BabyFirstTV growing up fast
By Steve Brennan
Mar 26, 2007
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Some people --
actually a whole lot of people -- thought the idea just
too bizarre to ever get off the ground: a TV service for
babies. Not toddlers or tweens -- babies up to 3 years
Now, as BabyFirstTV goes from crawl to run in the U.S.
after less than a year on air, the service is hurdling
into the global marketplace in a push that includes a
clearance for the entire Middle East.
Following its launch last spring in the U.S. on Dish
Network and DirecTV, the baby channel went up this month
in the U.K. on BSkyB's satellite platform as well as in
Mexico with Sky Mexico and Cablevision Mexico and in
Puerto Rico via Onelink.
In addition, BabyFirstTV has closed a distribution
agreement with Showtime Arabia that will place the
channel throughout "the entire Arab world," according to
Sharon Rechter, executive vp business development and
marketing for BabyFirstTV.
Rechter says the hardest sell of all was the first --
the U.S. "It was the toughest time because we were
coming out with such a new concept in a leading world
market. But we were able to finally convince the
(cable/satellite) operators that we really do have a
unique concept," she says. The service goes out on pay
TV in the U.S. and is under license in the rest of the
Rechter says numerous deals are pending and she expects
to have at least 10 more international markets signed up
by the end of the year.
So what is it about this new 0-3 demographic that has
pay subscribers and advertisers sitting up and taking
notice? Rechter says it's mostly about the content,
which has been very cleverly figured out by experts
around the world.
Programing features original content including the
upcoming "Shushybye Baby" and other programs like
"Rainbow Horse," "Sandman" and "I Can Sign" that help
parents better understand the developmental benefits for
their baby. The "Shushybye" series is one of the launch
planks of the service worldwide and was created by
L.A.-based public relations executive Steve Syatt.
"We are making early education fun and teaching babies
about words and color and music in an intriguing way,"
Rechter adds. "And that's something that parents around
the world are responding to."
The idea that TV is just plain bad for babies is still
out there, admits Rechter, a recent first-time mom
"Parents are embracing it in an amazing manner, and I
receive hundreds of e-mails daily about how much they
love it. But with the medical community . . . I think
the more they are exposed to the uniqueness of BabyFirst,
the more they and the child educators actually believe
that watching TV with your child can be a beneficial
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