The new Apple TV won’t be mistaken for an Xbox or PlayStation video-game console. But with faster performance and the new tvOS operating system, the tech giant is positioning the box as a launching pad for games played on a big-screen HDTV.
American Greetings is one of the first media companies to tap into Apple TV’s game features with “Care Bear-A-Thon,” a free app that lets users guide their favorite Care Bears characters on Apple TV through different stories using the motion-sensing capabilities of the set-top’s Siri-enabled remote control.
“Care Bear-A-Thon,” also available for Apple iPhones and iPads, draws kids into the world of the huggable, empathetic creatures with a variety of interactive experiences. Players can help Funshine Bear pedal a bike faster by spinning the remote, draw their name on Funshine’s notepad by scribbling on the touch surface or help Tenderheart Bear meditate by swiping to play harp music. American Greetings developed the Care Bears app with startup Plumzi, which specializes in creating “appisodes” based on animated TV shows.
“The ‘Care Bear-A-Thon’ appisode for Apple TV is an exciting and immersive experience for Care Bears fans of all ages,” said Sean Gorman, president of American Greetings Entertainment. “Plumzi is a premier appisode technology platform, and we are very proud of our collaboration on this first-to-market innovation starring the Care Bears.”
American Greetings introduced the Care Bears in 1982 through greeting cards, consumer products and an animated CGI television show that aired from 1985-88 (which is currently available on Netflix). A new original series American Greetings is co-producing with Netflix, “Care Bears & Cousins,” is slated to premiere on the streamer worldwide this fall.
Plumzi, founded in 2012, has clients including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, DreamWorks Animation, Warner Bros. and Saban Brands to adapt and monetize their animated series as appisodes. Investors in Palo Alto, Calif.-based Plumzi include Disney, Turner Broadcasting, Fuji TV, KDDI, and individuals including early Google investor Bobby Yazdani, former HBO president Eric Kessler, and former Cartoon Network president Stu Snyder.
“The linear TV format as we know it was invented for what television sets could do 80 years ago — play images and sounds only,” Plumzi CEO Guillaume Cohen said. “With the emergence of new viewing platforms like the new Apple TV, viewers have many more ways to experience a story and take part in the narrative.”
American Greetings Entertainment, the company’s intellectual-property licensing division, manages other brands including Holly Hobbie and Madballs.