EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 11, 2006-- DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's leading digital television service provider, will be the first to offer the new BabyFirstTV (www.BabyFirstTV.com) channel to its customers today. BabyFirstTV is a new premium channel in the United States dedicated to providing rich, positive content for babies, toddlers and their parents. The channel is created by leading experts in child development and education, and provides interactive opportunities for parents and baby to bond, learn and explore together. BabyFirstTV gives parents an incredible value with access to hundreds of hours of new and different programming for less than the price of a single baby-branded DVD. As part of BabyFirstTV's national rollout, DIRECTV will offer subscribers free access to the programming for the month of May in celebration of Mother's Day (a $9.99 value).
Supported by top child development experts, BabyFirstTV specifically is tailored to meet the needs of babies up to three years of age in a safe and inspiring commercial-free learning environment. The channel transforms traditional TV into a developmental interactive tool that relies on television as a means to deliver high-quality programming and an engaging experience for both parents and baby. Featuring 80 percent original content, BabyFirstTV offers parents a positive way to bond with baby and help foster learning and development.
"BabyFirstTV offers unique, interactive features and content that makes it different than any other children's programming or DVDs in the market today," said Sharon Rechter, executive vice president, Business Development and Marketing and one of BabyFirstTV's founders. "We created BabyFirstTV to provide parents with affordable and age-appropriate content -- offering new opportunities to interact with their children. The channel offers a positive, educational and engaging experience for babies during their early stages of learning, while providing high quality content when and where parents want it."
"We have seen a strong demand for high-quality programming for babies and their parents that is safe and suitable for young viewers, and content that can help them bond and interact together," said Dan Fawcett, executive vice president, DIRECTV. "DIRECTV is excited to give free subscriptions to BabyFirstTV for the month of May to express our gratitude to all the inspiring parents who are looking for new, innovative ways to bond and learn with their children."
BabyFirstTV Programming Features
BabyFirstTV offers the following programming elements to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for both parents and their children:
-- Original and Award-winning Content: BabyFirstTV features 80 percent original content customized for infants and toddlers from six months to three years old -- including more than 38 original programs such as "Rainbow Horse," "Sandman" and "I Can Sign." The channel also offers parents the popular and award-winning baby DVD brands, including Brainy Baby(TM), First Impressions(TM), So Smart(TM) and Baby Songs(TM). BabyFirstTV has an agreement with Sterling Publishing (owned by Barnes and Noble) to incorporate many children's books into their "Story Time" program.
-- Interactive Parents' Subtitles: The channel offers subtitles for parents to guide them on words and movements to use with baby during the programs -- making the experience as interactive and engaging as reading a book.
-- Color-coded Programming Guide: BabyFirstTV helps inform parents about the educational value of each segment with its unique color-coded system. The BabyFirstTV flower logo changes colors according to the specific program content. For example, blue for Numbers Parade, red for Language Playground, etc.
-- Multi-layer Content: BabyFirstTV content is adaptable to the different levels of a baby's development. Each show offers elements that can appeal to younger babies and older toddlers simultaneously, so children at various levels and age groups can focus on something different within the same program.
-- Flexible Programming: BabyFirstTV features programming, as well as video-on-demand (VOD) capabilities to offer parents access to content when and where they want it. The channel also offers content for different times of the day -- daytime programs engage and delight baby, while evening content helps soothe the baby to prepare for sleep.
-- Best Value for Money: BabyFirstTV provides hundreds of hours of high-quality programming for a fraction of the price of existing baby-DVDs. The channel's monthly fee ($9.99) is lower than the price of a single baby-DVD.
-- Programming Just for Parents (Coming Soon): By Summer 2006, BabyFirstTV will offer one hour of daily programming (extended to two hours in 2007) geared only to parents, offering tips and advice, including proper nutrition, safety, etc.
Parent and Child Co-Viewing Experience
Many babies watch television on a daily basis; in fact, 68 percent of children under two watch on-screen media every day(a). Understanding that television is a part of today's environment, BabyFirstTV provides parents with the tools to transform television into an active learning and interaction opportunity with their child. The programming features interactive subtitles and a unique color-coded system that helps inform parents about the specific value of each segment -- as the flower logo changes color, parents can identify the educational focus of the program. Starting today, parents can download a Parents' Guide on the BabyFirstTV Web site to access tips and guidance for their children's television viewing and ultimately take an active role in their overall development.
BabyFirstTV's content is supervised and supported by a worldwide Advisory Board that provides academic supervision as a key to ensuring programming quality. The board is comprised of leading child psychologists and development experts, including: Dr. Edward McCabe, M.D., Ph.D, professor and executive chair of the UCLA Dept. of Pediatrics, and physician-in-chief of the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA; Dr. Arthur Pober, BabyFirstTV chief educational officer; Dr. Richard Woolfson, author and child psychologist; Dr. Mary Ann LoFrumento, author, pediatrician and parenting expert; Dr. Lynne Kenney Markan, child psychologist and parenting expert; and Reveta Bowers, administrator and head of school at The Center for Early Education. The Board provides their "stamp of approval" on all BabyFirstTV programs and ensures that they offer a safe, positive learning environment with no commercials, no violence and no over-sensory stimulants.
"We're trying to redefine the way traditional television is perceived -- it's more than a box in your living room," said Dr. Edward McCabe, M.D., Ph.D, physician-in-chief, Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA and BabyFirstTV Advisory Board member. "When used responsibly, television can be a powerful interactive medium that provides parents with unique opportunities to bond with their children. The key is the quality and interactive nature of the content, and this is what BabyFirstTV offers to parents."
BabyFirstTV is available today for the first time on DIRECTV for $9.99 a month. In celebration of Mother's Day, DIRECTV is offering subscribers free access to the channel throughout the month of May.
About DIRECTV, Inc.
DIRECTV, Inc. is the nation's leading digital television service provider with more than 15 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc. DIRECTV (NYSE:DTV) is a world-leading provider of digital multichannel television entertainment. DIRECTV is approximately 37 percent owned by News Corporation.
BabyFirstTV is the first channel in the U.S. dedicated to providing rich, innovative inspiring content designed to enhance baby's development in a delightful and engaging way. Supported by leading child development experts, the network is specifically tailored to meet the needs of babies in a safe and inspiring commercial-free learning environment. Featuring 80 percent original content, BabyFirstTV offers parents a positive way to bond with baby and help foster learning and development. For more information, go to www.BabyFirstTV.com.
(a) Kaiser Family Foundation, "Zero to Six: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers," Fall 2003.
SOURCE: DIRECTV, Inc.
Darris Gringeri, 212-462-5136
PainePR for BabyFirstTV
Anita Odle, 949-809-6776