Monday, March 18th, 2013

Cynopsis: Kids!

Good morning. It’s Monday, March 18, 2013, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Today’s Top Headlines
We’ve got kids news covered for you daily during Upfront season…

We’re jazzed about the second season of Sprout’s original Chica Show, which goes into production today. The new season, which returns with Mario Lopez as the voice of the raggedy Stitches, will feature 25 stories plus a holiday special. This year, expect a big focus on kindness, and an emphasis on diversity. One episode will feature a visually impaired child; another around kids with other physical challenges, Sprout president Sandy Wax tells CynKids. The programming will also dovetail more directly with the network’s Kindness Counts prosocial initiative to help instill empathy in preschoolers. “Bullying really doesn’t come in until later, but the more we can try to encourage kindness and compassion the better,” Wax says.

Programming Picks

BabyFirst TV on March 10 added Sukey’s Circle to its daily lineup. The series stars kids performer and recording artist Sukey Molloy and combines music, stories and characters designed to encourage interactive movement and listening.

Digital Update

Magic Ruby is working on second screen apps for the upcoming launch on The Hub of hit live-action British series Wizards Vs. Aliens. Lots of fodder here for additional ancillary story lines that can live online and in games. The show surrounds a group of wizardly teens charged with staving off aliens trying to drain earth of magic. Hub SVP, ad sales Brooke Goldstein told CynKids, “When I watched the trailer it feels very ‘Harry Potter meets Aliens, the movie.'”

Mobile games upstart Tilting Point Media will invest $40 million into the development and marketing of mobile games over the next three years, including games for smart phones and tablets. The new company, founded by former EA Partners chief Tom Frisina, plans to partner with independent content developers, and invest in some of them. “Our view is that independent developers own the future of games,” Frisina said. “However, a studio’s potential can be severely hindered without a partner they can trust to help navigate the challenges of discoverability and monetization. We’re taking the expertise and resourcefulness gained from our combined backgrounds and applying them to a new publishing model, where development talent gains the tools to control their own destiny.” Over the past year Tilting Point has signed agreements with Signal Mobile, Housemarque, and 1337 Game Design & Senri, among others.

Licensing News

Entertainment One Family continues to build on the cache of licenses around its Peppa Pig property. The company signed on girls fashion house Evy of California to develop a line of themed apparel for girls. The first collection is scheduled to debut in select mass and specialty retailers across the country later this spring.

More Kids News

As Disney prepares to hit the road for advertiser-focused meetings following last week’s Upfront in New York, it’s likely the company will be connecting more reps from the brands themselves than the agency side. “We do a lot of the coordination with clients,” SVP media sales and marketing Rita Ferro told CynKids. “Agencies are short-staffed and they’re overworked. A lot of times the conversations start with the client, and the client dictates who we work with.” Do the Disney networks tend to work with one agency source for deals across multiple platforms these days? “Many clients still ask us to work with multiple agencies… or it’s multiple people at the agency,” she says.

Fan Fair: There’s no better way to build buzz for an event than to mobilize fans, and two campaigns for big network events are kicking into high gear: Nickelodeon threw down the gauntlet on its fan wars competition to determine the kids entertainer with the biggest fan army in the lead-up to the Kids’ Choice Awards March 23. And the Radio Disney Music Awards, live from L.A. April 27, opened fan voting last week.

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 15-17, 2013:

Oz the Great and Powerful (Disney) PG $42.22 million (weekend)  $145.03 million (2-week cume)
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros.) PG-13  $10.31 million (weekend)  $10.31 million (1-week cume)
Jack the Giant Slayer (Warner Bros.)  PG-13  $6.22 million (weekend) $53.91 million (3-week cume)
Snitch (Lionsgate) PG-13 $3.5 million (weekend)  $37.26 million (4-week cume)
Safe Haven (Relativity Media) PG-13  $2.5 million (weekend) $66.95 million (5-week cume)
Escape From Planet Earth (The Weinstein Co.) PG  $2.33 million (weekend) $52.17 million (5-week cume)
Life of Pi (20th Century Fox) PG  $1.22 million (weekend)  $121.35 million (18-week cume)
Warm Bodies (Lionsgate) PG-13  $585,000 (weekend)  $64.6 million (7-week cume) 
Lincoln (Disney) PG-13  $377,000 (weekend)  $181.39 million (19-week cume)
Les Miserables (Universal) PG-13 $207,280 (weekend)  $148.49 million (12-week cume)

Executive Moves
Hulu SVP of content Andy Forssell has been named acting CEO for the company following the previously announced departure of CEO Jason Kilar.


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Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:
What year was the first MPAA rating system announced? 1968. Kudos to: David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NYC; Jimmy Huynh, Toon Goggles Inc., LA; Richard Quan – BSSP/San Francisco.

Today’s Trivia Question: What is the longest-running animated series in the U.S.? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Cheers — Cathy
[email protected] for Cynopsis Kids!

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Denise O’Connor: Group Publisher, Cynopsis Media
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