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Kidcasters up programming to capture at-home kids

A snapshot of how broadcasters and SVODs like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Amazon are pivoting to reach a captive audience.
March 23, 2020

Linear broadcasters around the world are upping their educational content offerings to engage the many kids suddenly out of school and with a lot more free time at home. UNESCO estimates that more than 1.2 billion kids are out of school, which has created a sudden demand for content, especially educational content, that broadcasters are rushing to fill.

Amazon has made its catalogue of more than 40 kids shows free for the first time (previously you needed to be a Prime subscriber to access), including its original series Just Add Magic, Lost in Oz and Jessy & Nessy. Acquired shows such as Odd Squad, Caillou and Dinosaur Train are also among the free offering. Beyond Amazon Video proper, the conglom also curated more than 80 family movies that are available for free—with ads—from its subsidiary IMDb TV, including Shrek Forever AfterStuart Little and Muppets from Space. These moves to engage kids comes after Amazon pulled back from commissioning original content for them last year, instead shifting to focus on the family co-viewing and young adult audiences, with renewals for its kids slate made on a case-by-case basis.

And while streamers have seen an uptick in traffic, linear channels are also seeing a rise in audiences. Total day viewing on Cartoon Network was up 58% last week compared to the week before according to Digiday, Disney Channel is up 43%; WarnerMedia’s Boomerang rose 31% and Nickelodeon saw a 25% increase in viewers.

To engage this increasingly captive viewership, Nickelodeon has launched its preschool SVOD Noggin on Apple TV in more than 25 territories, including the US, UK, Germany and France. Growing the SVOD’s reach, new Noggin users will get a free seven day trial to the service. Through Noggin, subscribers can watch and download Nick series, including Paw Patrol, Dora the Explorer and Shimmer and Shine.

In addition, the kidsnet has launched the new #KidsTogether initiative to give children tips on how to stay healthy and active. The kidsnet is rolling out short-form digital and linear content featuring the network’s brands teaching kids about social distancing and proper hand washing techniques. It’s also producing printable activity sheets to help kids learn and play, as well as Nick-branded interstitials made in partnership with GoNoodle, which encourage kids to be active at home. Meanwhile, short educational videos teaching math, literacy and science from its preschool SVOD Noggin will air on Nick Jr., while the website NickHelps.com will aggregate Nick’s content and provide links to external resources for kids and families.

Meanwhile, Cartoon Network has launched PSAs (pictured) on-air, on its app, social media accounts and YouTube channel worldwide, which are focused on good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The videos features characters from its shows, including Teen Titans Go! and Steven Universe.

Pubcaster France TV is upping its educational content for kids to support families staying at home. Its France 2, France 4 and France 5 channels, and its VOD platform France.tv will air the 52-minute educational program La Maison Lumni daily. Co-produced by France’s Ministry of National Education, the show follows educator Alex Goude who breaks down the essential concepts that kids eight to 12 need to know. France 4 is also modifying its programming to broadcast live courses given by teachers for preschoolers, high school and also college students throughout the day.

Canadian pubcaster TVO is launching a new Learn at Home initiative to provide access to learning tools for preschoolers and kids up to 12-years-old. First up is TVO Mathify, a platform for one-on-one online math tutoring with Ontario teachers aimed at kids 11 to 15. Tutors are available for students until the school closures end. TVO is also releasing more than 65 free online STEM-focused games targeted at kids zero to six; and it is adding the hour-long educational program The Power Hour of Learning to its broadcast schedule everyday. On the digital side it’s releasing three new subject-specific educational channels, that cover math, science and technology and language for kids five to eight.

In Spain, pay TV platform Movistar+ is capitalizing on the school closures in the country by adding kids channels Disney Jr., Disney XD, Disney Channel, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Panda and Baby TV to its offerings. The platform reached all-time high viewing numbers on March 14 and 15, with consumption growing 47% compared to the week before, according to the company. There was also a 16% increase in kids content consumption and the platform’s users also spent more than 42 million hours on the platform each day, the highest amount it has ever recorded.

Pubcasters worldwide are also playing a part in filling the sudden content gap and educating kids, with CBC (Canada), RTS (Switzerland), Rai (Italy), NHK (Japan) PBS KIDS (US) and BBC (UK) launching new content to curb anxiety, entertain and inform kids and families.

About The Author
Online writer for Kidscreen. Ryan covers tech, talent and general kids entertainment news, with a passion for kids rap content and video games. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at rtuchow@brunico.com

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