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CountryUnited States, Singapore
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Language(s)English, French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish
Picture format1080i HDTV
OwnerFirst Media:
LaunchedMay 11, 2006; 18 years ago (2006-05-11)
Streaming media
Service(s)DirecTV Stream, Frndly TV, MeWatch

BabyFirst (stylized in all lowercase since 2019) is an American pay television channel producing and distributing content for babies from 0–3 years[1] and their parents through television, the internet, and mobile applications. The channel is owned by First Media US, Fremantle, Mediacorp and RTL.[2] The content is intended to develop an infant's skills, such as color recognition, counting and vocabulary.

The network is based in Los Angeles, California and is available in over 120 million homes in 33 countries and in 13 languages.[3][4]



BabyFirst was announced in 2004[5] by Guy Oranim and Sharon Rechter.[6][7][8] The network was launched on May 11, 2006, on DirecTV and made available through EchoStar's Dish Network in June 2006.[9][10] It is based in Los Angeles and was initially funded by Regency Enterprises, Kardan and Bellco Capital.[11][12] The channel was controversial as the first 24-hour channel for children six months to three years in age,[12][13] but it was popular among parents[14][15][16] and grew quickly.[9]

Distribution expansion[edit]

In the 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.[9][17]

By 2008, it was broadcasting in ten territories in the Asia Pacific, such as China and Korea.[18] In October 2008, SingTel started distributing the channel to the Singapore audience.[19] It was also being broadcast in Africa and Latin America.[9] In May 2008, it signed a distribution agreement with Time Warner Cable.[9][20][21] In 2009, HBO Asia became the exclusive distributor in Asia.[22]

In 2011, the network 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.[23] A French version was introduced with CanalSat in 2011.[5] In late 2011, it had arranged broadcasting agreements throughout Europe,[24] the Middle East,[23][24] and Canada.[25]

A bilingual Latin and English channel, BabyFirst Americas, was launched with Comcast in 2012.[26][27] A premium YouTube channel was introduced in June 2013.[6]

Recent history[edit]

In 2013, former ABC Network President Steven McPherson[6] and Rich Frank, the former chairman of Disney Channel[28] became investors and board members as the company worked to develop new content and improve advertising revenues.[28] In May 2014, BabyFirst and AT&T U-verse released a co-developed second-screen app for mobile devices for children to interact with the television programming through tablets or smartphones.[29]


The television channel provides 24-hour programming for babies.[30] About 90 percent of the 90 shows it produces are original content created at its studios.[12][31] Acquired programs include Mio Mao, Squeak!, Teletubbies, Bob the Builder: Ready, Steady, Build!, The Very Small Creatures and Word Party. The format of the network limits each of the network's presentations to three to five minutes of length that are either live-action or animated.[13][31]

The New York Times described the content as "decidedly unhurried," making extensive use of bright colors and upbeat music.[13] Programming development is said to be guided by child psychology experts and is designed to encourage a child's skills development, such as counting, vocabulary and color recognition.[6][12][24][32] The channel 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.[13]

There are also 41 BabyFirst apps for mobile devices.[31] An app available to AT&T U-verse viewers allows children to draw on a mobile device and have the drawing appear on the television screen.[29]

Some experts argue that exposing children to television at such an early age is taking technology too far or that parents are using the channel as a digital babysitter. Parents, in turn, refute that argument, claiming that experts have lost touch with the realities of raising a child.[33] The firm suggests the programming is intended to be watched by parents and their children together in an interactive way.[34]


  1. ^ Lopez, Lopez (June 4, 2019). "First Media Renews Content Partnership With China-Based Streamer iQiyi". Yahoo. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  2. ^ "BABYFIRST Now on Verizon Fios". Multichannel. Media Financial Management Association. April 25, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  3. ^ "First Media — About". Archived from the original on May 31, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  4. ^ Skilton, Alison (June 11, 2019). "BabyFirst Extends Carriage in Mexico". TVKids. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Guid, Elizabeth; Leffler, Rebecca (December 21, 2011). "Fox, CanalSat members of a baby boom". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Miller, DiAngelea (June 6, 2013). "BabyFirst, with premium YouTube channel and new investor, expands". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Dunn, Laura (March 16, 2015). "Women in Business: Sharon Rechter, co-founder of BabyFirst". HuffPost. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  8. ^ "Sharon Rechter". Israeli American Council. August 21, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e 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.
  10. ^ Robinson (May 12, 2006). "'Screen Test' Toddler - Kid & Folks Rate Baby TV". The New York Post. p. 8.
  11. ^ "Round-the-Clock Channel for Infants Debuts on DirecTV". Associated Press. March 25, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d Davis, Joyzelle (June 14, 2006). "EchoStar to offer BabyFirst channel". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on September 21, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d Itzkoff, Dave (May 21, 2006). "TV Moves A Step Closer To the Womb". The New York Times. p. 1.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Clemetson, Lynette (May 25, 2006). "Parents Making Use of TV Despite Risks". The New York Times. p. 16.
  17. ^ Lafayette, Hayes (September 2, 2013). "McPherson Seeks More Carriage for Kid-TV Net". Broadcasting & Cable.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "BabyFirstTV on SingTel's mio TV". Television Asia. October 1, 2008.
  20. ^ Schneider, Michael (May 9, 2008). "Time Warner to carry BabyFirst". Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  21. ^ Flint, Joe (March 29, 2015). "It's Really Here: TV for Babies". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  22. ^ "HBO Asia strikes agreement to represent BabyFirst, WarnerTV across Asia". Television Asia. December 1, 2009.
  23. ^ a b Brennan, Steve (March 20, 2007). "BabyFirstTV crawls its way to U.S." The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  24. ^ a b c Proudfoot, Shannon (July 27, 2012). "24-hour TV for kids under 3 is on the air". Winnipeg Free Press.
  25. ^ Vlessing, Etan (July 26, 2012). "BabyFirst crawling onto Canadian TV". The Hollywood Reporter.
  26. ^ Moore, Frazier (February 21, 2012). "Comcast to start new minority-owned cable channels". Associated Press.
  27. ^ "Comcast Outlines Plan to Carry 4 Minority-Owned Channels". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
  28. ^ a b Getzler, Wendy (December 9, 2013). "With Rich Frank on-board, BabyFirst kicks into ad mode". Kidscreen. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  29. ^ a b Baumgartner, Jeff (May 8, 2014). "AT&T, BabyFirst Team On U-verse App". Multichannel News. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  30. ^ Taylor, Kate (August 8, 2007). "Ok, I admit it: Treehouse is a parent's dream". Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  31. ^ a b c "Baby Boom: Profile: BabyFirst". Spring 2014.
  32. ^ 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. Archived from the original on August 9, 2014.
  33. ^ Karen Brooks (2008). Consuming Innocence: Popular Culture and Our Children. Univ. of Queensland Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7022-3645-7.
  34. ^ Villalpando, Nicole (August 24, 2012). "BabyFirst develops baby's first apps". The Statesman. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved May 23, 2014.

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