03/20/15: BabyFirst



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BEHIND THE SCENES at the Upfronts
The People! The Parties! The Buzz!a

This is the Upfront season BabyFirst has been building toward since 2012. That’s when the only channel for 3-and-unders (and their parents) transitioned into a basic cable network and began beefing up its executive roster with former ABC Network president Steven McPherson and former chairman of Disney TV Rich Frank. In the past year, the channel has busily been developing its advertising department, including Mary Jeanne Cavanagh, EVP ad sales and sponsorships. The nascent net has also been carving out a significant space in apps; the download success of individual apps helps programmers determine what content will succeed on air. While they’re not throwing a big bash in upfront season, they are hoping to greet the press with an event in late March or early April. But, you know, baby steps.


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What’s the pitch?
“New parents all rethink their brand choices once they have a baby,” says Cavanagh, who notes that parents switch 73 percent of their brands across the board once they have a little one to consider. “We’re connecting brands with new parents at a crucial time.”

BabyFirst will hit some milestones this year: They’ll be Nielsen-rated as of the fourth quarter of 2015; also by the end of the year they’ll be launching a new daypart (“me-time”) in prime time aimed at parents whose tired tots are (hopefully) asleep. “We’re going to introduce a reality block that’s uplifting, fun and will provide programming that Mom can really enjoy, like Baby’s Funniest Videos.”

BabyFirst owns 96 percent of its content, and has its own production studio, so advertisers who want to mix their messages with network talent will find the whole operation to be very user-friendly. “We can turn things around quickly,” Cavanagh says. “We’re the fastest growing entertainment network as far as subscribers go, and we’ve gone from three advertisers to close to 40,” she adds. “We’re casting a wide net, but we’re specific about the brands we want to work with.”

New Categories You Want to Break?
Insurance, financial, home improvement, automotive, retail

How You Stand Out from Your Competitors
“Nobody really targets the baby audience. Our TV series are designed for the babies, but the brands talk directly to the moms – who are the gatekeepers,” says Cavanagh.

What Your Clients are Saying
“They’re pleasantly surprised about our brand,” says Cavanagh. “They’re all interested in co-viewing, and we have a big co-viewing audience. They also love that we have low clutter, we’re a growth network and we’re a safe environment.”

On the Radar
In addition to becoming Nielsen-rated by the end of 2015 and launching a new daypart, look for Baby Einstein to make BabyFirst its exclusive TV home; animated shows like Nursery Songs and Letters Galaxy will join the live action Dance Time Boys.


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Just Asking…
They may be some of the youngest headlining stars on TV, but at age 8 the Dance Time Boys PB and Jam (cousins Peter Michael Escovedo IV and Brendan Escovedo Jr.) are never too worn out to provide answers to some fun questions.

PB (Peter):
Who’s your favorite dancer?
“Shayan. He does a move called ‘drills.’ I really like it.”

What are your favorite snacks?
“I like those yellow chips. Funyuns. Because they taste crunchy.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?
“I want to be an animal scientist. My favorite thing on the earth is animals.”

Jam (Brendan):
Jam is a great name, but if you could have any other name, what would it be?
“I think I like my own name … Brendan. Lol!”

Who’s your favorite singer?
“I like my Uncle Dominic because he’s a really good singer.”

What do you want to be when you grow up?
“A football player. Last summer I played with the Scrim Saints and my Dad was the coach.”

Quote of The Day
“One mom who has taken a break from working in advertising sent us a video of her son going right up to the TV set, dancing to Dance Time Boys. If he could have gone into the TV set, he would have! That’s what a lot of our viewers [try to] do.” – Mary Jeanne Cavanagh

–Reported by Randee Dawn

Coming up in Backstage at the Upfronts, hitting your mailbox at 6pm

What’s the secret to working successfully with CVS, Walgreens and Walmart? Bill Abbott, President and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, tells all.

REELZ plans to bring value back to celebrity television, dig into data and keep their programming in season. We’ve got the scoop.



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