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Netflix declares the death of Saturday morning cartoons

Tonight millions of kids will be revved up in anticipation of tomorrow’s bacchanalia of presents, followed by a nice long break from dreaded school, making this the perfect time for Netflix to unveil its first original series for kids. It’s an animated show about a super-fast snail.

But before Netflix and DVRs, there was one day when children gathered around the TV, cereal bowl in lap and watched cartoons -- Saturday morning.  And along with those cartoons came lots and lots of commercials. “So afar at least, the majority of online programming isn’t interspersed with commercial advertising,” says Rebecca Hains, who studies children’s media at Salem State University.

Many of the parents she talks to for her research prefer ad free content for their kids. And streaming services are also well-suited for keeping kids within a safe zone of programing, another plus for parents.  It’s these parents that Netflix is courting with its first original kids series, "Turbo F.A.S.T."

 “Little children love watching the same program again and again,” says Peter Bowden, a children’s television producer. This is yet another key advantage of on demand programing. Unlimited viewing is included in the monthly subscription fee. And if kids ever do ever tire of an episode they can binge on multiple episodes at once, like their parents do with other Netflix originals, "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards."

About the author

David Weinberg is a general assignment reporter at Marketplace.

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