Planet WONDERREEL FAQ

WONDERREEL is online entertainment tailored for big kids, their passions and their tastes.

We will offer a collection of the finest children’s film and video from all over the world, including award-winning adventure, comedy, animation, drama and documentary–variety unprecedented in US children’s media.

We’ll use big-data technology to find the shows in our collection that will appeal to each individual child, then we program a personal channel for every child.

Kids will be able to take charge of their viewing with controls designed to make it easy to discover new favorites in our collection, then enjoy them with friends.

And with easy, intuitive tools, parents will be able supervise their children’s viewing–at whatever level makes sense to your family.

That’s why we call WONDERREEL entertainment as smart as your kids.

Planet WONDERREEL is Earth. But “Planet WONDERREEL” is a website where grownups who know and love kids can learn about WONDERREEL.

WONDERREEL is unlike any other project in the history of children’s media. We’re making new uses of digital technology. We’re searching the world for terrific shows that otherwise might never be seen in the US. We don’t even care if they’re “hits”–as long as there are kids who find them fun, engaging, even rewarding.

We’re not going to show ads to children. We’re not taking government money either. WONDERREEL will be supported by the families it serves, through paid subscriptions. So it’s important that moms, dads, grandparents and everybody who loves kids learn about our plans for this rich entertainment alternative. We hope “Planet WONDERREEL” is a move in that direction.

TEAM WONDERREEL is the community of kids, families, filmmakers and friends committed to bringing kids 6 to 12 a diverse, stimulating option in online entertainment–the community that’s working to create WONDERREEL.  Team members will enjoy a variety of special programs, starting this summer with a series of private online screenings called FirstWatch.

WONDERREEL is working with public broadcasters, producers and filmmakers on every continent to curate our collection.  Most of our shows are beloved by children in the countries where they were made, whether broadcast on TV or shown in theaters.  Many have been selected for major children’s film and television festivals. Quite a few are festival prize-winners.

We’re not looking for super-mega-hits or fad programs, but the best of the best–whether they’re archival classics, innovative experiments or films and series that have proven themselves with kids in the lands and languages they come from.

All over the world, from Chile to China, Pakistan to Poland, independent filmmakers and public broadcasters make amazing, hilarious, thrilling, enlightening films and series. They shoot adventures, mysteries, drama, animation, documentaries–even news reported by kids. These producers take children as seriously as HBO or Discovery take grownups. They don’t talk down to kids. They honor their smarts.

WONDERREEL is designed to make shows like that available to big kids in the US and beyond.

Are these shows “educational”? Well, most don’t have a school-style curriculum. They’re made to entertain or inform, not to teach. Certainly many would be welcome in a classroom or homeschooling environment. But we’re presenting them in the belief that shows like these can

  • broaden children’s horizons,
  • provide food for thought,
  • help them grow into interested, interesting citizens of tomorrow and,
  • above all, delight them!

 

If by “interactive” you mean, “Are there video games on WONDERREEL?”, the answer is no. We believe kids 6-12 deserve a place where they can experience the power of story and meet characters much like themselves. So do our creative partners. That’s the heart of the film and video on WONDERREEL.

But if by “interactive” you mean,

  • Do kids have control over their WONDERREEL experience?
  • Will the platform be responsive to the interests and needs of children and families?
  • Can kids use WONDERREEL to share great experiences with friends and family, near and far?
  • And does WONDERREEL, as it grows, plan to introduce areas where kids can express their own creativity?

The answer to all those questions is “Absolutely yes!”

We hope not. We’ve designed WONDERREEL as a sustainable business that supports the creative community as it brings rich, diverse cultural resources to kids 6-12.

This summer, TEAM WONDERREEL members — especially kids in 4th, 5th and 6th grades and their families — will be invited to preview WONDERREEL for free during a special event called FirstWatch.  For more information, click here.

Well, let’s just say there are some providers doing the best they can with the technology at their disposal.

But broadcast and cable/satellite are hampered by the simple fact that they can only show one program at a time.  So their programs need to have mass appeal.  They need hits.

The Internet changes that. A digital service can offer thousands of shows at a time to hundreds of thousands of kids–anytime, anywhere. We can provide infinitely more choice than broadcast or cable/satellite. Even better, we can bring just the right shows to every child.

Both such choice and such targeting are feasible right now– but no major streaming service takes advantage of the opportunity. True choice runs against their more-of-the-same business models.  They hope for “hits”–just like old-fashioned mass-market TV.

Choice, on the other hand, and each child’s individual delight are the bedrock of WONDERREEL’s business model. We intend to take full advantage of the possibilities digital technology affords.

We love PBS.  But PBS stations face the same constraints as any other broadcaster.  They can only show one program at a time.

PBS Kids needs to make the most of a few hours before kids head off to school every morning, then a few more between the time they come home and prime time. With a few brilliant exceptions, they’ve chosen to use that time to serve preschoolers.

WONDERREEL will pick up where PBS Kids has to stop–with quality, diversity and choice in full-length video for school-age kids, 24/7, across every digital platform.

Well, there’s lots of video for kids online–that’s for sure.  But one of our colleagues calls it cooked-spaghetti programming: throw stuff against the wall and see if it sticks.

YouTube provides kids delicious little video snacks. Netflix and Amazon invite them to binge on shows they’ve already seen on TV and at the movies (plus a few originals, to be fair).  Soon big companies like Disney and Warner Bros. will be opening their own services, providing scads and scads of familiar brands and characters.

WONDERREEL offers an alternative–a child-savvy experience where kids can make discoveries that simply aren’t available anywhere else.  Other services push kids toward more-of-the-same.  We’ll nudge viewers toward something different–something new–something challenging or informative or simply lovely to see. We’ll support kids’ individual interests and tastes — not just swamp them with this month’s popular property.  Will WONDERREEL displace any of the major commercial services? Nope–and that’s not our intention. What we want is for kids to have a choice.

We’re grateful that you asked.  Here’s a start:

  • Join TEAM WONDERREEL, the community of families, kids and creators working to bring WONDERREEL to life.
  • Tell your kids about FirstWatch, the private preview we’re running this summer.
  • Like TEAM WONDERREEL on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and tell all your friends about us.
  • share your thoughts and questions.

And please stay in touch–come back often, subscribe to our blog, As PW Turns, and be sure to check out The Daily Planet Wonderreel.

We’re eager to answer.  Drop us a line at planetqa@wonderreel.com, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

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