|Launched||May 11, 2006|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV) 16:9 Letterbox
|Slogan||Watch Your Baby Blossom|
|Broadcast area||United States
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|DirecTV (United States)||293|
|Dish Network (United States)||823, 824|
|Digiturk (Turkey)||Channel 164|
|aora TV Satelit (Indonesia)||114|
|UPC Poland||Channel 667|
|ABNXcess (Malaysia)||Channel 158|
|UniFi (Malaysia)||Channel 551|
|SkyAngel (United States)||308|
|AT&T U-verse (U.S.)||Channel 310|
|Digital media receiver||Roku|
BabyFirst is a media company that produces and distributes content for babies through television, the internet and mobile apps. The content is intended to develop a baby's skills, such as color recognition, counting and vocabulary. There are about 90 BabyFirst TV shows and 41 apps for mobile devices. As of 2014, the network is distributed to 81 million homes, and is based in Los Angeles, California.
BabyFirst was founded in 2004 by Guy Oranim and Sharon Rechter. Its first broadcast was through DirectTV in 2006. It was funded by Regency Enterprises, Kardan, and Bellco Capital. Distribution expanded through agreements with the Echostar Dish Network, Comcast, AT&T U-verse and others. It also developed a premium BabyFirst YouTube channel, and mobile apps. One app developed with AT&T U-verse allows babies to interact with the television programming by drawing on a mobile device.
BabyFirst was founded in 2004 by Guy Oranim and Sharon Rechter. The network was launched on May 11, 2006 on DirecTV and was later made available through EchoStar's Dish Network that June. It was made available through EchoStar's Dish Network that June. The BabyFirst network is based in Los Angeles and was initially funded by Regency Enterprises (a Hollywood movie studio), Kardan (a holding company) & Bellco Capital (a private fund). BabyFirst was controversial when it was introduced, because it was the first 24-hour channel for children six months to three years in age. However, the channel was popular among parents and grew quickly.
In 2007, BabyFirst obtained agreements to distribute the channel in the United Kingdom through the BSkyB satellite network as well as in Mexico through Sky Mexico and Cablevision. A French version was introduced with CanalSat in 2007. By the end of 2007, it had arranged broadcasting agreements throughout Europe, the Middle-East and Canada among others.
BabyFirst also started broadcasting in ten territories in the Asia Pacific, such as China and Korea. In October 2008, SingTel started distributing the channel to the Singapore audience. It was also being broadcast in Africa and Latin America. In May 2008, it signed a distribution agreement with Time Warner Cable. In 2009, HBO Asia became the exclusive distributor for the channel in Asia. A bilingual Latin/English channel, BabyFirst Americas, was launched with Comcast in 2012. A premium BabyFirst YouTube channel was introduced in June 2013.
In the early 2000s, the Federal Trade Commission responded to a complaint by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood alleging that BabyFirst's advertising that it helped babies develop skills was misleading. The FTC did not impose any sanctions. As of 2014, it has 81 million viewers and is broadcast in 33 countries, in ten languages.
In 2013, former ABC Network President Steven McPherson and Rich Frank, the former chairman of Disney TV became investors and board members as the company worked to develop new content and improve advertising revenues. In May 2014, BabyFirst and AT&T U-verse released a co-developed second-screen app for mobile devices that allows children to interact with the television programming through tablets or smartphones.
BabyFirst's television channel provides 24-hour programming for babies. About 90 percent of the 90 shows BabyFirst produces are original content created at BabyFirst's studios. It produces and broadcasts short videos three to five minutes in length that are either live-action or animated.
The New York Times described the content as "decidedly unhurried" and sait it makes extensive use of bright colors and upbeat music. Programming development is guided by child psychology experts and is designed to encourage a child's skills development, such as counting, vocabulary and color recognition. The BabyFirst logo in the corner changes colors to indicate the skills a segment is intended to develop. Late-night programming is intended to lull viewers to sleep.
Some experts argue that exposing children to television at such an early age is taking technology too far or that parents are using BabyFirst as a digital babysitter. Parents in-turn refute that argument, claiming that experts have lost touch with the realities of raising a child. BabyFirst suggests the programming is intended to be watched by parents and their children together in an interactive way. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against exposing children under the age of two to television, while a 2003 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that most children under two years of age are already watching TV. According to The Washington Post, very little is known about whether young children watching television has a negative or positive effect on them.
- Guid, Elizabeth; Leffler, Rebecca (October 10, 2007). "Fox, CanalSat members of a baby boom". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
- Miller, DiAngelea (June 6, 2013). "BabyFirst, with premium YouTube channel and new investor, expands". Los Angeles Times.
- Carvaja, Doreen (May 19, 2008). "What can TV do for your baby? 2 channels specialized in child fare are thriving, but critics cite risks of too much viewing". International Herald Tribune.
- Robinson (May 12, 2006). "'Screen Test' Toddler - Kid & Folks Rate Baby TV". The New York Post. p. 8.
- Davis, Joyzelle (June 14, 2006). "EchoStar to offer BabyFirst channel". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- Itzkoff, Dave (May 21, 2006). "TV Moves A Step Closer To the Womb". The New York Times. p. 1.
- Shin, Annys (February 24, 2007). "Diaper Demographic; TV, Video Programming for the Under-2 Market Grows Despite Lack of Clear Educational Benefit". The Washington Post.
- Karen B. TV for tots a turnoff. Courier Mail, The (Brisbane) [serial online]. October 14, 2009;:33. Available from: Newspaper Source Plus, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Clemetson, Lynette (25 May 2006). "Parents Making Use of TV Despite Risks". The New York Times. p. 16.
- Brennan, Steve (March 20, 2007). "BabyFirstTV crawls its way to U.S.". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- Proudfoot, Shannon (July 27, 2007). "24-hour TV for kids under 3 is on the air". Winnipeg Free Press.
- Vlessing, Etan (July 26, 2007). "BabyFirst crawling onto Canadian TV". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Wong, Christine (November 1, 2008). "Crossing the channels: despite the economic crisis, this year has seen a slew of new channels roll out in the region, with some still set to launch". Television Asia.
- "BabyFirstTV on SingTel's mio TV". Television Asia. October 1, 2008.
- Schneider, Michael (May 9, 2008). "Time Warner to carry BabyFirst". Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- "HBO Asia strikes agreement to represent BabyFirst, WarnerTV across Asia". Television Asia. December 1, 2009.
- Moore, Frazier (February 21, 2012). "Comcast to start new minority-owned cable channels". Associated Press.
- "Comcast Outlines Plan to Carry 4 Minority-Owned Channels". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
- Lafayette, Hayes (September 2, 2013). "McPherson Seeks More Carriage for Kid-TV Net". Broadcasting & Cable.
- Jackson, Cherese (February 22, 2014). "KneeBouncers Joins BabyFirst to Develop Interactive TV Series". Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- "Baby Boom: Profile: BabyFirst". Spring 2014.
- Getzler, Wendy (December 9, 2013). "With Rich Frank on-board, BabyFirst kicks into ad mode". Kidscreen. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
- Baumgartner, Jeff (May 8, 2014). "AT&T, BabyFirst Team On U-verse App". Multichannel News.
- Taylor, Kate (August 8, 2007). "Ok, I admit it: Treehouse is a parent's dream". Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
- Proudfoot, Shannon (July 27, 2007). "New network for the newly born; Commercial-free, 24-hour station for babies to launch in Canada". The Star Phoenix. pp. B8.
- Karen Brooks (2008). Consuming Innocence: Popular Culture and Our Children. Univ. of Queensland Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7022-3645-7.
- Villalpando, Nicole (August 24, 2012). "BabyFirst develops baby's first apps". The Statesman. Retrieved May 23, 2014.