Sprout and Cablevision Systems will announce today (May 3) that the pre-schoolers' channel has launched on Optimum TV and Optimum TV to GO, the cable company's TV Everywhere offering.
The channel, a joint venture that's part of Comcast's NBCUniversal stable, launched May 2 on the Optimum platforms as part of a broader NBC agreement Cablevision agreed to last November, Sprout president Sandy Wax said. This is the only NBCU network Cablevision is launching at this time. The network launched on channel 127 in standard definition, Wax said, and reaches "a significant portion of their subscriber base."
The launch brings Sprout closer to the 55-million mark from about 53 million earlier, Wax said. Among major multichannel distributors, Dish Network is the only one not to have a carriage deal with Sprout, she said.
"We are doing marketing together with them to support the launch," Wax said in a phone interview. Marketing is being done on Cablevision digital sites, and on cross-channel avails, and in a month or so Sprout will do out-of-home marketing, notably on Long Island Rail Road and other transit locations, to let the close to 3 million Optimum customers in the greater New York City area know Sprout is available. "Cablevision is a very very important customer base, a very valuable customer base, given their proximity to New York and the advertising community, and it's a very affluent, very solid customer base. We're very excited about the launch."
Wax said Sprout has been pitching Cablevision for years on a launch and has done a fair amount of outreach activity in the market, including performances by Sprout talent The Wiggles. "We've been in that market for quite a while and we're happy to see that they're able to bring the service to their customers."
In prepared statements, Bradley Feldman, vice president of video management of Cablevision, said: “We are pleased to bring Sprout’s high quality children’s programming to Optimum TV. Parents, caregivers and their preschoolers will get wonderful value from the network’s beloved children’s shows both in and out of the home. We continue to expand Optimum TV to give customers tremendous selection and flexibility on when and where they watch the programs that matter the most.”
And Mac Budill, NBCUniversal president of TV Networks Distribution (and a former video dealmaker at Cablevision), said: “As our valued partner, it is meaningful to count Cablevision among our distributors to add Sprout to their channel line-up and multi-platform product offerings geared toward family entertainment and the preschool set. High-quality children’s programming trusted by parents will now be accessible to their customers – our viewers – both in and out of the home via TV Everywhere to enjoy whenever and wherever they go.”
Sprout’s lineup on Optimum TV to GO provides 60 hours of programming each month, including 15 hours of content in Spanish as well as classic shows (Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, Barney & Friends) and Sprout originals such as the new The Chica Show.
Cablevision said in the release Sprout is available on Optimum TV to residential customers with Optimum Preferred package and above and Optimum Business customers who subscribe to either Optimum Business or Entertainment packages. Residential customers can access Sprout via Optimum TV to GO. Subscribers with the network in their package can go to www.optimum.net/TVtoGO, select the Sprout network, sign in with their Optimum ID and password, make their viewing selection and begin watching. Optimum TV to GO services are available anywhere in the U.S. where an Optimum customer can connect to the Internet.
Sprout also was excited this week about earning its first four Daytime Emmy nominations, Wax said. That includes two nods for Pajanimals, a Sprout original series that is listed under NBC's nominations because it also airs on that larger daytime platform. "We're going to crack some Champagne later today" in honor of the nominations and the Cablevision launch, she said Thursday.