09/17/14: Soho Square eyes the small screen, Little Airplane Orders Up P.King Duckling, Arthur heads into season 18


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, September 17, 2014, and this is your first early morning briefing.


Soho Square Studios is launching a television production arm, Soho Square Productions, and they have big plans for kids and family entertainment. First project is a preschool CG animated show created with Keith Chapman (Paw Patrol, Bob the Builder, Fifi and the Flowertots), which will get a preview at MIPCOM. Soho partners Kim Goody and Alan Coates have worked on more than 100 film and television shows including Moshi Monsters: The Movie, Postman Pat and Little Charley Bear.

While we probably don’t need a study to tell us mothers’ reliance on mobile devices is on the rise, a new report from pregnancy and parenting website BabyCenter, U.S. Mobile Mom 2014 Report: Mobile Powers Mom’s Life, provides some interesting details. Based on polling of 1,118 U.S. women ages 18 and up who were either pregnant or had children up to 8 years old, the report finds 88% of mothers have a smartphone, and 46% of them said they would return home if they forgot their cell phone, but not if they forgot their wallet. This marks a 26% increase over similar responses in 2013. Among other findings:
*  67% of moms say they use their smartphone to entertain their children, more than double the amount who did so in 2013.
*  50% of moms say they shop online for their kids
*  48% get parenting information from a smartphone.

In an average day, a typical mom uses her smartphone or tablet to:
*  Send 26 text messages
*  Send 14 instant messages
*  Use social media platforms 15 times

The most common activities for moms on their smart phones:
* Texting  99%
* Social media – 88%
* Playing games  66%
* Watching videos  65%
* Participating in online parenting communities  60%


Little Airplane Productions (The Wonder Pets!, 3rd & Bird) and Chinese production partner UYoung are immersed in animated preschooler series P.King Duckling. Chronicling the adventures of an intrepid but hapless duck, the series was created by Little Airplane president Josh Selig and will debut at MIP Junior. The partnership is the second time Little Airplane has linked up with Asian partners; the studio previously created Super Wings! With FunnyFlux Entertainment and QianQi Animation.

Is one teen’s trash another teen’s treasure? Brain Power Studio, Rollman Entertainment and Go Girl Media are co-producing Trashionista, a live-action teen/tween-skewed lifestyle series that celebrates the importance of eco-sensitivity, up-cycling, creativity, and individuality. In each episode the hosts create fun and functional crafts using discarded items found in and around the home. They also get pop-ins from “eco-celebrities” from TV, film, music and sports. Rotating segments include “Garbage Chic,” drawing on inspiration from catwalk, and “Dr. Denim,” taking old jeans and completely reinventing them.

Montreal-based Sardine Productions has signed a deal with Corus Entertainment’s Teletoon to produce the original series Toonmart Marty. An original idea by creators Robin Balzano, Pascale Beaulieu, Paul Stoica and Frederick Wolfe, the project is the outcome of a script writing workshop offered by l’INIS and supported by Teletoon from its inception. When Toonmart poster boy Marty is zapped to life in a freak accident, his life changes forever, and a cartoon party ensues.

Ink Global will present its new animated series Zafari at MIP Junior. Created by David Dozoretz (Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump), the inclusivity-themed series tells the story of a group of animal friends who have all been magically born with the skin of other animals.


Amazon Studios continues to bump up its next season of pilots, ordering another comedy based on the children’s books The Kicks. David Babcock (Dharma & Greg) will write the show. Other pilots announced from Amazon include Salem Rogers: Model of the Year 1988, Down Dog and five kid’s series.

Join us on Oct. 16 for the Cynopsis Future TV Summit as experts share the latest business and advertising models for success. Early bird registration ends Friday, September 26! Register today to secure the lowest rate: http://www.cynopsisfuturetvsummit.com.

Add U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to celebs sharing mobile videos for Cartoon Network’s “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” week, launching Monday, Sept. 29, to kick of National Bullying Prevention Month. The officials shared their videos at www.StopBullyingSpeakUp.com. Other notables who’ve supported the initiative so far include: Howie Mandel, Scooter Braun, Sam Champion, Henry Winkler, Grant Hill and Anderson Cooper.


Arthur is heading into its 18th season. The aardvark and his pals return to PBS kids Sept. 29. This season, imaginations run wild as Arthur and friends embark on new adventures including parodies of film noir, The Wizard of Oz, and The Tell-Tale Heart. The Arthur website is loaded up with new fun and educational games, lesson plans, and activities; and the Arthur Family Health Website helps build and maintain healthy living habits.

Get ready for a third season of animated series Angelo Rules, from London-based distributor Cake and France-based animation studio TeamTO. Slated for 52 new eps, the third season is currently in production and will be launched next year. France Televisions has signed on as the commissioning broadcaster, and broadcast deals are locked in with Cartoon Network International and Super RTL. Targeting kids 6-11, the series follows expert manipulator Angelo, a genius with a knack for sweet-talking his way out of trouble.


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Brand new Fox Saturday-morning syndicated block Xploration Station will be available to stream on the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus the day after they air on broadcast. The four-hour block of STEM-inspired programs is produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions and debuted last Saturday, Sept. 13, on Fox-owned stations and affiliates in 80% of the country. Xploration Station shows include: Xploration Awesome Planet, hosted by Philippe Cousteau; Xploration Outer Space, Xploration Earth 2050, and Xploration Animal Science. “It’s important to have the shows on Hulu, where they can be easily accessed by adults and kids alike,” executive producer Steve Rotfeld said. “There’s an entire universe of interested viewers who cannot or will not watch the broadcast airings.  For that reason, we anticipate that the show will be very popular as streaming content where people can watch according to their own schedules.”

Spain-based Imira Entertainment series Lola & Virginia is now available on Hulu throughout North America thanks to a new deal brokered by U.S. distributor Viva Pictures Distribution. The animated sitcom follows 12-year-old “local princess” Lola, whose life takes a turn when new girl Virginia shows up in town. The series first became available in the States on Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant.


Discoverability is one of the biggest hurdles for children’s app developers. BabyFirst this week launched a program that can help improve App Store discovery through promotion on the BabyFirst television network, which reaches 81 million viewers worldwide, as well as its new mobile recommendation platform that will be curated by well renowned authorities in early childhood education and psychology. Additionally, BabyFirst is on the lookout for apps it can produce as a television series. Thus far the company has produced two app-based TV series–Ookii’s World, which launched Sept. 8, and The KneeBouncers Show, which launched Aug. 11. Developers interested in submitting an app can go to www.babyfirsttv.com/developers.

Microsoft’s $2.5 billion purchase of Minecraft creator Mojang AB will add the popular building gamewhich has raked in 100 million downloads on PCs–to its family of devices including Xbox and Playstation. Microsoft plans to expand more sophisticated worlds and development tools. Employees of Sweden-based Mojang will join Microsoft Studios.

Ocean House Media on Sept. 18 will introduce a new free digital book app Little Critter Library. The subscription service, exclusive to iOS, gives users unlimited access to dozens of beloved Mercer Mayer titles that address many important issues about growing up.

The Google Chromecast has been updated to include apps from Disney, Twitch and DramaFever. The new Disney apps include Watch Disney, Watch Disney Junior and Watch Disney XD TV Everywhere. Chromecast now offers more than 350 apps, including Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus and more.


Entertainment One is partnering with tumuv to create a Peppa Pig-branded physical activity program for preschoolers. Developed by eOne’s Licensing division and tumuv, the Move with Peppa program will launch initially in six Places for People Leisure centers in the U.K. in January.


The Simpsons are headed to China. Following a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, online video service Sohu Video is now the first official China-based home of Springfield. The multiyear deal includes the Chinese premiere of season 26, which begins in the U.S. on Sept. 28, and marks the first time in the series’ record-breaking 25-year history that the antics of Homer, Marge and company are officially available throughout China, subtitled in Mandarin. During the past two decades, the series has been licensed to more than 180 countries, reaching over 190 million weekly viewers.
Zodiak Kids secured a package deal with Al Jazeera for more than 75 hours of programming for their Arabic children’s channels JeemTV and Baraem TV across the Middle East and North Africa. Al Jazeera licensed broadcast rights to The Ranch, and the third seasons of both Rekkit Rabbit and Horrid Henry.  In addition, they have also relicensed Monster Buster Club and seasons 2 and 3 of Escape from Scorpion Island.

Matt Hatter Chronicles strengthens its foothold in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe with Platinum Films’ new deal for season three with Cartoon Network and toy company the Simba Dickie Group. The third season will launch next spring.

Jetpack Distribution will be representing the TV and licensing rights in CEEMEA for Guru Studio’s preschool show Justin Time. Jetpack, created by Samka Productions, Nerdcorps Entertainment and Gardiner Entertainment, will distribute the series across Central Eastern Europe, the Middle East & Africa. The first two series have been aired on some of the top kids broadcast platforms worldwide and Guru Studio currently have a third series in development.

9 Story Entertainment signed multiple deals for Slap Happy Cartoons’ animated comedy Nerds and Monsters. New licenses include TVE (Spain), Canal+ Family (France and Africa), E-Junior (UAE), Noga (Israel) and MBC Kids (Middle East).

Spiral International, a subsidiary of Etcetera Group, is now responsible for launching Genius Brands International’s animated series across all media throughout Latin America.

Entertainment One Licensing signed 20-plus new partners to the Peppa Pig licensing program in France, including Diset, Educa Borras, Ravensburger and Taldec.


Michael Ouweleen has been upped to CMO for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang. He’ll report to Christina Miller, President/GM who oversees the portfolio of media properties. Ouweleen most recently was SVP and executive creative director for Cartoon Network’s Creative Group.

International growth at The Jim Henson Co. has led to an expanded role for Richard Goldsmith, recently promoted to EVP of Global Distribution and International Consumer Products, adding the company’s international consumer products business to his distribution responsibilities. Goldsmith joined the company in September 2011. Additionally, Francesca Stobbe joins Henson in the role of Executive Director of International Consumer Products. Stobbe previously worked for 10 years in various capacities at The Walt Disney Company. 

North Carolina teacher Patrick Efird, a consistent contest winner of the Disney Infinity game, has been hired by the game studio to expand Infinity’s Toy Box features. The second version of the interactive game hits retail this week, with additions including Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and other Marvel superheroes.


Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of Sept. 8-14, 2014

K2-11 Total Programming Day

K2-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K2-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K6-11 Total Programming Day

K6-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K6-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K9-14 Total Programming Day

K9-14 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K9-14  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

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

K2-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of Sept. 8-14, 2104
9/13/14/Alvin and the Chipmunks/DSNY/7:30-9:10p/1587
9/11/14/Steven Universe/TOON/6:30-7p/1312
9/11/14/Teen Titans Go!/TOON/6-6:30p/1270
9/14/14/Alvin and the Chipmunks/DSNY/12:30-2:10p/1233
9/12/14/Gravity Falls/DSNY/9-9:30p/1224
9/12/14/Girl Meets World/DSNY/8:3-90p/1214
9/13/14/Dog With A Blog/DSNY/9:10-9:35p/1183
9/13/14/Sofia the First/DSNY/8:30-8:55a/1170
9/11/14/Amazing World of Gumball/TOON/7-7:30p/1163
9/13/14/Lab Rats/DSNY/10-10:30p/1163

K6-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of Sept. 1-7, 2014
9/13/14/Alvin and the Chipmunks/DSNY/7:30-9:10p/1260
9/11/14/Teen Titans Go!/TOON/6-6:30p/1014
9/11/14/Steven Universe/TOON/6:30-7p/1010
9/12/14/Gravity Falls/DSNY/9-9:30p/959
9/12/14/Girl Meets World/DSNY/8:30-9p/955
9/14/14/Alvin and the Chipmunks/DSNY/12:30-2:10p/923
9/13/14/Dog With A Blog/DSNY/9:10-9:35p/916
9/13/14/The Thundermans/NICK/9-9:30p/907
9/13/14/Lab Rats/DSNY/10-10:30p/887
9/11/14/Amazing World Of Gumball/TOON/7-7:30p/856

Source: Turner Research based on Total US Television Universe of 115,800,000 homes.

Weekend box office estimates for the top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for Sept. 12-14, 2014:

No Good Deed (Sony) PG-13 $24.5 million (weekend) $24.5 million (1-week cume)
Dolphin Tale 2 ( Warner Bros.) PG $16.55 million (weekend) $16.55 million (1-week cume)
Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney) PG-13  $8.04 million (weekend) $305.93 million (7-week cume)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Paramount) PG-13 $4.8 million (weekend) $181.04 million (6-week cume)
If I Stay (Warner Bros.) PG-13 $4.05 million (weekend) $44.94 million (4-week cume)
The Giver (The Weinstein Co.) PG-13 $2.63 million (weekend) $41.33 million (4-week cume)
The Hundred-Foot Journey (Disney) PG $2.66 million (weekend) $49.41 million (6-week cume)
When the Game Stands Tall (Sony Pictures) PG $2.38 million (weekend) $26.55 million (4-week cume)


Answer to last week’s Trivia Question: Who created and narrated the original Clangers series? Oliver Postgate Kudos to: Decia Lane, Kilogrammedia, UK.

Today’s Trivia Question: What’s the name of the town where Arthur the aardvark lives? 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
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