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Amazon: The Kids Are Alright

27 Aug, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The e-commerce behemoth ups ante on children’s digital programming, greenlighting its sixth kids pilot series

Amazon Studios Aug. 27 said it has approved a pilot for original children’s series “Maker Shack Agency” — the sixth pilot geared toward younger audiences.

Produced by Electus Studios (“The Hero,” “Killer Women” and “Get Out Alive”), “Maker Shack Agency” follows the exploits of 13-year-old inventor Angus Wolfe, aka “Wolfie,” and his two best friends and fellow “makers,” Jo and Merle, in the hardscrabble town of Akron, Ohio.

These three teenage thinkers and tinkerers use all the branches of science and personal ingenuity to solve their client’s problems by making a new invention every episode. Together, they make people’s lives better by coming up with science and technology-inspired inventions for their various problems.

The producers will team up with R&D company Applied Minds and their scientists, engineers and programmers to design gadgets that will be featured on the show to inspire.

The younger demo-themed original series underscores Amazon’s move to target a niche market that also has Netflix and Hulu as major competitors. Netflix a few years ago got the jump when it launched the “Just for Kids” platform that enabled younger viewers to browse, stream and track age-appropriate content without commercials.

The platform was a huge success, and widely considered a primary reason Nickelodeon’s television ratings took a precipitous decline at the time.

Just last month, Amazon announced five new kids pilots including Gortimer Gibbon’s “Life on Normal Street,” “Grid Smasher,” “Hard-Boiled Eggheads,” “The Jo B. & G. Raff Show” and “Wishenpoof!” The pilots will be available on Amazon Instant Video early next year to watch and provide feedback.

“With ‘Maker Shack Agency,’ we hope to inspire kids to think about new and different ways to solve life’s problems and to never be afraid of failure,” said Drew Buckley, COO and head of digital for Electus.

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