Sprout (TV network)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2012)|
|Launched||September 26, 2005|
|Owned by||NBCUniversal Cable (NBCUniversal)|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to center cut 480i for SDTVs)
|Headquarters||Comcast Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Formerly called||PBS Kids Sprout (2005–2013)|
|DirecTV||Channel 295 (SD)|
|C-Band||AMC 11 - Channel 55 (4DTV Digital)
AMC 18 - Channel 55 (H2H 4DTV)
|Verizon FiOS||263 (SD)|
|Available on most other U.S. cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
|AT&T U-verse||1337 (HD)
|Bell Fibe TV||558 (SD)
Sprout is an American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by the NBCUniversal Cable subsidiary of NBCUniversal. The network, which also maintains a complimentary video-on-demand (VOD) service and website, features a mix of children's programs acquired from the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and original programming exclusive to the network, which is aimed at preschoolers and their families. The network's live programming and wraparound segments are produced out of facilities based in the Comcast Center, the headquarters of NBCUniversal parent company Comcast, in the Center City district of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
As of August 2013, Sprout is available to approximately 55,218,000 pay television households (48.35% of households with television) in the United States.
On October 20, 2004, PBS announced that it had entered into a joint partnership with cable provider Comcast, and production companies HIT Entertainment and Sesame Workshop to launch a then-unnamed cable and satellite television channel aimed at preschool children. On April 4, 2005, Comcast announced that the network's video on demand service, which would be named PBS Kids Sprout, would launch that day, and that the linear television network would launch later on September 1, 2005; the launch date for the television service was later delayed three weeks to September 26. When Sprout launched on September 26, it replaced the PBS Kids channel on some providers – helping give it an initial reach of 16.5 million pay television subscribers; the first program to be broadcast on the network was Boobah, airing at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
When Apax Partners sold HIT Entertainment to Mattel on October 24, 2011, HIT's ownership interest in Sprout was not included in the deal and was retained by Apax Partners. In November 2013, NBCUniversal acquired Apex and PBS's shares in the network, giving the company full ownership of the network, with its operations being merged into its NBCUniversal Cable subsidiary. As a result, the "PBS Kids" branding was dropped from the network's name, renaming it as Sprout.
Sprout's schedule consists of programming carried by PBS – including those syndicated directly to that network's member television stations by outside distributors (such as Sesame Street, Barney & Friends, Caillou, Super Why! and Thomas & Friends), acquired programming (such as LazyTown, Justin Time, Tree Fu Tom and Poppy Cat) and originally produced programming (such as Pajanimals and The Chica Show). Unlike other children's television networks, Sprout would usually air programs (which are packaged into two 11-minute segments) that only last one segment. Sprout also aired programming blocks that fill most of the network's schedule, except between 12:00 and 6:00 p.m. and 3:00 and 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time (3:00 and 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time only on weekends).
In July 2012, Sprout began to produce a Saturday morning programming block aimed at preschoolers, NBC Kids (along with MiTelemundo, a Spanish-dubbed version of the block airing on sister network Telemundo that airs on both Saturdays and Sundays), which replaced a similarly formatted block – which itself was produced in conjunction with NBCUniversal – called Qubo, which had been airing on NBC and Telemundo since September 2006 (Qubo continues to exist as a Friday morning block for Ion Television, whose parent Ion Media Networks now wholly owns the block's companion digital multicast network).
Since NBCUniversal took over management of Sprout in 2011, following its acquisition by the network’s original managing partner Comcast, Sprout has evolved from its initial intent to serve as a home for archived content produced by the partners and has invested more heavily in original programming, in order to better compete with fellow preschool-oriented cable networks, Nick Jr. and Disney Junior. Under NBCUniversal, programs seen on the network such as The Chica Show have gained increased visibility airing as part of the NBC Kids block.
- The Sunny Side Up Show – The Sunny Side Up Show is the network's late morning block, airing from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
- SuperSproutlet Show – The SuperSproutlet Show is the network's early morning block, airing daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time; replacing the Wiggly Waffle block, it previously aired from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
- Good Night Show – The Good Night Show is the network's evening and overnight block, airing daily from 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
Sprout HD is a high definition simulcast feed of the Sprout channel that was first announced in May 2010 and began broadcasting on September 1, 2010. All programs filmed in HD are presented in 16:9 widescreen, whereas programs that are not filmed in high definition are presented in a 4:3 letterboxed format. It is currently available on Comcast, AT&T U-verse, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, and Time Warner Cable.
Sprout On Demand
Sprout On Demand is the channel's video-on-demand service which launched on April 4, 2005 on Comcast, six months prior to launch of the linear Sprout channel. The service offers 50 hours of programs a month, with 25% of the programs updated every two weeks.
- "Sprout TV, It’s a Philly Thing!". Frugal Philly Mom. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Sprouting her wings". Philadelphia Inquirer. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- Seidman, Robert (August 23, 2013). "List of How Many Homes Each Cable Networks Is In - Cable Network Coverage Estimates As Of August 2013". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- "Comcast, HIT Entertainment, PBS and Sesame Workshop Announce Plans to Launch Ground-breaking 24-hour Preschool Children's Television Channel" (Press release). Arlington, VA: PBS. 2004-10-20. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
- Braude, Jonathan (October 24, 2011). "Apax sells Hit Entertainment to Mattel". The Deal. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
- Jensen, Elizabeth. "NBCUniversal Takes Full Ownership of Sprout Cable Network". New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
- Nordyke, Kimberly (November 13, 2013). "NBCUniversal Acquires Ownership of Kids' Channel Sprout". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- Hagey, Keach (November 13, 2013). "NBCUniversal Buys Remainder of Sprout Network". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
- "NBC Will Launch NBC Kids, a New Saturday Morning Preschool Block Programmed by Sprout®, Saturday, July 7". MarketWatch. March 28, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Rubino, Lindsay (March 28, 2012). "NBC, With Assist From Sprout, to Launch Saturday Morning Preschool Block". MultiChannel News. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Jensen, Elizabeth. "NBC Universal Takes Full Ownership of Sprout Cable Network". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
- 24-HOUR PRESCHOOL TELEVISION CHANNEL SPROUT® TO LAUNCH IN HD
- Official website
- Comcast, PBS Plan New Service (Frank Ahrens, Washington Post, April 5, 2005)
- Saluting Sprout's Launch: PBS Sprouts a Kids Triumph (Debra Kaufman, TelevisionWeek, December 5, 2005)
- Kids Sprout Takes Root as Leader in Genre (Allison J. Waldman, "TelevisionWeek", Nov 27, 2006)