Monday, December 5th, 2011

Cynopsis: Kids!

Good morning. It’s Monday, December 5, 2011, and this your first early morning briefing.

Answering a few questions this week is Stacey Matthias, Co-CEO of Insight Strategy Group, which prior to this week was known as Insight Research Group.  Matthias co-founded Insight Strategy Group in 1998 with Boaz Mourad.  A human development expert, prior to this she worked for Applied Research Consulting (ARC), and before that for Sach’s Insights, where she managed research studies on interactive applications.  Before stepping into the research arena Matthias developed educational software for HyperStudio, and taught in a Head Start Classroom.  She is currently a Ph.D candidate at CUNY in Developmental Psychology.  Matthias and Mourad live in NYC with their two daughters.

You’ve worked a range of kid-centric clients, including Crayola, Nickelodeon, Corus Entertainment and Scholastic, among many others, what are these companies looking for when they come to your firm?

The common denominator is that our clients want to build beloved brands and successful businesses while doing right by kids.  We believe our job is to help our clients to create inspiring experiences for children  experiences that help kids have fun while doing the work of growing up.

What is the biggest challenge for you about doing research with kids to make sure that you are getting honest and useful responses?

The biggest challenge is to make the research fun for kids.  We know we get the clearest, most honest responses when kids are truly engaged.  So as much as possible, we try to integrate play and “data collection.”

In addition, the key is to meet kids where they are developmentally we tailor our research approach to the age group we are studying based on what we know about where they are in their cognitive, emotional and physical development.  For instance, we may ask a 3 year old, who is still a very concrete thinker, to express their opinion of a TV show or product by pointing at pictures of kids with happy or sad faces.  For a 10 year old who has more sophisticated cognitive abilities we can ask them to sort, prioritize and engage in abstract exercises like “if this toy was a country what would it be like to live there?”

As you say on your website, kids are different.  How does doing research with kids differ from doing the same with adults  or specifically their parents?

In terms of research techniques, what works well with kids works with adults, but the reverse is not true.  So we find our kid techniques often migrate to our adult practice!  For example, inspired by a method we used with children, we asked women to role play with dolls to gain insight into their perspective on evolving gender roles.

In terms of the parent/child dynamic, we find that parents know their kids well, of course, but often can’t predict what their kids will like or why they will like it.  We often talk to parents and kids together, and then separate them to get a reaction to a new concept, show or product.  This will reveal disparities like yesterday a mom said a show was “too dark and too scary” while at the same time her son was telling us “It’s awesome because [the good guy] really has to fight for what’s right and do the right thing.  I like how he is brave even though the [the bad guy] is so super strong and scary.”

You are co-CEO with Boaz Mourad (also your husband), how does that work? I love my husband, but doubt I could work in the same office with him every day…

It is funny, because at this point it is hard to imagine not working together! It’s a true partnership in our relationship, as parents, and at work.  I feel lucky to have a business partner (and husband) for whom I have so much trust and respect.  In both work and as a couple, we think alike in many many ways, and are also quite different from each other which provides a healthy balance.  I think we are both considered to be pretty strong thinkers, but I play the idealist and he plays the realist (except when it comes to vacations, then we switch).  It’s a yin/yang thang.

Have you ever had a situation where the kids in research said one thing and the product was released and the public response was vastly different?

Never.  Just kidding.  People ask this question a lot, and it’s tough because it is not a simple linear relationship.  Many factors impact how a product or media property comes to market the marketing behind it, how it is executed in the end, what the competition is doing at time of release, what expectations for success are for the client, etc.  All this being said, we usually have a pretty strong sense of the flops and the winners early on.  A big part of what we do is reduce risk by helping to identify things that aren’t working and to inform how to improve them before they come to market.

You grew up moving around a lot, spending much of that time traveling in a VW bus.  How did that experience inform what you do now?

Life is funny.  I think my nomadic upbringing made me a sort of social scientist at a young age.  Moving around to different regions of the country and living in their different sub-cultures, I always had to figure out which social norms stayed the same and which ones changed.  Of course this wasn’t conscious of it at the time, but as I entered into a new school or town I was trying to decipher “How do people in this place work? What are the rules?”  My husband and partner moved around a lot too, so we have this in common.

I have personally sat in a lot of research rooms and have heard lots of strange and funny things. What is the funniest or wildest thing a kid has ever said during a focus group?

Well this wasn’t a kid, but last week a mom emailed us a picture of her kid’s poop on the floor.  That was unprecedented.

So moms can be wacky (as well as wise).  Kids are usually cute and profound at the same time.  Like describing SpongeBob as “nerdy in a good way” or in response to the line “nobody is perfect.”  A 6 year old responds, “That’s not true.  Everyone is perfect.”

Ummmmm – interesting, I can honestly say that is unique.  Did the mom indicate that this had anything to do with what you were talking about in the focus group?

I have to protect client confidentiality, but suffice to say we are doing a study on how things are movin’.


Disney Channel is looking for viewers to help choose a name for the new member of Good Luck Charlie‘s Duncan family, who will be born spring 2012.  The network revealed the coming of the new baby at the end of its newest original TV movie Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas (December 2, 2011), during which it invited viewers to select a baby name from a list of ten names now through December 16 at


Nickelodeon Australia hosts the Australian premiere of the new CG animated series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness tonight at 5p, as part of the network’s Kick Butt Week.  Co-produced by Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation SKG, the series is based on DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda movies and features the Lucy Liu and James Hong reprising their roles as the voices of Viper and Mr. Ping respectively.  New episodes of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness will premiere from Monday, February 20 at 4:30pm.  Nickelodeon Australia’s Kick Butt Week programming event runs Monday-Friday, December 5-12, 4:30p-7p, and features new episodes The Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and The Troop, as well as episodes of T.U.F.F. Puppy and Supah Ninjas.

Vancouver-based animation studio Rainmaker Entertainment names US-based management and production company Circle of Confusion to represent and grow its brand and business (including its animated characters and properties) across multiple platforms.  Circle of Confusion’s David Alpert and Ken Freimann will work with Rainmaker’s Catherine Winder to identify new properties and talent for the digital and emerging platforms including online, mobile and social media, while also further its animated movie slate to a new level.  Rainmaker Entertainment (f/k/a Mainframe Entertainment) is currently in production on Escape From Planet Earth, an animated feature film that will be distributed The Weinstein Company in 2012, and which features voiceover cast including Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker and James Gandolfini.

Sweety High, a new creativity-centric social game and lifestyle community targeted to girls 8-16 has gone live.  Designed to provide girls with an opportunity to express themselves creatively through user generated original content of all sorts, Sweety High, was co-founded by Frank Simonetti, a film and TV writer/producer/director and graphic designer, and Veronica Zelle, a music video producer and developer.  Sweety High is COPPA compliant.  On the site girls 8-16 can acquire virtual currency (goods) and earn real world rewards and experiences by taking part in Sweety High’s various creative activities (e.g. videos, acting, singing and dancing, journalism, animation and creative writing).  Girls can also gather virtual “Hearts” to unlock exclusive programming, contests and “Be a Star” opportunities as they progress through the game’s 40+ levels, during which they can earn a chance to participate in various career industries through the Be a Star program offered every eight weeks.  Through the current Be a Star opportunity, Make your Way to the Runway, one girl will get the chance to meet fashion experts, design an outfit that will be produced by Bebop Clothing and featured in Sweety High’s series Glam Squad, produced by Sweety High Productions.

JibJab adds sound to its JibJab Jr. Books app.  The JibJab Jr. bookstore plans to have nine titles available by the end of the year including two seasonal titles, Snow Much Fun and Saving Christmas, which will be followed closely by the girl-targeted Perfect Princess Day.  The JibJab Jr. Books app lets parents create personalized storybooks featuring their kid’s name and face.  Free to download from iTunes app store, the app comes bundled with one free book, The Biggest Pizza Ever.  Additional books are available for $3.99 with a monthly membership, or $7.99 each if purchased individually.

Hess Corporation releases the second edition of its Hess Toy Truck game app, Hess Racer Game, on Android.  Based on the 2011 Hess Toy Truck and Race Car, the game app, which debuted last month for iOS devices and Facebook, allows users to play quick and short games and earn more rewards, and provides a social media and sharing experience.  Players can choose from two vehicles and three courses, and the chance to collect trading cards with one another.  An enhanced multiplayer function on Facebook allows friends to challenge each other to beat their high score.

Hey, over here.  The first annual Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards is currently for accepting submissions for your preschool, kid and tween targeted TV series, TV movies, and websites, apps and games, and the marketing, public relations and advertising campaigns that supports that content.  To find out more about the Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards.  To enter the Cynopsis: Kids !magination Awards your kid-targeted content or support campaign must have taken place (in part or in full) between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011.  We look forward to seeing your entry and honoring the winners at the June 2012 Awards ceremony in New York City.


Weekend Box Office Estimates for kids/tweens/teens rated G, PG or PG-13; December 2-4, 2011:
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Summit) PG-13      $16.9m-3 wk total $242.3m
The Muppets (Disney) PG                                               $11.2m-2 wk total $56.1m
Hugo (Paramount) PG                                                    $7.6m-2 wk total $25.2m
Arthur Christmas (Sony) PG                                           $7.4m-2 wk total $25.3m
Happy Feet 2 (Warner Bros.) PG                                     $6.0m-3 wk total $51.8m
Jack and Jill (Sony) PG                                                   $5.5m-4 wk total $64.3m
Tower Heist (Universal) PG-13                                        $4.1m-5 wk total $70.8m
Puss In Boots (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) PG     $3.1m-6 wk total $139.5m
Moneyball (Sony) PG-13                                                 $585,000-11 wk total $73.8m
In Time (Fox) PG-13                                                      $575,000-6 wk total $35.9m
Source: Rentrak ( )


Canada’s Breakthrough Entertainment jumps into the feature film distribution with the debut of its film acquisition and sales division.  Breakthrough’s Marina Cordoni has been appointed to head the new film as VP/Movies, overseeing all film acquisitions and distribution.  Breakthrough’s film unit will represent independently produced movies across all channels of distribution including broadcast, home entertainment and digital platforms as well as manage each title’s theatrical release.  The new operation will also manage theatrical feature distribution in Canada.  The initial six film titles on Breakthrough’s slate are not aimed at kid/family audiences. Cordoni joined Breakthrough Entertainment in 2005 to oversee development, financing and distribution of original and third party produced feature films and TV movies.  She previously served in senior executive positions with Norstar Filmed Entertainment, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (UK, US) and Virgin Vision Entertainment (UK).


Last Friday, December 2, 2011, Disney Channel premiered both a new original TV movie, Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas (8p) and its new series Austin & Ally (9:30p).

  • The debut of Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas was watched by 6.9 million Total Viewers, 3.3 million K6-11, and 2.4 million Tweens 9-14.  The debut becomes the most viewed live-action cable movie of the 2011 in Total Viewers and the top scripted live-action telecast with K6-11.  The TV movie premiere was sponsored by Nintendo Mario Cart 7.
  • The series launch of Austin & Ally, which immediately followed the Good Luck Charlie movie, bowed with 5.6 million Total Viewers, 2.7 million K6-11, and 2.1 million Tweens 9-14.  Austin & Ally will now air regularly on Sundays at 8p.

Top 10 Combined Broadcast/Basic Cable shows among Kids 2-11 for the week of 11/14-12/21/11 , 6a-6a:
K2-11                                          Total Delivery (000)
DSNY*:  Jessie (11/18; 9p)                                   2628
NICK:    SpongeBob SquarePants (11/19; 10:30a)  2408
NICK:    SpongeBob SquarePants (11/19; 9:30a)    2406
NICK:    SpongeBob SquarePants (11/19; 10a)       2364
NICK:    SpongeBob SquarePants (11/19; 9a)         2312
DSNY*:  Pixie Hollow Games (11/19; 7p)               2289
DSNY*:  Phineas and Ferb (11/18; 9:30-9:45p)     2238
DSNY*:  Good Luck Charlie (11/20; 8p)                 2212
DSNY*:  A.N.T. Farm (11/18; 8:30p)                     2118
DSNY*:  Shake It Up (11/20; 8:30p)                     2021
Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research Data
*Disney Channel is not spot ad-supported, although it does accept select sponsors.

Top 10 Combined Broadcast/Basic Cable shows among Kids 6-11 for the week of 11/14-12/21/11 , 6a-6a:
K6-11                                               Total Delivery (000)
DSNY*:  Jessie (11/18; 9p)                                        2156
DSNY*:  Good Luck Charlie (11/20; 8p)                       1820
DSNY*:  Phineas and Ferb (11/18; 9:30-9:45p)           1773
DSNY*:  A.N.T. Farm (11/18; 8:30p)                           1700
DSNY*:  Shake It Up (11/20; 8:30p)                           1642
DSNY*:  Wizards of Waverly Place (11/18; 8p)             1520
DSNY*:  Beverly Hills Chihuahua (11/14; 8:30-10:05p) 1495
DSNY*:  Fish Hooks (11/18; 9:45-10p)                        1483
DSNY*:  Good Luck Charlie (11/15; 6:30p)                   1392
NICK:    SpongeBob SquarePants (11/19; 9a)               1392
Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research Data
*Disney Channel is not spot ad-supported, although it does accept select sponsors.

Top 10 Combined Broadcast/Basic Cable shows among Tweens 9-14 for the week of 11/14-12/21/11 , 6a-6a:
Tweens 9-14                                     Total Delivery (000)
DSNY*:  Good Luck Charlie (11/20; 8p)                       1658
DSNY*:  Jessie (11/18; 9p)                                         1591
DSNY*:  Shake It Up (11/20; 8:30p)                           1500
DSNY*:  A.N.T. Farm (11/18; 8:30p)                           1328
DSNY*:  Beverly Hills Chihuahua (11/14; 8:30-10:05p) 1290
DSNY*:  Phineas and Ferb (11/18; 9:30-9:45p)            1245
DSNY*:  Wizards of Waverly Place (11/18; 8p)              1244
DSNY*:  Good Luck Charlie (11/14; 7:30p)                   1194
DSNY*:  Geek Charming (11/17; 8:30-10:20p)             1155
DSNY*:  A.N.T. Farm (11/20; 9p)                                 1124
Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research Data
*Disney Channel is not spot ad-supported, although it does accept select sponsors.

Top 10 Combined Broadcast/Basic Cable shows among Teens 12-17 for the week of 11/14-12/21/11 , 6a-6a:
Teens 12-17                                     Total Delivery (000)
ABC:      American Music Awards (11/20; 8-11:01p)     1111
DSNY*:  Good Luck Charlie (11/20; 8p)                         852
NBC:      Sunday Night Football (11/20; 8:32-11:30p)    840
CBS:      NFL National (11/20; 4:24p-Various)                818
FOX:      NFL Single (11/20; 1:03p-Various)                   758
DSNY*:  Shake It Up (11/20; 8:30p)                             753
FOX:      Family Guy (11/20; 8:59-9:30p)                      724
DSNY*:  Geek Charming (11/17; 8:30-10:20p)              659
DSNY*:  Jessie (11/18; 9p)                                          682
FOX:      Glee (11/15; 8-9p)                                         672
Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research Data
*Disney Channel is not spot ad-supported, although it does accept select sponsors.
**Abbreviation for Adult Swim, which airs on Cartoon Network

Final K6-11 Ratings for Saturday, November 26, 2011 Broadcast Networks only (Live + SD Data):
Source: Disney Research from Nielsen Media Research Data
CW (Toonzai) 0.6/3 Avg. (7a-12p)
Magi-Nation 0.2/2; Magi-Nation 0.4/4; Sonic X 0.6/5; Sonic X 0.9/5; Yu-Gi-Oh 0.7/4; Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal 0.7/3; Dragon Ball Z Kai 0.6/3; Dragon Ball Z Kai 0.7/3; Tai Chi Chasers 0.5/2; Yu-Gi-Oh 0.5/2
NBC (Qubo on NBC) Avg. 0.3/1 (10a-1p)
Turbo Dogs 0.4/2; Shelldon 0.3/1; Magic School Bus 0.3/1; Babar 0.2/1; Willa’s Wild Life 0.2/1; Pearlie 0.2/1
CBS (CookieJarTV) 0.2/1 Avg. (7-10a/10a-12p)
Doodlebops Rockin Road Show 0.2/1; Doodlebops Rockin Road Show 0.3/1; Busytown Mysteries 0.2/1; Danger Rangers 0.1/1; Busytown Mysteries 0.2/1; Horseland 0.2/1

Final K6-11 Ratings for Saturday, November 26, 2011 Cable Networks only (Live + SD Data):
Source: Disney Research from Nielsen Media Research Data
DISNEY CHANNEL 3.2/17 Avg. (7a-1p)
Jake and the Never Land Pirates 1.8/18; Pixie Hollow Games 2.0/15; Jessie 2.6/16; Jessie 3.4/17; Jessie 3.9/18; Phineas and Ferb 4.2/18; Fish Hooks 3.2/13; Jessie 3.4/15; A.N.T. Farm 4.4/19; Wizards of Waverly Place 3.8/16
NICKELODEON 3.0/16 Avg. (7a-1p)
Kung Fu Panda 1.4/18; Kung Fu Panda 1.9/19; SpongeBob SquarePants 2.0/16; SpongeBob SquarePants 2.7/16; SpongeBob SquarePants 3.5/18; SpongeBob SquarePants 3.9/18; SpongeBob SquarePants 3.9/17; SpongeBob SquarePants 4.0/17; Penguins of Madagascar 3.5/15; T.U.F.F. Puppy 3.2/14; Power Rangers Samurai: Clash of the Red Rangers (1×60) 2.8/12
CARTOON NETWORK 1.8/9 Avg. (7a-1p)
Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 1.3/16; Generator Rex 1.5/15; Star Wars: Clone Wars 1.8/14; Beyblade: Metal Masters 2.0/12; Pokemon: Black & White 2.3/12; Redakai: Conquer the Kairu 1.6/7; Bakugan: Mechtanium Surge 1.4/6; Tom & Jerry (1×37) 1.6/7; Tom & Jerry: Sherlock Holmes (1×59) 2.0/9; Shrek (1×112) 2.3/10
DISNEY XD 0.7/4 Avg. (7a-1p)
Chicken Little (1×105) 0.4/4; Phineas and Ferb Shorts (1×15) 0.7/4; Pixar Short Films (120 minutes) 0.7/3; Up (1×120) 1.0/4

Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Thursday, December 1, 2011, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
DISNEY CHANNEL:    K2-11 876; K6-11 483; TWEENS 9-14 355
NICKELODEON:         K2-11 748; K6-11 301; TWEENS 9-14 197
CARTOON NETWORK: K2-11 388; K6-11 248; TWEENS 9-14 217
DISNEY XD:               K2-11 188; K6-11 127; TWEENS 9-14 103
NICKTOONS:              K2-11   90; K6-11   60; TWEENS 9-14   46
Source: MTVN Research from Nielsen Media Research Data



Cynopsis: Kids !magination Award

From the most outstanding achievements in content creation, marketing & promotion,Cynopsis: Kids !magination Awards honor the best in kids international programming and marketing. This unique awards program from the industry’s most trusted brand, Cynopsis Media, raises the bar on what’s good on and about TV.

Entry Deadline: January 11, 2012  |   Late Submissions: January 20, 2012
Awards Event: June 2012 (NYC)

Learn about the Awards Program & Enter:

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:  The Jetsons took place in what year? 2062. Kudos to: David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NYC; Jim Salicrup-Papercutz/NYC; Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg, M and S Entertainment, Inc/LA.

Today’s Trivia Question: What sitcom character was Shaggy from Scooby Doo based upon? (Email with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)

Later — Gwen
Gwen Billings for Cynopsis Kids!

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CYNOPSIS Good morning. It’s Thursday July 19, 2018 and this is your first early morning briefing.   Tonight’s Premieres: A&E: Live PD Presents: PD Cam at 10p BET: The Grand Hustle at 10p Cooking: Seaside Snacks & Shacks at 10p FX: Snowfall at 10p Great American Country: Lakefront Bargain Hunt at 9p […]

07/19/18: FOX’s carriage of the MLB All-Star Game was down, but averaged 8.8 million viewers

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM TENNIS CHANNEL THE GRASS-COURT SEASON CONTINUES While the Wimbledon Champions are crowned, the Grass-Court Season continues this week. Tennis Channel is the only network to carry the Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Tournament. Events include an exhibition with 2017 US Open Champion Sloane Stephens against fellow American and top-12 player Madison Keys on Friday and […]