[June 18, 2019] I’m sitting here working on product plans, launch strategies, trying to get WONDERREEL right, then wham! what’s going on out there sends one generous kick straight to the keister. And it’s a hard, sad, unfortunate kick, because Amazon Kids was one place that actually invested a bit of money in some truly intriguing new shows for 6-12s. (If this is the first you’ve heard of Amazon ending investment in new kids’ TV, this’ll get you up to speed.)
So it’s RIP Gortimer Gibbon. Bezos’ behemoth has (reports the LA Times), “identified a need to expand and broaden our audience targets and ha[s] decided to focus on developing content for families inclusive of but not exclusively for kids.”
What a pile of spam. Does anyone there actually live in a family? Because if they do, they know full bloody well that kids aren’t just a psychographic fragment of “family.” Kids aren’t even just “kids.” Preschoolers aren’t second graders; fifth graders aren’t first graders. (Amazon might want to listen to some of their spy recordings from the “Echo Dot Kids Edition.”)
Children deserve better, Amazon. And better’s on the way.
If you follow children’s entertainment, it may surprise, amuse, or (could it be?) hearten you that I’m talking about WONDERREEL. Heck, we’ve been trying to get WONDERREEL up and running through countless flaky partners, incompetent software engineers, thieving digital post houses, recalcitrant funders and, well, years—-years since we first dared to predict that kids would one fine day watch full-length TV shows online (and not just nosh at YouTube, as the naysayers back then insisted).
Yes, WONDERREEL’s coming. We’re bootstrapping this time, and I’ll blog before long about that. But what counts right now–what Amazon’s announcement depressingly demonstrates–is something we’ve known all along:
If we want to bring children a pro-kid, pro-quality streaming video alternative, we have to do it ourselves. In community. Community of creators, community of fans, community of professionals–and above all, a community of parents who want better for those funny, clever, inquisitive, occasionally impossible individuals who forget to put their plates into the dishwasher.
For Amazon, kids were eyeballs (and not enough of ’em, it seems). For WONDERREEL, children are evolving, endearing minds, hearts, spirits, senses of humor and curiosity and adventure and deep feeling. They deserve screen entertainment as smart, subtle and sometimes sassy as they are.
Look around the Planet WONDERREEL site for more background. Drop me a line if you’re so inclined–email@example.com. And watch this space–because we are about to change this space, the kids’ online space, and change it for good.