Starz Bows ‘Chuggington’ Preschool App15 Nov, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Starz Digital Media has launched an app that enables preschoolers to interact with mini episodes based on the “Chuggington” CG-animated TV series on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
“Chuggington” airs on the Disney Junior channel earmarked for children from the age of 2 to 7.
The “Chuggington: Terrific Trainee!” app features 16 missions starring characters from the series, including Wilson, Brewster, Koko and Action Chugger, that combine the fun of train play with the intuitiveness of the smartphone and tablet mini computer.
Preschoolers can activate myriad train features during game play with a simple press or swipe of the finger, including jump, speed boost, grow, fly, switch tracks to avoid obstacles, load and unload deliveries, make pickups and more. The app also guides children through leveled game play, while they earn bronze, silver and gold badges as rewards for their accomplishments.
The app underscores the heretofore little-known demand for preschool-aged interactive educational entertainment on smartphones and tablets.
“Preschoolers are all over it,” said David Katz, VP, Starz Media. “These things are great for the car; they are so easy for kids to use.”
Katz said advances in interactive educational video allow parents to supplant the television as a means of stimulating young children.
He said the advent of educational games with social and entertainment components are supplemental to preschool DVDs.
Ryan Heller, senior manager with Starz Media, said the market for packaged media will always exist, but for younger parents immersed in the digital age and familiar with smartphones, tablets, downloading and streaming, the apps are a logical next step.
Heller said the apps offer a portable shorter entertainment experience to a parent grocery shopping who needs to entertain their 3-year-old for five minutes.
“This is supplemental [to DVD],” he said.
The app retails for $1.99 for the iPhone and $2.99 for the iPad and are available at the App Store.
Starz Digital Media is a unit of Starz Media and responsible for all digital and on-demand distribution of content from Anchor Bay Entertainment, Starz Originals from Starz Entertainment and Manga Entertainment, among others.