Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cartoons' Multi-Media Future

Video streaming belongs to the chil-dren.

... While shows like political drama House of Cards, resurrected sitcom Arrested Development, and Amazon’s slate of comedy pilots have hogged all the media attention, the online streaming services have been spending bundles of cash on programming that skews toward a younger demographic. It’s these kids’ shows that will play a large role in determining who comes out on top in the streaming wars ...

[T]hat explains why Amazon and Netflix are now spending hundreds of millions of dollars to scoop up the best kids’ content from cable and to fund production of original shows that they hope will become the next Dora the Explorer or SpongeBob.

Netflix’s biggest original content push so far isn’t the very expensive House of Cards —- it’s actually a deal with DreamWorks Animation for 300 hours of brand new cartoons based on the company’s film franchises. ... Amazon, meanwhile, is also shelling out big bucks for kids’ shows on its Prime Instant Video service. Last month the online retailer announced a multi-year deal with Viacom, estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, that will give Amazon exclusive streaming rights to hit Nickelodeon shows. ...

Amazon and Netflix will also be producing a lot of children's programming (can we say AN-I-MA-TION?)

Amazon has already produced eight pilots -- none, sadly, under an Animation Guild contract, but we expect that to change -- so animation professionals will have more producers in the mix of cartoon makers going forward. And independent studios will likely grab some of the work.

The disappearing status quo -- cable and broadcast television -- have remained viable as long as they have thanks to the elementary school set:

Kids still watch a ton of regular TV. In the first quarter of 2013, children aged 2 to 11 watched more than 112 hours of television per month, according to Nielsen. They watched video through the Internet only four and half hours in comparison, but that number has doubled since 2011. ...

One thing we can bank on: Over the next few years children will be looking at a lot more cartoons on lap tops, iPads and smart phones.


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