PASADENA, Calif., April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sprout® today announced several new network programs including Ruff-Ruff, Tweet & Dave and the second season of The Chica Show, as part of the 24-hour preschool network's growing line-up of new series. The world's most famous chicken, Chica, returns in Sprout's original series The Chica Show, which was Sprout's highest-rated original series premiere to-date when it launched in November 2012 and is featured every Saturday morning during the NBC Kids block. These two series join several new programming acquisitions, including Tree Fu Tom, Boj and Driftwood Bay. Sprout also announced the renewal of the globally popular LazyTown for a third season and recently introduced a new short form music series, Sing It, Laurie! featuring Laurie Berkner, rounding out a lineup of high-quality, active viewing programs for children ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers.
Sprout, celebrating its 17th consecutive month of year-over-year audience gains in total day household delivery, also boasts the highest concentration of women viewers ages 18-49, highlighted by a 54 percent increase in delivery of that demographic versus a year ago. In response, the network has rolled out an extensive "Made for Moms" marketing campaign for advertisers that positions Sprout among all kids' networks as a leader in mother/child co-viewing with trade ads and online support.
As part of an aggressive multi-platform strategy to reach Sprout fans wherever they are, the network has expanded its online presence, digital capabilities and consumer products business. The network recently re-launched its website, www.sproutonline.com, to significantly improve user functionality and offer visitors more character-based activities with greater brand interaction. According to Omniture, monthly unique visitors totaled nearly 900,000 in March which was the highest level for the site in the past 16 months.
With a broadened expansion into gaming and mobile initiatives, preschooler families can now take Sprout wherever they go. This year has already seen the introduction of more than 100 new online games as well as a growing library of mobile apps to keep preschoolers engaged with their favorite Sprout shows including The Chica Show and Pajanimals. Recognizing the educational and entertainment value of music, the network has also launched a video jukebox microsite called "Sprout Tunes" where families can watch more than 40 full-length music videos from Sprout favorites including Laurie Berkner, The Wiggles, Sesame Street and Pajanimals on a special video player.
"Sprout's continued investment in high-quality programming, with a focus on original content, coupled with our deep commitment to deliver purposeful, engaging content for parents and children to enjoy together drive our month over month growth," said Sandy Wax, President of Sprout. "As we continue on this upward trend it is essential that we actively pursue new and exciting ways for families to engage with our content across various platforms, while remaining true to our co-viewing DNA."
Details of Sprout's new content slate include:
- Ruff-Ruff, Tweet & Dave – The first ever pre-school game show where kids can play along on a smartphone or tablet. Ruff-Ruff, Tweet & Dave are three young friends who go on adventures and take the audience along for the ride by asking multiple choice questions throughout the show. Ruff-Ruff is a sweet pup who's always running around sniffing out fun things to do, Tweet is a fluffy, bright bird who loves to sing and Dave is a quirky, inventive blue panda. Each episode takes place in new lands where questions are asked to help move the story along. Audio watermarking technology will be utilized to activate smart phones and tablets so kids can use their devices to select the right answers to the questions. Ruff-Ruff, Tweet & Dave is a co-production with Collingwood O'Hare, the creators behind The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! and in association with Sparky Animation, Bejuba! Entertainment and has been pre-bought for CBeebies in the U.K. Ruff-Ruff, Tweet & Dave will debut on Sprout in 2014.
- The Chica Show Season 2– Preschoolers' favorite new series kicks off on July 29 with Chica and her friends. Season Two brings Chica to lots of new adventures including Fashion Fun, Starstruck Dreams and a Dinosaur Romp. The Chica Show is a mix of live action and animation that follows the imaginative adventures of Chica and her cast of friends including Stitches (voiced by Mario Lopez), Kelly (who loves to laugh, sing and play while she works with Chica in the Costume Coop) and Bunji (a sweet, fluffy, lionhead rabbit that takes charge as a hilarious leader with an infectious laugh when he becomes animated). The show offers parents teachable moments for preschoolers – whether it's going undersea to learn more about clean-up time, embarking on a voyage with Vikings to discover why manners are important, or even jetting off to a rock concert to discover why practice makes perfect.
- Boj (Pesky) – This animated series features Boj, a free-spirited 5-year-old-bilby (Australian marsupial) full of creativity and messy fun! Since popping up as the new kid in Giggly Park, Boj has made lots of new buddies. Everyone loves his zest for life and adventurous spirit. And Boj loves his new neighborhood, too. There's always something to discover and a problem to solve using his upside-down, inside-out, topsy-turvy way of seeing the world! Boj is a celebration of childhood. Boj shows us all how to loosen up, be free-thinking, creative, pro-active and resourceful – and ultimately how to put aside our differences and get along. Boj will debut on Sprout in 2014.
- Driftwood Bay (Sixteen South) - Driftwood Bay is a mixed-media animated show about a special island that exists in the imagination of a little girl named Lily, who creates a world of adventure and friendship from different treasures she finds washed up on the beach. The world of Driftwood Bay has been created from real materials that have been found washed up on beaches to encourage preschoolers to make their own fun and adventures from the things they find. Driftwood Bay is produced by U.K. prodco Sixteen South and distributed by Henson Independent Properties. Driftwood Bay will debut on Sprout in 2014.
- LazyTown (Turner) – Kicking off its third season on Sprout on May 27, LazyTown is the high-powered show that encourages preschoolers to get up and move! The show centers around the activities of Stephanie, an optimistic girl with bright pink hair, who comes to live in LazyTown and meets a zany mix of townspeople, including the world's laziest super-villain, Robbie Rotten. Fortunately for Stephanie, LazyTown is also under the watchful eye of Sportacus, an athletic, super-active superhero, who runs, jumps, flips and flies to the rescue in his futuristic AirShip.
- Tree Fu Tom (FremantleMedia/CBeebies) - Tree Fu Tom follows the adventures of Tom, a boy who straps on a power belt and, through movement magic called 'Tree Fu', can transform into a tiny, mighty magical superhero and travel to a wondrous enchanted kingdom called Treetopolis that exists inside a tree in his back garden. Tree Fu Tom encourages viewers to be active by jumping, making physical moves and saying specific words to "send the magic" to Tom. With animation by Blue Zoo Animation, Tree Fu Tom is a co-production between FremantleMedia Kids & Family Entertainment and CBeebies. Tree Fu Tom was created and produced by Daniel Bays. Tree Fu Tom debuts on Sprout today -- April 22.
- Sprout Tunes – In conjunction with the debut of musical afternoons on Sprout, a music microsite launched at sproutonline.com/sprout-tunes where preschoolers and their families can watch more than 40 full-length music videos on a special video player. Kids can view the most popular videos and create their own playlists featuring their favorite Sprout tunes. Additional videos featuring some of Laurie Berkner's most popular songs will also be available online.
- Gaming – Over 150 games are available online with many new additions including "Sing It, Laurie!", "Pajanimals Adventure Game," "Sweet Pea Sue Heart Catcher," "Chica's Adventure Game," and "Mr. and Mrs. C's Melody Maker."
- Mobile Apps – Preschoolers can take Sprout on the go with "Super Sproutlet Show Super Gear Adventure," "Chica's Silly Songs," and "Pajanimals Playtime." They can also share memories with Sprout from their mobile devices through an all-new "Send to Sprout" app. Parents and kids can choose from 14 available mobile apps to take with them anywhere they go. The Sprout games and video app has generated more than 700,000 downloads, exceeding 20 million sessions.
Sprout recently announced expansion plans for its consumer products effort by retaining Big Tent Entertainment as its exclusive U.S. licensing agency of record. Big Tent will represent the network to develop a fully-integrated Sprout presence at retail and create an umbrella consumer products program for kids ages 2-5 under the Sprout brand name. In addition, Big Tent will help introduce products based on the network's growing roster of original programs including its newest hit series, The Chica Show and its signature bedtime block, The Good Night Show. Sprout Consumer Products will make its debut at Licensing Expo 2013 this June.
Sprout also launched an all-new online retail experience at www.shopsprout.com, powered by CafePress, to allow preschoolers and their parents to extend the Sprout experience at home. The online shop showcases designs that feature a range of products including Sprout branded apparel, plush toys, DVDs and iPad and iPhone accessories featuring the network's favorite characters, including Chica.
Sprout is the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online for children ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers. Available in over 50 million homes, the 24-hour digital channel is the only network that follows the day of a preschooler from breakfast to bedtime with its distinctive, interactive programming and original hosted daypart blocks that parents and kids share together. Viewers are encouraged to submit artwork, birthday wishes, videos and more through SproutOnline.com, which has received over five million viewer interactions to-date. Sprout's VOD offering is the #1 on demand service for younger children with over one billion views.
The network's program lineup of gold-standard, curriculum-based preschool series includes originals like The Chica Show, Noodle and Doodle, and Pajanimals (co-produced with The Jim Henson Company), as well as Sesame Street®, Barney & Friends™, The Wiggles®, Caillou®, Thomas & Friends™, LazyTown™, and more. Sprout is a partnership among NBCUniversal, PBS and Apax Funds.