Bolstered by the strong sales performance of its first foray into children’s home video, It’s the Titanic, nonfiction producer Greystone Communications is entering the educational home video market with new kidvid label, Greystone Adventures.
Since 1986, GreyStone Communications has specialized in producing documentaries on history, science and nature for A&E and the History Channel, among other cable channels. The resulting accumulation of archival material provided the Hollywood, California-based company with the opportunity to create nonfiction videos for kids, the kind of programming, says CEO Craig Haffner, that most broadcast outlets are currently not delivering.
‘It’s still pretty difficult to find a broadcast outlet that will show [educational] shows for kids,’ says Haffner.
Of course, Haffner and Co.’s decision to produce DTV kid-docs isn’t completely altruistic. Like other companies, Greystone has come to recognize the sales potential of targeting kids through nonfiction titles by piggybacking on the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
‘Because of the amount of money studios are spending to get some of these movies into the minds of consumers, you can’t help but follow on this trend.
‘What was the Titanic? It was the story of the world’s worst disaster, and what they did was spin it into a love story. As non-fiction producers, we can’t bring people a love story, but what we can do is satisfy their appetite for historical information about the sinking of the Titanic,’ says Paul Payette, director of domestic licensing and distribution for music and video at Discovery Communications Inc., whose kid-doc A Little Duck Tale, released in 1990, still ranks as one of its top sellers.
Greystone Communications already enjoys brand awareness with kids. Some of its shows are currently appearing as part of the History Channel’s block of commercial-free programming, which is provided free of charge to 3,000 schools across the country.
Greystone Adventures’ first slate of releases (all US$9.95)-Mummies, Volcanoes, The Hindenburg, Indian Mounds, Stonehenge and Lightning-are targeted to kids ages six to 12, and will start hitting all retail outlets beginning in the spring of 1999.