Amazon Snags Exclusive SVOD Rights to Large Chunk of PBS Kids Series

If kids are seeking to revisit most of their PBS Kids favorites in the near future, chances are they’ll have to visit Amazon.

PBS and Amazon have completed a deal that makes the Seattle e-commerce giant’s Amazon Prime service the subscription-video-on-demand home to the bulk of PBS’ kids programming. The deal encompasses everything from “Arthur,” the long-running series about an eight year old anthropomorphic brown aardvark,  to “Zoboomafoo,” a now-cancelled series featuring the brothers of PBS mainstay “Wild Kratts” and a leaping lemur.

“We have been working with them for a long time,” said Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president and general manager of children’s media and education at PBS, in an interview. “As a partner, they know and value our brand.” By putting so many titles under Amazon’s roof, she said, PBS will make it easier for parents and families to find its content and less difficult to promote its offerings to consumers who use subscription-video services.

Popular on Variety

The deal is the latest in a recent spate between prominent kids-TV producers and the big U.S. SVOD players. The industry’s video-streaming services are working furiously to develop extensive kids’ libraries. Netflix recently unveiled new programs for 2016, 2017 and 2018 that include a series based on the popular Anne Dewdney children’s book series “Llama Llama” as well as an animated series based on the “Spy Kids” movie franchise. Hulu earlier this month snatched more than 500 episodes of Disney fare from cable networks Disney Junior, Disney Junior and Disney XD. Amazon has launched series like “Tumble Leaf” and “Wishenpoof” that have won critical plaudits, and has readied a pilot that would reboot the old Sid & Marty Krofft series “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.”

Amazon is “committed to making Prime Video the best destination for kids and family programming that will both educate and entertain,” said Brad Beale, vice president of worldwide television acquisition for Amazon, in a prepared statement.

The companies did not disclose the terms of what they said was a “multi-year” agreement. The shows will continue to air first on PBS stations, then be available on Amazon after a certain period of time.

The new deal does not include future series that PBS may introduce, Rotenberg said.  And some of the network’s popular programs stream elsewhere. One series, “Super Why,” remains at Netflix under the terms of a previous deal. And  one of the public-broadcaster’s most popular series, “Curious George” is at Hulu, under a pact recently struck by its controlling producer, NBCUniversal.

The agreement gives Amazon streaming rights to 19 series overall, ranging from relatively new launches like “Nature Cat,” “Ready Jet Go,” “Odd Squad,” “Peg + Cat” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”; to mainstays such as “Wild Kratts,” “Martha Speaks,” “Dinosaur Train” and “Cyberchase”; to classics including “Reading Rainbow,” “Caillou” and “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman.” Also included in the pact are “Design Squad,” “SciGirls,” “Word Girl,” “Word World,” “Kratts Creatures” and “Postcards from Buster.” Two other series, “Bali” and “Peep and the Big Wide World,” are also included in the deal.

PBS’ Rotenberg noted the network’s primary goal continued to be getting educational programming to kids and families for free via PBS stations, digital platforms and a new digital-cable and live-streaming option slated to launch in January.  But SVOD deals help the broadcaster monetize its content, which can then give it funds to put back into programming and distribution. While most children continue to rely on linear TV for the bulk of their favorite programs, she said, SVOD is “an important way to expand the access to our educational content.”

More Digital

  • The Crown Season 3 Oliva Colman

    Record Intl. Growth Sees Netflix Beat Q4 Earnings Forecast

    Fast growth in international markets, contrasting with only sluggish subscriber gains in North America, was a major factor behind streaming giant Netflix’s better than forecast growth in the last quarter of 2019. The company is set on keeping up that international momentum. Globally Netflix added 8.76 million new customers in the three months to December [...]

  • TikTok - LA lobby

    TikTok Opens New L.A. Office in Culver City

    TikTok, in a signal of the short-form video app’s growing clout and entertainment ambitions, announced the company’s Los Angeles operations have moved into a new 120,000-square-foot office in Culver City, Calif. TikTok’s new office space occupies five floors at the C3 campus at 5800 Bristol Parkway in Culver City. According to the company, the space [...]

  • SiriusXM president and CCO Scott Greenstein

    SiriusXM's Scott Greenstein Named Music Visionary of the Year by UJA-Federation

    SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein will be honored by the UJA-Federation of New York as its Music Visionary of the Year on June 4 in New York City. The award recognizes exceptional professional accomplishments and commitment to philanthropy. Previous recipients have included Sony Music Group CEO Rob Stringer, Republic Records co-founders Avery [...]

  • Anjelah Johnson'The Curse of La Llorona'

    HA Comedy Festival Sets Lineup, HBO Max Comedy Special

    The newly launched HA comedy festival backed by WarnerMedia and New Cadence Productions has set its dates, talent lineup and plans for a special to air on HBO Max. The festival, to be held Feb. 21-23 in San Antonio, Texas, is designed as a showcase for Latinx comedians. It’s part of a first-look development pact [...]

  • Marvel-Strike-Force-FoxNext

    Disney Sells FoxNext Games Unit to Scopely

    Disney has sold off FoxNext Games, the studio it obtained through the purchase of 20th Century Fox, to mobile-games developer Scopely. Terms of the pact were not disclosed. Under the terms of the pact, Scopely is acquiring FoxNext Games Los Angeles, the game studio behind hit game “Marvel Strike Force,” and San Jose-based Cold Iron [...]

  • Andy Gaudin - VideoAmp

    Ad-Tech Platform VideoAmp Hires Andrew Gaudin as Chief Legal and Privacy Officer

    VideoAmp, which operates a platform for optimizing cross-platform video advertising, hired tech-industry veteran Andrew Gaudin as chief legal and privacy officer. Gaudin will oversee the company’s global legal and privacy affairs and is tasked with leading privacy compliance initiatives. He brings more than 30 years of experience to the role, having served in legal roles [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content