Amazon sets up first original kids' shows for summer

The three series will premiere once a month through summer, starting with the first six episodes of "Tumble Leaf" on May 23.

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"Tumble Leaf" Amazon/Screenshot by Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Amazon Studios, the Hollywood arm of the e-commerce giant, will roll out its first three original children's television shows just as kids get a lot more TV time -- one series per month this summer, starting next week.

Amazon's original series push follows the lead of the bigger subscription-streaming-video rival to Amazon Prime, Netflix, which has made a name for itself developing buzzed-about shows like "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black." Amazon Prime's tack has differed in a few ways, including a greater emphasis on children's programming, one of the top categories of shows that make a customer "sticky," or less likely to cancel.

Last year, Amazon scooped up a trove of Nickelodeon kids content when Netflix passed on renewing its licensing deal with Viacom, and Amazon has been developing nearly as many kids-focused originals as those aimed at adults. The kids' bent may stem from the top: Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, previously worked in children's programming at Disney, where he developed shows like "Kim Possible." (For its part, Netflix has premiered one original kids' show -- "Turbo: F.A.S.T." -- and has a pipeline of other Dreamworks programs on the way.)

On Amazon Prime, which costs $99 a year for free second-day shipping as well as a catalog of unlimited video streaming, the first six episodes of each new kids' show will premiere this summer, starting with preschool animated series "Tumble Leaf" on May 23, followed by another preschool program "Creative Galaxy" on June 27, and live-action series "Annedroids" on July 25 for kids aged 4 to 7. Additional episodes of the shows will follow later this year.

The company has two more kids programs in the process of becoming full series, "Wishenpoof!" and "Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street."

Amazon shares closed Wednesday at $297.62 and were up 31 cents, or less than a percentage point, in light premarket trading.

 

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