News Article | April 17, 2017
The North Attleboro, Massachusetts, fifth-grader watches shows like "Liv and Maddie," ''Jessie" and "The Lodge" on her laptop, iPad and phone. "Sometimes I watch TV in the car," she says. "I have ballet every day, so I watch on the way." She has a TV in her bedroom that isn't hooked up to cable but is perfect for watching DVDs. And the family's flat-screen has advantages of its own. "It's much bigger," Grace explains, "and on the couch, it's comfier." Ever since freckle-faced puppet Howdy Doody ushered in children's television nearly 70 years ago, each new generation of viewers has been treated to a growing bounty of programs on a mushrooming selection of gadgetry. But nothing compares to the current wave: "The generation coming up now is used to having everything at their fingertips," says Stacey Lynn Schulman, an analyst at the Katz Media Group. Why not? From birth, theirs has been a world of video digitally issuing from every screen. And for them, any of those screens is just another screen, whether or not you call it "TV." "When they love a (show), they love it in every form and on every platform," says Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghami. This keeps the bosses at each kids' network scrambling to make sure that wherever children turn their eyes, that network's programing will be there. Even so, it may be surprising that children nonetheless watch most television on, well, a television. As in: old-fashioned linear, while-it's-actually-airing telecasts. A new Nielsen study finds that in the fourth quarter of 2016, viewers aged 2-11 averaged about 17 hours of live (not time-shifted) TV each week. Granted, that's a drop of about 90 minutes weekly from the year before. But by comparison, kids in fourth quarter 2016 spent about 4½ hours weekly watching video content on other devices. "Linear TV is still the lion's share of where kids' time is spent," says Jane Gould, senior vice president for consumer insights for Disney Channel. "But it's important for us to be in all the OTHER places where they are, as well." One reason: Those other outlets can pave the way for a new program's arrival on linear TV. Gould points to "Andi Mack," an ambitious comedy-drama that debuted on Disney Channel on April 7. Weeks before it landed there, the series could be sampled on digital platforms including the Disney Channel app, Disney.com, Disney Channel YouTube, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. Count Grace Ellis among the legions of kids whose attention was snagged by this mega-buildup. When "Andi Mack" premiered, Grace was one of the 9 million TV viewers who tuned in. When "Sesame Street" premiered on PBS back in 1969, it joined a bare handful of TV shows (chief among them "Captain Kangaroo" and "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood") devoted to uplifting their young audience. Nearly a half-century later, "Sesame Street" is going strong. "PBS is still at its core," says Sesame Workshop COO Steve Youngwood. So is TV overall, as demonstrated by the series expanding to HBO a year ago. TV currently accounts for 40 percent of its viewership. But "Sesame Street" has never stopped adapting to an evolving media landscape that today finds 18 percent of its audience viewing on tablets, 14 percent on mobile phones and 25 percent on other streaming devices and computers. That includes YouTube, where its program content has been a presence for some time. Now it's getting special focus with the launch of Sesame Studios, which Youngwood describes as "a separate production unit specifically for that platform. We want to harness the power of YouTube to educate kids just like we harnessed the power of TV 50 years ago." A half-century ago "streaming video" was an unimagined wonder. But today's TV landscape has been upended by this technology, and by major streaming-video outlets like Hulu, Amazon and Netflix as they aggressively vie for kids' (as well as everybody else's) attention. Netflix famously doesn't disclose viewership figures. But according to Andy Yeatman, director of global kids content, "About half of our members around the world watch kids' content on a regular basis. So it's a very large, engaged audience. "Between new and returning series last year, we added 35 new seasons of kids' originals," he says. Similar expansion is projected this year. In a bygone era with just a handful of TV channels, kids could count on finding shows aimed at them only on Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons. Nickelodeon's Zarghami pegs 2013-14 as the most recent turning point for kids TV, "when the landscape seriously shifted," she says, with streaming-video-on-demand providers gaining a real foothold and supplemental devices like tablets and mobile taking off. Today, Nick has six on-demand platforms, "and we went from 500 new episodes in a season to close to 700 this season," she says. In short, kids are flooded with just-for-them content from every direction. But even that's not enough. "What they really look for is, to be surprised," says Disney Channel's Gould. "That's the real challenge: How do we surprise and delight them?" Schulman of the Katz Media Group has her own prediction for where the next round of surprises might be waiting. "Virtual reality has been hard to get off the ground, but kids are all about immersive experiences," she says. When VR is ready for them, "that's probably going to be the next big thing." Explore further: New kids streaming service will have 'Scooby Doo,' 'Jetsons'
News Article | May 18, 2017
"We know that the magic of theme parks gives families a unique and powerful way to experience and delight in the Sesame Street characters," said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of Sesame Workshop. "Building more Sesame Place theme parks will enable us to connect with even more families and provide funding that supports our nonprofit mission." The Sesame Place theme park features a variety of exciting family rides, water slides, live character shows, a daily parade, and seasonal events that help bring the educational world of Sesame Street to life beyond the show. Sesame Place also extends Sesame Workshop's commitment to social impact work with its Sesame Place Cares annual series of events both in and outside the park, including a 30-year partnership with Variety--The Children's Charity, focused on providing events with a safe and fun atmosphere specifically for children with disabilities and their families. "We share Sesame's goal of educating and entertaining generations of children, and the extension of our partnership furthers SeaWorld's mission to provide guests with experiences that matter," said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. "We are thrilled to be able to grow the presence of Sesame Place theme parks in the U.S. and help our company diversify its brand portfolio and expand into new areas." "Expanding our Sesame Place theme park footprint will both deepen our relationship with longstanding fans and help us to connect with new families," said Steve Youngwood, Chief Operating Officer of Sesame Workshop. "This partnership will also enable the Workshop to continue producing high-quality educational programming for the next generation." Under the terms of the new license agreement, the companies have agreed to extend their collaborative relationship through December 2031. Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit media and educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We're active in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically-funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit sesameworkshop.com. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter, and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. The company is also one of the world's foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, husbandry and veterinary care. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 29,000 animals in need over the last 50 years. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States. The company's theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests. This press release contains statements that are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are subject to the "safe harbor" created by those sections. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to SeaWorld's plans, objectives, goals, expectations, beliefs, business strategies, future events, business conditions, business trends and expectations with respect to the opening of the second Sesame Place theme park and additional Sesame Place theme parks. These forward-looking statements, which are identified by words such as "might," "will," "may," "should," "estimates," "expects," "continues," "contemplates," "anticipates," "projects," "plans," "potential," "predicts," "intends," "believes," "forecasts," "future," "guidance," "targeted," "scheduled" are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this press release, including the risks, uncertainties and factors set forth in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in SeaWorld's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and in subsequent reports, including Current Reports on Form 8-K, that SeaWorld files or furnishes with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). SeaWorld's filings with the SEC are available from the SEC's EDGAR database at www.sec.gov and via SeaWorld's website at www.seaworldentertainment.com. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause actual outcomes or results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this release and in SeaWorld's filings with the SEC. SeaWorld undertakes no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/seaworld-entertainment-and-sesame-workshop-announce-expanded-partnership-to-include-new-sesame-place-theme-park-300459726.html
News Article | May 23, 2017
PAWTUCKET, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), a global play and entertainment company, officially opened ticket sales for the first-ever HASCON FANmily™ event, which will take place in Providence at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center from September 8-10, 2017. Hasbro fans and families from around the globe can purchase single day tickets or three-day tickets for the convention, with VIP packages available for super-fans and the most enthusiastic collectors. Today Hasbro also revealed the first round of talent appearances, panels and brand experiences set to take place during HASCON 2017. Appearances and meet & greets will be available with some of the biggest names from Hasbro, including DUDE PERFECT, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (Producer of all the TRANSFORMERS films, as well as G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra and G.I. JOE: Retaliation); Stan Lee (Marvel Comics Legend); Peter Cullen and Frank Welker (original TRANSFORMERS voice talent); Andrea Libman and Cathy Weseluck (voice talent of MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC and MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE), “Chewbacca Mom”, Candace Payne and more. This unique event will bring Hasbro’s most iconic brands to life like never before, including TRANSFORMERS, MY LITTLE PONY, NERF, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, PLAY-DOH, MONOPOLY and G.I. JOE, and exceptional partner brands such as BEYBLADE, DREAMWORKS TROLLS and SESAME STREET. Fans will get a peek behind the Hasbro curtain during the three days filled with exciting first-look previews and panels from Hasbro’s biggest television and movie series. Attendees will be immersed in hands-on, interactive experiences with oversized games such as PIE FACE and TOILET TROUBLE from HASBRO GAMING, photo opportunities with SESAME STREET and TROLLS costumed characters, epic BEYBLADE battles, a PLAY-DOH creation zone and the MY LITTLE PONY magical world of Equestria. FANmilies will be able to take photos with props from Hasbro’s movies and step into a custom-built NERF battle arena, maybe even with the guys from DUDE PERFECT. HASCON will also host MAGIC: THE GATHERING gameplay featuring an exclusive preview of the upcoming Iconic Masters card set. Youth fans, ages 3-15, have the opportunity to audition for Hasbro commercials and voice talent on our animated series. Fans also can purchase exclusive* Hasbro toys and merchandise including new TRANSFORMERS products. In addition, there will be activities inspired by several iconic Disney properties, including Disney Princess, Frozen, Elena of Avalor, Moana and Descendants 2, as well as Star Wars and Marvel’s Avengers, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. From movie props and costumes on display, to hands-on fun through art tutorials and more, these areas will be can’t-miss destinations during the show. “Hasbro constantly strives for new ways to bring our storytelling to life and offer fans greater access to our brands, and HASCON is designed to bring attendees closer to Hasbro’s biggest properties than ever before,” said John Frascotti, President of Hasbro. “We are assembling the ultimate fan celebration, with three days of marquee talent, interactive activities, immersive experiences, game events, panel discussions, VIP events and much more. We’re set to deliver an unforgettable experience for fans and families alike.” HASCON tickets are on-sale now. Single day tickets are available for $30 for youth (ages 3-15) and $60 for adults (ages 16+). Three-Day tickets range from $75 for youth (ages 3-15) to $165 for adults (ages 16+). VIP packages are also available for super-fans and the most enthusiastic collectors starting at $200 for youth (ages 3 – 15) and $600 for adults (ages 16+), plus taxes. To purchase tickets and stay up to date on all the latest information on HASCON 2017, please visit http://hascon.hasbro.com STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd. © Hiro Morita, BBBProject, TV TOKYO. © 2017 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved. Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) is a global play and entertainment company committed to Creating the World's Best Play Experiences. From toys and games to television, movies, digital gaming and consumer products, Hasbro offers a variety of ways for audiences to experience its iconic brands, including NERF, MY LITTLE PONY, TRANSFORMERS, PLAY-DOH, MONOPOLY, LITTLEST PET SHOP and MAGIC: THE GATHERING, as well as premier partner brands. The Company's Hasbro Studios and its film label, Allspark Pictures, are building its brands globally through great storytelling and content on all screens. Through its commitment to corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, Hasbro is helping to make the world a better place for children and their families. Hasbro ranked No. 1 on the 2017 100 Best Corporate Citizens list by CR Magazine, and has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere Institute for the past six years. Learn more at www.hasbro.com, and follow us on Twitter (@Hasbro & @HasbroNews) and Instagram (@Hasbro). *Limited quantities available on HasbroToyShop.com after HASCON.
News Article | June 6, 2017
NEW YORK and ARMONK, N.Y., June 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Sesame Workshop today announced that Georgia's Gwinnett County Public Schools, one of the nation's top urban school districts, has completed an initial pilot of the industry's first cognitive vocabulary learning...
News Article | March 19, 2016
Sesame Workshop, the organization that brought to life the beloved Sesame Street and countless other programs, has announced a new venture arm to invest in apps that help children develop. Working jointly with venture capital firm Collaborative Fund (which has funded companies like Lyft and AltSchool), Sesame Workshop has formed a new organization called Collab+Sesame. Currently, Collab+Sesame has access to a $10 million fund, which is intended to be used for Sesame Workshop’s core mission to “[help] kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder.” This change comes only a few months after the announcement of Sesame Workshop’s plan to partner with HBO for five years, giving the organization better funding to continue producing top-tier children’s programming. After 45 years of consistent quality, it’s clear that Sesame Workshop wants to evolve with the times and find new outlets to help children develop. The funding will be available in increments of up to $1 million, for a minimum of 10 startups backed by the Collab+Sesame venture. In addition to receiving funding, selected entrepreneurs will be paired with mentors from Sesame Workshop’s executive team. These partnerships will help the apps develop in meaningful directions, and will grant entrepreneurs access to Sesame Street characters and branding — a possibly powerful marketing and user-acceptance tool. However, it isn’t mandatory for entrepreneurs to use Sesame Street characters; they are merely available as an additional resource. Like with any venture capital partnership, there are some advantages and disadvantages to this model. For starters, the mentors from Sesame Workshop have nearly five decades of experience working with children and families, lending massive expertise to app development. The possible addition of Sesame Street characters and branding is another potentially lucrative advantage for prospective entrepreneurs. However, there may be some disadvantages that arise from the natural conflict of interest between a non-profit organization and a for-profit app. Currently, there aren’t many specific requirements for entrepreneurs or apps interested in a chance at the funding. Apps must be in some kind of developmental phase, and must serve a core function of improving childhood development in one of six areas: If your app fits one of these categories, you can consider yourself a potential applicant for this program. Working with Sesame Workshop could give your app (and brand) an enormous advantage and, together, you could do a lot of good for the children of the world. If you or your company is interested in applying for the program, read more details and apply here.
News Article | February 3, 2016
Starting today, every family in a Kansas City townhouse community called West Bluff will have access to Google Fiber, the gigabit-speed Internet access that makes other flavors of broadband feel like a sluggish anachronism. And they're getting it for free. West Bluff's 100 homes are part of a public housing development, and they're getting $0 Fiber as part of Google's commitment to bring Internet access to disadvantaged Americans, part of the ConnectHome initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Google Fiber has plans to offer its free service to 1,300 such households in Kansas City, and says it will also extend it to affordable housing developments in the other cities that are lucky enough to have Fiber. (It's currently available in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo, Utah, with six other cities on the way and more under consideration.) "More and more, tech-savvy brain power is the new currency of success," says HUD secretary Julián Castro, who will be on hand at West Bluff for the ceremonial rollout. "We don't have a single person to waste. We need to make sure that young folks of modest means also have to the tools they need to succeed in the 21st-century global economy." Without initiatives such as ConnectHome, poorer Americans' access to the Internet is iffy in multiple ways. Castro told me that more than half of low-income households don't have broadband. A new study by Sesame Workshop's Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Rutgers University reports that low-income parents in such households often have poor quality Internet and face service disruptions when they can't pay. Moreover, when low-cost broadband is available, they often don't take advantage of it. The point of ConnectHome is to make low-income communities having high-quality Internet access utterly commonplace. For middle- and high-income consumers who can easily afford Google Fiber, it's a huge hit: Penetration is 75% for such households in areas where service is available. At West Bluff, Google Fiber took pains to make getting online as easy as possible. It installed a Wi-Fi-enabled Internet box in each home, allowing residents to use PCs, tablets, and smartphones. The first time they connect, they get a sign-up page that lets them sign up for service, in the same form that's provided to paying customers. "It removes some of the friction of signing up and then waiting for a home install," says Erica Swanson, head of community impact for Google Fiber. "We wanted the new experience to be optimized for people getting online for the first time." Gigabit Internet isn't of much use to people who don't have devices that can make use of it, and while Internet-enabled phones are commonplace in low-income households, it's not a given that everyone has a PC or other bigger-screen device suitable for schoolwork and other educational activities of the sort that this initiative is designed to encourage. So Google Fiber is working with local partners in Kansas City such as Surplus Exchange to make refurbished PCs and other devices available at affordable prices. It's also partnering to conduct digital-literacy programs aimed at people who may have had less exposure to the Internet than the average American. For now, West Bluff stands alone as the best-connected public-housing development in America. But the whole point of ConnectHome is to make such communities having high-quality Internet access utterly commonplace. With Google Fiber's plan to reach 1,300 homes, "we're talking about a timeline in Kansas City of 4-6 months," says Castro. "For ConnectHome in general, in 28 communities, they've all held their initial convening, putting together a blueprint to connect public housing communities. We'll see more of them connected in the next few months."
News Article | November 18, 2016
DL Media earned the 2016 W³ Silver Award for their inkinktat.com responsive website design created for Ink Ink Tattoos & Piercings studios in Springfield and Branson, Mo. The website went through a comprehensive judging process, achieving very high marks in each of the judging criteria for the Art category. "It is very exciting to place in a competition amongst so many entrants, and judged by such seasoned professionals," says Dianne Davis, owner of DL Media. "We're thrilled to take home a W³ Silver Award." Receiving nearly 5,000 entries, the W³ Awards honors outstanding websites, web marketing, web video, mobile sites/apps and social content created by some of the best interactive agencies, designers and creators worldwide. W³ judges critiqued the winners of the 2016 W³ Awards based on a standard of excellence as determined by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), according to the category entered. To uphold a high standard of excellence, a category may have multiple winners, or may have no winners at all. Entries were scored on a 100-point scale by the judges. Less than 10% of all entries were selected as Gold Award winners. Other outstanding entries were selected as Silver Award winners. “On behalf of the 750+ members of The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, we salute the talents and high level of execution our winners display and commend all of this year’s entrants for their dedication and commitment to online excellence,” said Linda Day, the director of the AIVA. DL Media designed inkinktat.com with the goal of showing the world ink isn’t just a man’s game. They endeavored to create a fabulous showcase for each artist’s work, while also introducing the individual artists on Ink Ink’s team. The site features an interactive tattoo portfolio sortable by artist or tattoo type, social media integration, a monthly customer feature section, live chat capability and an online shop for selling Ink Ink gear. The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award-winning websites, web video and online marketing programs. Simply put, W³ is the first major web competition to be accessible to the biggest agencies, the smallest firms and everyone in between. Small firms are as likely to win as Fortune 500 companies and international agencies. The W³ Awards is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a "Who's Who" of acclaimed media, advertising and marketing firms. AIVA members include executives from organizations such as Agencynet, AvatarLabs, Big Spaceship, Brandweek, Code and Theory, Disney, HBO, Microsoft, Monster.com, MTV, Sesame Workshop, Victoria’s Secret, Wired and Yahoo!. Visit aiva.org for a full member list and additional information. For more information about the W³ Awards, visit w3award.com. Established in 2013 by tattoo artist Kelsey Rogers, Ink Ink puts a new spin on the tattoo and piercing world. Ink Ink, Missouri’s only all-female tattoo studio, dares to show the world ink isn’t just a man’s game. Each licensed Ink Ink tattoo artist receives training from Rogers. Artists are then encouraged to develop their own style and flair. Ink Ink’s Springfield location is located on historic Commercial Street with a second location in Branson. Founded in 1997, DL Media is a full-service digital marketing and advertising agency headquartered in Nixa, Mo. The agency works to advance clients’ businesses by helping solve marketing challenges through relevant, engaging and compelling communications. For more information about DL Media visit dlmedia.com.
News Article | October 11, 2016
At first, it’s a familiar scene: three girls curled up on a sofa after school, watching cartoons, with their backpacks dumped in the corner. But there’s no actual TV to complete the picture. Instead, each girl holds an iPad loaded with Toca TV, a beta version of a new video product developed by app maker Toca Boca. They giggle as the chronically stymied "evil genius" on screen fails once again—and then move on to the next short video. On either side of the room, in Toca Boca’s Brooklyn offices, two user experience researchers take notes. Five-year-old Toca Boca, based in Stockholm, is best known for apps like Toca Hair Salon and Toca Kitchen, which transform classic children's play patterns into digital experiences. If you have young kids, you are very likely among the families that have contributed to Toca Boca’s 140 million downloads. (The company started as an R&D effort within publisher Bonnier and sold in April to Spin Master, the maker of Etch-A-Sketch and other toys and games.) Toca TV, which launched last week, represents the next phase in Toca’s effort to build a digital-first kids’ franchise. The app costs $4.99 per month and takes direct aim at YouTube with a video library designed for kids ages 5 to 9. Baking tutorials, cute animals, Minecraft skits, silly music videos: The short takes, most less than five minutes in length, mirror the kind of content that can attract millions of views on YouTube. "When kids decide themselves, they watch a much wider array of things than television executives have been able to foresee," says Toca Boca cofounder and CEO Björn Jeffery. "The length is different, the production value and time is different, the tone of voice is different—it’s almost people tuning into a friend." But Toca TV differs from YouTube and other video platforms in two notable ways. For one, the video library reflects Toca’s particular perspective on kid-friendly entertainment. There are no A-B-C’s or 1-2-3’s, for example, because the company focuses, quite simply, on play. "Learning how to be creative, being a good friend, waiting for your turn—there are loads of things that are important to learn but don’t have anything to do with curriculum," Jeffery says. The result is a set of videos that celebrate being silly ("Don’t mix us up!" a lettuce and a cabbage, wearing glo-sticks and sunglasses, sing in one video) or clever (think epic domino setups) in a way that feels accessible. In addition, the app provides a tool for creating videos, including Snapchat-style stickers. "Toca is all about play," says J Milligan, who spent nearly two decades at Sesame Workshop before signing on to develop Toca TV last spring. "While it’s fine to chill and lean back, we also really want to inspire and build into the platform tools that allow you to make stuff as well." Kids can record and save videos, and with help from a parent, upload their work to a social network like Facebook. But crucially, there is no public sharing within the app: Toca TV itself is closed and private. "It’s between preschool and ‘I want to be on Instagram,’" Milligan says. "There’s this part of childhood that’s tricky from a content point of view. It’s not that there’s nothing to watch, but we don’t think that anyone is thinking about it quite right." His team has pulled in content from studios like DreamWorksTV and AwesomenessTV to round out the originals it has been developing in-house, some of which are based on Toca Boca’s apps. All told, Toca TV includes video from more than 75 creators and networks. Back in the testing session, a researcher asks the group to show her how they might search for specific videos. A 9-year-old girl scans her iPad screen, then taps a button. It’s not search, but the video recorder, set to selfie-orientation: Her surprised face stares back at her from between giant biting teeth, a Toca-designed sticker. She smiles, suddenly shy, and then goes back to her dominoes video.
News Article | February 13, 2017
In 2016, an estimated 400 million people interacted with IBM’s Watson: The artificial intelligence platform now processes data to assist in everything from oncology treatments to NBA draft picks. In the past year, dozens of companies, including GM, Japan Airlines, Hilton, and Pfizer, have launched initiatives using IBM’s intelligence. Watson owes its ubiquity to the dozens of new AI tools, including emotional analysis and image recognition, that it offers developers. "Our mission is to let people own their own AI," says David Kenny, general manager of IBM Watson. Retail outlets such as Macy’s and the Mall of America are employing Watson’s language-processing tools to help shoppers navigate their stores. After the North Face embedded Watson in its website to match users to winter jackets, the company saw a double-digit percentage boost in order value. A new collaboration between Sesame Workshop and IBM is leveraging Watson’s pattern recognition and natural language-processing skills to create preschool curriculums tailored to children’s learning styles. A Watson-powered vocabulary-builder app will start rolling out this spring. The labor rights group Our Walmart recently created a chat app called WorkIt that uses Watson to digest the retailer’s employment issues and policies (including leave-of-absence and sick-leave procedures) and answer questions that employees may not want to pose to managers. This article is part of our coverage of the World's Most Innovative Companies of 2017. A version of this article appeared in the March 2017 issue of Fast Company magazine.
News Article | November 9, 2016
The ultimate questions for this Sandbox 2011 panel, posed by the presenter, are "Where is technology not working? When is technology not the answer?" That's a bold agenda for a panel of children's media creators and a roomful of other producers in the industry, from Sesame Workshop, WGBH, 360 Kid, and elsewhere. From the panel's energetic presentations emerges an unapologetic enthusiasm for more technology engagement and richer media experiences for kids - generally in the form of "Trans-media," connecting stories and personalities across platforms.