Good morning. It’s Monday, March 25, 2013, and this is your first early morning briefing.
One Direction, Justin Bieber, Kristen Stewart and Selena Gomez were among the big winners at Nickelodeon’s annual slime-fest, The Kids’ Choice Awards, which aired live Saturday night with a Sunday noon encore. And do we really need more reasons to love Josh Duhamel? The first-time host more than channeled his inner kid with antics like somersaulting in a sumo suit and “accidentally” showing up onstage in the same dress, baby bump and all, as wife Fergie.
Of course the real winner is likely Nickelodeon itself, which continues to build on the KCA franchise 26 years and counting. This year’s Awards drew a record 387 million votes and generated big-time social media buzz. Ratings weren’t in by press time, but last year’s show attracted 11 million total viewers for both the Saturday night live telecast and encore airing. The 2012 live premiere ranked as basic cable’s top telecast for the week, averaging 6.2 million total viewers. This year Nick capitalized on its captive audience by immediately following the show with a new video from network “house band” Big Time Rush, and a preview episode of series Monsters Vs. Aliens, a new co-production with DreamWorks Animation inspired by the 2009 film.
DHX Media has locked down a deal with Blackberry for the mobile content platform provider to carry 1,000 episodes of programming across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The deal includes Inspector Gadget, Sonic the Hedgehog and several Movie Toons, among other titles. DHX is also increasing its northern exposure via a new six-year home deal with Canada’s Berkshire Axis Media Distribution (BAM) for titles including Mona the Vampire and Are you Afraid of the Dark? Canadian broadcaster CBC also just renewed 71 half-hours of seasons 1, 2 and 3 of the preschool stop-motion animation series Poko. “Canada remains a key territory for DHX and it’s great that long-term partners such as the CBC continue to support our brands,” said Josh Scherba, DHX SVP of distribution.
ABC Family has given the green light to a third season of original comedy series Baby Daddy.
VIZ Media just launched Sticky Dot comics, its latest kids comics app for iPad and iPad mini. The app enables fans to browse selections from its Pokemon, Mameshiba, Mr. Men Little Miss, Redakai and Voltron Force titles for free. Downloads of complete volumes cost $2.99-$3.99. VIZ, which publishes and distributes manga, graphic novels and anime in North America.
Author Mercer Mayer’s character Little Critter is starring in two new interactive escapades: The Trip Little Critter Reading Adventure app and The Trip Little Critter GamePak, both from Silver Dolphin Books. The apps are available for iOS, Android, Nook and Kindle platforms for $3.99.
Fireman Sam is back in his second app from P2 Games and HIT Entertainment. Fireman Sam: Fire & Rescue is available in the iOS app store and follows previously released Fireman Sam: Junior Cadet.
More Kids News
With a bigger than anticipated drop in sales for the Hunger Games trilogy, Scholastic Corp. reported a revenue dip of 18.5%, to $380.5 million, from $467 million, in the third quarter from last year’s Q3. Additionally, the company’s net loss deepened to $20.1 million, from $10.3 million a year ago. Results caused Scholastic to lower its forecast for the full fiscal year for the second time. The company is now projecting sales of $1.75 billion-$1.8 billion, down from earlier revenue estimates of $1.8 billion-$1.9 billion. Earnings per share are also expected to be lower than earlier forecasts. “We knew that fiscal 2013 would be challenging, given the tough comparisons for The Hunger Games trilogy, our significant investments in digital initiatives, and the timing of our major new Educational Technology product launches later this calendar year,” said Dick Robinson, Scholastic chairman, president and CEO. The Children’s Book Publishing and Distribution segment took the biggest quarterly hit, with sales down 30%, to $189.4 million. Sunnier news came from growing interest in Scholastic’s Storia service and revenue increase from its consulting service Common Core.
Produce animated content, get a tax break. As the U.K. prepares for the new government-sanctioned Animation Series Tax Break, an incentive aimed at reigniting the U.K. animation sector, the Children’s Media Conference will hold the one-day CMC Animation Exchange to explore its implications for U.K. animation producers and their international partners. The event, to be held April 4 in Westminster, will dissect the various elements of the tax incentive including how to qualify, how to account, how to work with funding bodies and broadcasters, and how it will affect foreign partners. “The new tax incentive is already proving a winning formula to re-stimulate interest in the U.K. animation sector as it becomes more cost effective in a highly competitive international environment,” Greg Childs, editorial director of CMC, said in a statement.
Preschool apps developer Cupcake Digital is on a roll, releasing consistently high-quality products for brands like Zodiak’s Tickey Toc, Discovery’s Animal Planet, Strawberry Shortcake and a string of Wow! Wubbzy! apps (including new Flower Power Daizy) based on the Nick Jr. show created and exec-produced by Cupcake founder Susan Miller. “It has be familiar to mom,” Miller says of the brands Cupcake adopts. “For young children, she’s the one making the decisions.”
Miller, a longtime kids entertainment player whose credits include co-producing Miramax film Ella Enchanted, knows the care given to handling intellectual property is as important as the technical wizardry that drives Cupcake’s apps. “We understand licensing. We understand we are talking care of someone else’s property,” Miller says. “It’s our job to find the essence of their property and create a wonderful digital product.” With a sea of apps out there, Cupcake also focuses heavily on discoverability. “We don’t just build it, put it up and hope people come… and we don’t just put out one title. We release aggressively and build a library, much like a book publisher.”
Fun fact… Though Cupcake was established in June 2012, the idea for the company was actually born April 3, 2010–not coincidentally the date a little product called the iPad made its retail debut. “I knew as soon as I saw the device– and got it on the first day–it was a game changer for everyone working in from publishing, television and film,” Miller says.
By The Numbers
Weekend box office estimates for the 10 top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for March 22-24, 2013:
The Croods (20th Century Fox) PG $44.7 million (weekend) $44.7 million (1-week cume)
Oz the Great and Powerful (Disney) PG $22.203 million (weekend) $177.56 million (3-week cume)
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros.) PG-13 $4.28 million (weekend) $17.37 million (2-week cume)
Jack the Giant Slayer (Warner Bros.) PG-13 $2.97 million (weekend) $59.05 million (4-week cume)
Snitch (Lionsgate) PG-13 $1.93 million (weekend) $40.34 million (5-week cume)
Safe Haven (Relativity Media) PG-13 $1.15 million (weekend) $68.93 million (6-week cume)
Life of Pi (20th Century Fox) PG $700,000 (weekend) $122.53 million (19-week cume)
Escape From Planet Earth (The Weinstein Co.) PG $473,000 (weekend) $53.35 million (6-week cume)
Warm Bodies (Lionsgate) PG-13 $247,000 (weekend) $65.03 million (8-week cume)
Wreck-It Ralph (Disney) PG $200,000 (weekend) $188.75 million (21-week cume)
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis: Kids !magination Awards Luncheon
June 4, 2013 | 8:00 – 10:00a.m.
The Yale Club of NYC
Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question: What musical comedy show was the inspiration for Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush series? The Monkees. Kudos to: John Carlo-NBCUniversal/NYC; Carly Hirsh-Scholastic/NY; Bruce Carter-Well Resolutions Technology/Houston; Squirrel Rippley-Dark Horse Media/Tucson.
Today’s Trivia Question: Who hosted the first-ever Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards? (Email John@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)
Cheers — Cathy
Cathy@cynopsis.com for Cynopsis Kids!
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