Amazon greenlights yet another batch of original kids TV pilots

The Netflix competitor beats the drum on original TV aimed at children -- shows that don't often win flashy Emmys but tend to keep high-spending subscribers loyal.

niko-and-the-sword-of-light-amazon.jpg
Art from the upcoming Amazon pilot "Niko and the Sword of Light." Amazon

Amazon Studios, the Hollywood arm of the e-commerce giant, cleared five more kids TV pilots for production Monday, joining a panoply of children's programming for the service.

Amazon Prime Instant Video is the e-retailer's answer to Netflix and is included in its $99 Prime membership program best known for free two-day shipping, Like the bigger rival in subscription streaming video, Amazon Studios has been pushing to create more original programming. Unlike Netflix, Amazon has yet to generate the degree of popular buzz and cascade of awards and critical praise of its competitor: Netflix series "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black" are up for high-profile Emmy awards Monday night, for example.

Amazon's tack has differed in several ways, including a greater focus on children's programming, one of the top categories of shows that make a viewer "sticky," or less likely to cancel. It doesn't hurt that parents tend to spend tons of money in the Amazon store, too.

The five pilots include three animated shows: "The Stinky & Dirty Show" about a backhoe and a garbage truck that are best friends, preschool whodunit "Buddy: Tech Detective," and fantasy "Niko and the Sword of Light" about a young adventurer. The remaining two pilots are live-action shows: "Table 58" about a motley lunch table of outcast kids and "Just Add Magic" about friends who find an old cookbook with magical recipes.

They will join previously announced pilot "Sara Solves It" for a total of six programs in Amazon's third pilot season of kids shows. The company's pilot seasons allow any Amazon customer -- Prime subscriber or not -- to view the first episode of a series and vote on whether the company should make more.

Additionally, Amazon will release new episodes of its current children's shows in the coming months: "Tumble Leaf" on September 5, "Creative Galaxy" on October 3, and "Annedroids" on October 30.

Amazon debuted the three kids series this summer, and the five pilots that got the go-ahead on Monday will be available for any Amazon customer to watch in early 2015. Last year, Amazon also scooped up a trove of Nickelodeon kids content when Netflix passed on renewing its licensing deal with Viacom. Netflix has signed a deal promising tons of shows based on DreamWorks characters, but so far its original children's programming is limited to the animated series "Turbo FAST," which debuted earlier this year.

Amazon shares were up $3.31, or 1 percent, at $334.90 in recent trading, better than the market at large.

 

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