Consumer Products

Banyan takes to the open highway with in-car DVDs

Perhaps better known as the studio behind the hit show Trading Spaces, Banyan Productions has been working hard to grow its business beyond reality and makeover formats this past year. To that end, the company set up an offshoot arm last July to create IP for emerging digital media such as the internet, mobile phones, DVD and VOD, and its first release targets kids on the go in a unique way.
June 1, 2005

Perhaps better known as the studio behind the hit show Trading Spaces, Banyan Productions has been working hard to grow its business beyond reality and makeover formats this past year. To that end, the company set up an offshoot arm last July to create IP for emerging digital media such as the internet, mobile phones, DVD and VOD, and its first release targets kids on the go in a unique way.

Last month, Banyan Entertainment rolled out the first title in a DVD series designed specifically to play on in-vehicle entertainment systems. The idea was to find an unserved niche in the crowded kids DVD market, and road trip entertainment seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Are We There Yet? Starring Miles the Goose hit shelves in May and features 50 minutes worth of content for three- to eight-year-olds. Using their in-car DVD player’s controls, kids can play games such as Sign Language (in which they have to figure out what road signs mean), watch educational shorts on topics like the local weather and wildlife, and take quizzes about tourist attractions throughout the U.S.

In addition to approaching buyers from mass retail accounts such as Wal-Mart and Target, Banyan Entertainment VP Eric Ritter says the product’s unique positioning means the sales team is going after travel destinations such as amusement parks and zoos, as well as gift shops in rest stops and hotel chains. The company is also in talks with car dealerships about offering the title as a promotional freebie to people buying vehicles with built-in DVD players.

Banyan plans to release four more DVDs centered around Miles the Goose under the Are We There Yet? banner. Content is still being hammered out, but Ritter says one title will focus exclusively on car songs, while another is themed around road games.

Miles represents Banyan’s first crack at creating a character-based kids property, and the company is already working on taking him into the wireless market with on-line and mobile content. The team is also in production on a pilot and sizzle reel for a television series that’s being pitched to broadcasters.

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