Amazon Expands Its Children’s Programming Lineup

Amazon Studios, the company’s production unit which helps develop feature films and TV series, is expanding its line-up of children’s programming, the company announced this morning. An additional five series are now being greenlit – including three animated shows, and two live-action kids’ pilots. All the shows are again being opened up to customer feedback, which will ultimately help determine those that became full series for Amazon Prime Instant Video.

This is in addition to Amazon’s previously announced children’s programming, Tumble Leaf (Sept. 5 debut), Creative Galaxy (Oct. 3) and Annedroids (Oct. 30). While the first in that list won an award at the Annecy International Film Festival this year, it remains to be seen if Amazon’s own production house – and it’s customer-driven way of determining what gets aired – will actually connect with young viewers. Here in the U.S., kids are drawn into series with memorable characters often financed by big studios like Disney and Nickelodeon, which are able to turn their TV shows into merchandising empires.

Amazon’s shows, instead, are meant to augment the its Prime membership business, making it look ever more attractive to pay that annual fee.

Of course, Amazon already won the streaming rights to some notable kids’ shows, too, having last summer scored a multi-year licensing agreement with Viacom for its Nick and Nick Jr. fare, like Dora the Explorer, Spongebob and others.

As it turns out, that was a pretty good trick – pull the kids in as the exclusive streaming home to the shows and characters they know, then market Amazon’s own shows to the kids, slowly weaning them off the big studio-produced fare.

The new lineup of kids’ shows includes those with top talent from the kids’ TV space, whose backgrounds involve work on well-known titles like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why, Henry Hugglemonster, Phineas & Ferb, Fairly Odd Parents, My Little Pony, Sabrina, and more. (Further details about the pilots are here.)