New Kidvid on the Block29 Nov, 2002 By: Jessica Wolf
Barney and the VeggieTales have some friendly competition in the kids singing, dancing positive-message arena these days, thanks to an up-and-coming supplier, Raven Moon Entertainment.
The Heathrow, Fla.-based company produces one line of children's direct-to-video and music products, “Gina D's Kids Club,” and in the past few months has made some major moves to develop and distribute new video programming and create licensing opportunities for the educational/morality-based kids programs.
“It's a family-focused video line that plays to every audience,” Raven Moon president and founder Joey DiFrancesco said. “It has positive music with uplifting lyrics for children and catchy melodies, funny characters, animation and special messages for children.”
DiFrancesco and his wife Bernadette both have backgrounds in the music industry and founded Raven Moon Entertainment in 1998. They write and produce content for their star, Gina -- also their daughter -- who in the past has worked as a Disney and and MGM tour guide.
“She's a person that children and parents can relate to,” DiFrancesco said. “She's a great role model, because she's a young parent herself. She's very believable and sincere in what she's doing.”
One of the program's safety messages for children, “Mr. Bicycle Man,” an animated 60-second music video in which star Gina sings about bicycle safety, was released as a TV public service announcement earlier this year. Nearly 170 network television affiliates are airing the PSA in 45 states, DiFrancesco said.
In September, Raven Moon teamed up with the Chicago-based nonprofit organization Oral Health America's nationwide “Smile-Ability” campaign to create a new Gina D PSA promoting the benefits of good dental care for kids. The new PSAs began airing in the 44 markets in mid-November. “Smile-Ability” is also a part of Gina D's new three-episode DVD.
This exposure is a great way to highlight the growing number of video products Raven Moon has available for “Gina D's Kids Club,” DiFrancesco said. This fourth quarter, Raven Moon completed and began shipping its Gina D's Kids Club Video Volume II and II, available on VHS, a three-episode DVD and Sing Along With Gina available on VHS and DVD. Raven Moon also has three “Gina D” music CDs available, and the company is in the process of producing TV programming for the line as well as licensed product through New York-based Greenview Toys.
Gina D titles are distributed through FaithWorks Distribution and have recently been picked up by large retailers like Wal-Mart, Ingram Book Co. and Barnes & Noble.
Joey DiFrancesco said the time is right for more inspirational family programming.
“We really appreciate the VeggieTales people for making the market,” he said. “We think there is an absolute need for this type of product, and we are ready to supply it. It's family values. It's not necessary religious, but it has the values that parents -- whether they are Jewish, Christian or Hindu -- want their children to have.”