Amazon challenges Nickelodeon, Disney by shooting original kids' programming

Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) said Thursday it will shoot pilots for five original kids' TV shows, which it plans to offer for free to its Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video subscribers.

The move creates more competition for Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and other kids' cable programmers. Nickelodeon has already seen ratings decline during the last two years, and was responsible for decreased ad revenue during the fourth quarter for Viacom (NYSE: VIA), its parent company.

Angela Santomero, who created hit kids' program Blue's Clues for Nickelodeon, is producing Creative Galaxy for Amazon, the company said. Amazon described the series as an "animated interactive art adventure series, designed to inspire kids' creative thinking through crafts, story, music and dance."

Amazon said it will also produce pilot episodes for Oz Adventures, Teeny Tiny Dogs, Tumbleaf and an untitled project created by J.J. Johnson, who created Dino Dan for Nickelodeon. The company will distribute the original programming online and through its Kindle tablet computers.

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