tale of the Brave, due in fall 2014.
PBS Kids added another album to its digital music collection with the release of PBS Kids Presents: Peg and Cat’s Really Big Album. Downloadable on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, the album features 22 songs from the preschool show, designed to help further its math and problem-solving curriculum. PBS Kids has released seven music albums to date, including three albums from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and will have more to come this year.
With no thaw in sight, the Frozen soundtrack near-single-handedly helped Disney Music Group toppled Interscope Geffen A&M out of its spot for current market share. According to Billboard, Nielsen SoundScan data through April 27 puts Disney’s year-to-date 2014 market share for current albums at 6.7%, putting the Mouse House in fourth place behind Columbia Records (8.5%), Republic Records (7.9%) and Capitol Music Group (7.6%). For the same period in 2013, Disney’s market share was a mere 1.1%.
It’s going to be another Radio Disney kind of summer. Now in its third year, Radio Disney LIVE! events will touch down in 15 U.S. markets–including San Francisco, Minneapolis, Detroit, Dallas, Seattle and Atlantafrom May 17 through Sept. 20. The tour provides an opportunity for kids to meet Disney Channel and Disney XD stars, and to join the fun of a live version of Disney Channel’s Win, Lose or Draw. Among the stars scheduled in various markets are Olivia Holt (I Didn’t Do It), Leo Howard (Kickin’ It) and Billy Unger (Lab Rats).
Scholastic this week fires up its 2014 Summer Reading Challenge, a free, global reading program geared at motivating children to read throughout the out-of-school summer months by logging their reading minutes and earning rewards. This on the heels of launching two in-school services that provide access to a library of fiction and nonfiction e-books for kids in grades pre-K through 6: The subscription-based Storia School Edition grants a school access to a curated library of 2,000 well-known fiction and nonfiction ebooks for pre-K-grade 6. Core Clicks, a web-based instructional program for Kindergarten through grade 5, supports content area reading in social studies and science.
Disney Infinity is entering the Marvel Universe. The 2.0 incarnation of the toy-videogame hybrid will include a host of superheroes, with Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Hawkeye debuting out of the gate when the new game launches this fall, with some 15 more to come. Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes – will be available for the PlayStation4 and PlayStation3, Xbox One, the WiiU system, PC and iOS tablets and smart phones. The Marvel-ized game will also feature original stories written penned by Marvel comic writer Brian Michael Bendis.
Lucasfilm and Disney Publishing Worldwide are angling to hook a new generation on the Star Wars movie franchise. The two companies are releasing the Star Wars Journeys app series, which target kids ages 6-8 and with stories, games and background info about the characters and story concepts. The Phantom Menace is the first app in the line.
CSC Media licensed a bevvy of kids programming from 9 Story Entertainment. Content includes season one of Peg + Cat, season one of Wild Kratts and season three of Finding Stuff Out. The combined deal brings more than 75 half-hours of new programming to the U.K.-based broadcaster.
Sesame Workshop’s world is expanding, literally. On the heels of another recent hire in its international department, Lewis Kofsky joins as VP, International Creative & Global Interactive Strategy, overseeing the creative direction for Sesame Workshop’s international co-productions and initiatives. Kofsky previously served as Director of Game Services at Playnomics.
Weekend box office estimates for the 10 top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for April 25-27, 2014:
Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony) PG-13 $92 million (weekend) $92 million (1-week cume)
The Other Woman (20th Century Fox) PG-13 $14.20 million (weekend) $47.35 million (2-week cume)
Heaven Is For Real (TriStar Pictures) PG $8.70 million (weekend) $65.61 million (3-week cume)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Disney) PG-13 $7.76 million (weekend) $237.14 million (5-week cume)
Rio 2 (20th Century Fox) PG $7.60 million (weekend) $106.47 million (4-week cume)
Brick Mansions (Relativity Media) PG-13 $3.55 million (weekend) $15.48 million (2-week cume)
Divergent (Lionsgate) PG-13 $2.18 million (weekend) $142.66 million (7-week cume)
The Quiet Ones (Lionsgate) PG-13 $2.00 million (weekend) $6.76 million (2-week cume) $4.00 million (3-week cume)
God’s Not Dead (Freestyle Releasing) PG-13 $1.77 million (weekend) $55.56 million (5week cume)
Bears (Disney) G $1.62 million (weekend) $14.28 million (3-week cume)
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
This is your gateway to the must-have insights on next generation business models and strategies for developing and distributing quality digital programming.8:30am-4:00pm | June 19 | 10 on the Park, NYC | Early Bird Ends May 30 www.cyndigitalmonetization.com *Sponsors: FreeWheel & Hiro Media*
Answer to yesterday’s Trivia Question: What was the first-ever Nicktoon to air five days a week? CatDog. Lots of good guesses, none correct. Let’s try again…
Today’s Trivia Question: Which character in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood did Fred Rogers name after his adopted sister? (Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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