Opinion: I watch Netflix.

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Net­flix is

mak­ing a big push to cor­ner the chil­dren’s TV mar­ket with a slew of new pro­grams. When MGA En­ter­tain­ment, the world’s largest pri­vate toy com­pany, pre­miered its new­est kids show about a teen-girl team of su­per-spies, it skipped Satur­day morn­ing TV and staged a splashy pre­miere on Net­flix — re­plete with a match­ing toy line, a few dozen dolls and play sets such as the Lip Balm Lab Ac­tiv­ity Kit. And Net­flix, the world’s largest stream­ing ser­vice, was more than happy to fold the show, “Project Mc2,” into its ex­plod­ing em­pire of kids’ en­ter­tain­ment. Much of the $5 bil­lion Net­flix is spend­ing this year on movies and TV shows will be spent on fare for the play­ground set. The big-busi­ness bat­tle for kids’ dis­tracted at­ten­tion spans has never been more com­pet­i­tive— or eye-pop­pingly lu­cra­tive — and Net­flix has ag­gres­sively an­gled to use its data-driven in­sights to make pro­grams kids don’t want to turn off. About half of Net­flix’s 75 mil­lion mem­bers reg­u­larly watch kids’ movies or TV shows, ex­ec­u­tives say, but the po­ten­tial for long-term prof­its runs much deeper. If the site is able to win over view­ers when they’re young, ex­ec­u­tives said, they may be able to se­cure their loy­alty for life. “We have a ton of data on what they watch, so we know what prop­er­ties res­onate and when they don’t— when [view­ers] have had enough of a fran­chise and when they can’t get enough of it,” said Andy Yeat­man, Net­flix’s di­rec­tor of global kids con­tent. “We al­ways try to feed that de­mand so they al­ways want more.” The $5 bil­lion Net­flix is spend­ing on movies and TV shows this year is far more than its com­peti­tors and roughly half of what all Amer­i­can movies made at the box of­fice last year com­bined. And much of that is aimed to­ward young au­di­ences. About 20 of its 70 new and up­com­ing “global orig­i­nals” are geared specif­i­cally to kids, from a car­toon se­ries on magic teen mer­maids by a French an­i­ma­tion stu­dio (“H2O: Mer­maid Ad­ven­tures”) to a re­boot of the short­lived 1980s an­i­mated show “Pop­ples,” by the toy­mak­ing mega stu­dio be­hind “Power Rangers” and “Digimon.” Mean­while, Nick­elodeon, the kids ca­ble giant that launched in the late 1970s, will air 650 new episodes this year from roughly 30 fran­chises. For binge-watch­ers of Net­flix’s gritty orig­i­nal se­ries such as “Daredevil” or “House of Cards,” it may come as a sur­prise that the video giant is spend­ing so heav­ily on flu­o­res­cent preschool car­toons such as the glossy com­put­eran­i­mated se­ries “Dinotrux,” which fea­tures a group of giant crea­tures that are half di­nosaur, half con­struc­tion ve­hi­cle. But Net­flix’s rise has largely been fu­eled by its youngest view­ers. More than 80 per­cent of Amer­i­cans younger than 35 have a Net­flix sub­scrip­tion — up nine per­cent­age points since 2014, ac­cord­ing to Mof­fett Nathanson Re­search. And in kids, Net­flix sees a cap­tive au­di­ence that could fur­ther plead the case for Net­flix with mil­len­nial par­ents. Amer­i­cans streamed 42 bil­lion hours of Net­flix last year, com­pany data shows, cutting deeper into how the av­er­age Amer­i­can chooses (and pays) to un­wind. Net­flix ac­counted for about 6 per­cent of a typ­i­cal house­hold’s tele­vi­sion view­ing last year, up from 4 per­cent in 2014, a Mof­fett Nathanson anal­y­sis found. And more Amer­i­cans say Web video is an in­valu­able part of how they live. Last year, 61 per­cent of U.S. con­sumers said a stream­ing video ser­vice was one of their three most ir­re­place­able sub­scrip­tions, up from 17 per­cent in 2012, ac­cord­ing to a Deloitte sur­vey re­leased last week. Re­spon­dents ranked stream­ing video higher than a smart­phone data plan (55 per­cent), a land­line tele­phone (38 per­cent) and a print or dig­i­tal news sub­scrip­tion (26 per­cent). “Our goal is to have ev­ery­one in the house­hold’s fa­vorite show: the young kid in preschool, the teenager, the par­ents,” Yeat­man said. “When par­ents are go­ing through their fam­ily’s en­ter­tain­ment spend­ing, we want them to feel great about their Net­flix bill.” Mean­while, the giant’s com­peti­tors for kids’ amuse­ment have strug­gled. In Jan­uary, only one of the three big­gest U.S. kids TV net­works, Nick­elodeon, saw its rat­ings climb over the pre­vi­ous year — about 5 per­cent, Nielsen data shows. The other two, the Dis­ney Chan­nel and Car­toon Net­work, saw their rat­ings crum­ble that month by 25 per­cent. Net­flix is not alone in bet­ting on kids. In Jan­uary, HBO pre­miered its first new episodes of “Se­same Street,” the pup­pet-filled se­ries that had spent most of its 47 years on pub­lic tele­vi­sion, af­ter an­nounc­ing it had pur­chased the show last year. The gam­ble, ex­ec­u­tives said, was that fam­i­lies who had paid to sub­scribe for HBO’s sig­na­ture adult fare, such as “Game of Thrones,” would end up stick­ing around once the kids got hooked, too. Mod­ern kids’ me­dia sat­u­ra­tion has given them far more nu­anced tastes, said Bron­wen O’Keefe, Nick­elodeon’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of devel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion. Her ca­ble net­work is try­ing to fol­low by mov­ing away from the tra­di­tional kid sit­com and fur­ther into “happy re­al­ity” se­ries, with the same faces and sen­si­bil­i­ties of vi­ral YouTube videos, as well as se­ri­al­ized scripted shows with “more genre-bend­ing, more com­plex sto­ry­telling, more drama, mys­tery and sus­pense.” “Kids want ev­ery­thing,” O’Keefe said. “They want more, more, more, and they want dif­fer­ent, dif­fer­ent, dif­fer­ent, and so we’re ex­plor­ing ev­ery genre, ev­ery style.” Net­flix al­lows view­ers to set parental con­trols for “lit­tle kids,” “older kids” and “teens,” help­ing pre­vent young stream­ers from stum­bling or oth­er­wise find­ing their way into the many shows and movies on Net­flix not de­signed with their eyes in mind. But be­cause the ser­vice is Web cen­tric, it is not reg­u­lated by long­stand­ing kids-TV rules, such as those im­posed on net­work giants by the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion. “On tra­di­tional kids TV, there are at least some clear FCC reg­u­la­tions that dic­tate sep­a­ra­tion of com­mer­cial and pro­gram­ming con­tent,” Josh Golin, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for the Cam­paign for a Com­mer­cial-Free Child­hood. “Un­less reg­u­la­tors en­act clear cross-plat­form rules that ac­knowl­edge chil­dren de­serve pro­tec­tions re­gard­less of the plat­form, we can ex­pect to see Net­flix to be flooded with . . . kid-tar­geted, pro­gram-length com­mer­cials.” Net­flix is so pop­u­lar with kids be­cause its richly col­or­ful menus and view-any­where free­dom of­fers “such a nat­u­ral view­ing be­hav­ior for them,” Yeat­man said. About 57 per­cent of the par­ents sur­veyed last year by mar­ket­ing firm Miner & Co. Stu­dio said their kids would rather watch video on a hand­held de­vice rather than on TV. But par­ents are in­creas­ingly con­tend­ing with wor­ries that all of that staring into screens might dam­age kids’ eyes or in­ap­pro­pri­ately color their think­ing. Chil­dren’s ad­vo­cacy groups last year called for a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion of YouTube Kids, Google’s chil­dren-friendly video app, af­ter ad­vo­cates said im­pres­sion­able view­ers younger than 12 were be­ing in­un­dated by ads. Melissa Hen­son, di­rec­tor of pro­grams for the Par­ents Tele­vi­sion Coun­cil, said com­plaints to the en­ter­tain­ment watch­dog group have in­creased over con­cerns about Net­flix, in­clud­ing the dif­fi­culty of find­ing show rat­ings in­for­ma­tion par­ents are used to see­ing on TV at the cor­ner of the screen. Net­flix’s parental con­trols are clear on some de­vices but cloudier on oth­ers, Hen­son said, al­low­ing the menus to mix kid and adult con­tent so that “‘ Thomas the Tank En­gine’ is right along­side a hard-R movie.” And some of Net­flix’s kid-tar­get­ing orig­i­nals have “dis­ap­pointed,” she said: “Fuller House,” a re­boot of the squeaky­clean ’90s fam­ily drama, is pep­pered with in­nu­endo crafted for the view­ers who watched the orig­i­nal show as kids them­selves. Net­flix’s sta­ble of orig­i­nal kids se­ries is ex­pected to swell to nearly 40 within a year, up from about three in 2014, Yeat­man said. And be­cause the net­work is avail­able glob­ally, the kids unit is spend­ing heav­ily on fran­chises with a wide range of tar­get mar­kets — not designing just for, say, 8-year-old boys look­ing for ex­plo­sions on a Fri­day night. This year, Net­flix has un­veiled some of its most dis­parate and am­bi­tious ideas yet, from a live­ac­tion, “Hunger Games”-style bat­tle royal set in an elite Cal­i­for­nia board­ing school (“The Green­house”) to a whim­si­cal car­toon se­ries based on a toy line of plas­tic rag dolls (“Lalaloopsy”). The site will turn the fran­chise for Stretch Arm­strong, the ’70s gel-filled mus­cle­man toy, into a 26-episode an­i­mated se­ries, res­cu­ing the ac­tion fig­ure from the ashes of two pre­vi­ously failed movie at­tempts. And it will host a sum­mer pre­miere for “Beat Bugs,” an an­i­mated se­ries fea­tur­ing dozens of Bea­tles songs per­formed by mu­si­cians in­clud­ing Pink and Ed­die Ved­der— a show only re­cently made pos­si­ble, fol­low­ing a mam­moth deal over the world­wide rights to the Bea­tles cat­a­logue. Net­flix has staged fo­cus groups with kids, a hall­mark of the in­dus­try meant to pin down flit­ting minds into fran­chises they can sell. But ex­ec­u­tives said they rely even more on their in­ter­nal view­ing data, which al­lows them to see ex­actly how kids stream. “What we see kids watch is more im­por­tant than what they say they watch,” Yeat­man said. Be­cause Net­flix rolls out its pro­grams around the world on the same day, kids can also pro­vide view­ing in­sight that Net­flix has found sur­pris­ingly univer­sal. Roughly seven of the 10 most­watched kids shows are con­sis­tently top-ranked across all coun­tries, a sign that the cul­tural com­plex­i­ties of adult view­ing are less im­por­tant in the land of neon washed sit­coms and car­toons. The Net­flix de­but of “Project Mc2” made it avail­able in five spo­ken lan­guages, in 190 coun­tries and prac­ti­cally on any smart­phone, tablet or com­puter a mod­ern kid would deign to use. And the show was eas­ily shared and cel­e­brated via the vi­ral ways of the Web: One viewer, a self-pro­fessed science-lov­ing 10-year-old, wrote in the show’s com­ments, “I am get­ting ev­ery toy you put out.” More at wash­ing­ton­post.com/ news/ the-switch

The Golden Globe nom­i­nees, film and tele­vi­sion

MO­TION PIC­TURES Pic­ture, drama: “Carol,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Revenant,” “Room,” “Spot­light.” Pic­ture, mu­si­cal or com­edy: “The Big Short,” ‘’Joy,” ‘’The Mar­tian,” “Spy,” “Train­wreck.” Ac­tor, drama: Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”; Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”; Michael Fass­ben­der, “Steve Jobs”; Ed­die Red­mayne, “The Dan­ish Girl”; Will Smith, “Con­cus­sion.” Ac­tress, drama: Cate Blanchett, “Carol”; Brie Lar­son, “Room”; Rooney Mara, “Carol”; Saoirse Ro­nan, “Brook­lyn”; Ali­cia Vikan­der, “The Dan­ish Girl.” Di­rec­tor: Todd Haynes, “Carol”; Ale­jan­dro Iñar­ritu, “The Revenant”; Tom McCarthy, “Spot­light”; Ge­orge Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”; Ri­d­ley Scott, “The Mar­tian.” Ac­tor, mu­si­cal or com­edy: Chris­tian Bale, “The Big Short”; Steve Carell, “The Big Short”; Matt Da­mon, “The Mar­tian”; Al Pa­cino, “Danny Collins”; Mark Ruf­falo, “In­fin­itely Polar Bear.” Ac­tress, mu­si­cal or com­edy: Jen­nifer Lawrence, “Joy”; Melissa McCarthy, “Spy”; Amy Schumer, “Train­wreck”; Mag­gie Smith, “The Lady in the Van”; Lily Tom­lin, “Grandma.” Sup­port­ing ac­tor: Paul Dano, “Love & Mercy”; Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Na­tion”; Mark Ry­lance, “Bridge of Spies”; Michael Shan­non, “99 Homes”; Sylvester Stallone, “Creed.” Sup­port­ing ac­tress: Jane Fonda, “Youth”; Jen­nifer Ja­son Leigh, “The Hate­ful Eight”; He­len Mir­ren, “Trumbo”; Ali­cia Vikan­der, “Ex Machina”; Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs.” For­eign lan­guage: “The Brand New Tes­ta­ment,” “The Club,” “The Fencer,” “Mus­tang,” “Son of Saul.” An­i­mated film: “Ano­ma­l­isa,” “The Good Di­nosaur,” “In­side Out,” “The Peanuts Movie,” “Shaun the Sheep Movie.” Screen­play: Emma Donoghue, “Room”; Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, “Spot­light”; Charles Ran­dolph, Adam McKay, “The Big Short”; Aaron Sorkin, “Steve Jobs”; Quentin Tarantino, “The Hate­ful Eight.” Orig­i­nal score: Carter Bur­well, “Carol”; Alexan­dre De­s­plat, “The Dan­ish Girl”; En­nio Mor­ri­cone, “The Hate­ful Eight”; Daniel Pem­ber­ton, “Steve Jobs”; Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto, “The Revenant.” Orig­i­nal song: “Love Me Like You Do” (mu­sic and lyrics by Max Martin, Sa­van Kotecha, Ali Payami, Ilya Sal­man­zadeh), “Fifty Shades of Grey”; “One Kind of Love” (mu­sic and lyrics by Brian Wil­son, Scott Ben­nett), “Love & Mercy”; “See You Again” (mu­sic and lyrics by Justin Franks, An­drew Cedar, Char­lie Puth, Cameron Thomaz), “Fu­ri­ous 7”; “Sim­ple Song #3” (mu­sic and lyrics by David Lang), “Youth”; “Writ­ing’s on the Wall” (mu­sic and lyrics by Sam Smith, Jimmy Napes), “Spec­tre.” TELE­VI­SION Se­ries, drama: “Em­pire,” “Mr. Robot,” “Game of Thrones,” “Out­lander,” “Nar­cos.” Ac­tor, drama: Liev Schreiber, “Ray Dono­van”; Wag­ner Moura, “Nar­cos”; Bob Odenkirk, “Bet­ter Call Saul”; Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”; Jon Hamm, “Mad Men.” Ac­tress, drama: Taraji P. Hen­son, “Em­pire”; Vi­ola Davis, “How to Get Away With Mur­der”; Robin Wright, “House of Cards”; Caitri­ona Balfe, “Out­lander”; Eva Green, “Penny Dread­ful.” Se­ries, mu­si­cal or com­edy: “Or­ange Is the New Black,” “Sil­i­con Val­ley,” “Trans­par­ent,” “Veep,” “Ca­sual,” “Mozart in the Jun­gle.” Ac­tor, mu­si­cal or com­edy: Jef­frey Tam­bor, “Trans­par­ent”; Aziz An­sari, “Mas­ter of None”; Rob Lowe, “The Grinder”; Pa­trick Ste­wart, “Blunt Talk”; Gael Gar­cía Ber­nal, “Mozart in the Jun­gle.” Ac­tress, mu­si­cal or com­edy: Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus, “Veep”; Gina Ro­driguez, “Jane the Vir­gin”; Lily Tom­lin, “Grace and Frankie”; Jamie Lee Cur­tis, “Scream Queens”; Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex­Girl­friend.” Ac­tor, movie or lim­ited se­ries: Os­car Isaac, “Show Me a Hero”; Pa­trick Wil­son, “Fargo”; Idris Elba, “Luther”; David Oyelowo, “Nightin­gale”; Mark Ry­lance, “Wolf Hall.” Ac­tress, movie or lim­ited se­ries: Kirsten Dunst, “Fargo”; Lady Gaga, “Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story: Ho­tel”; Sarah Hay, “Flesh & Bone”; Felic­ity Huff­man, “Amer­i­can Crime”; Queen Lat­i­fah. “Bessie.” Sup­port­ing ac­tor, se­ries, lim­ited se­ries or TV movie: Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall”; Chris­tian Slater, “Mr. Robot”; Alan Cum­ming, “The Good Wife”; Ben Men­del­sohn, “Blood­line”; To­bias Men­zies, “Out­lander.” Sup­port­ing ac­tress, se­ries, lim­ited se­ries or TV movie: Regina King, “Amer­i­can Crime”; Uzo Aduba, “Or­ange Is the New Black”; Joanne Frog­gatt, “Down­ton Abbey”; Maura Tier­ney, “The Af­fair”; Ju­dith Light, “Trans­par­ent.” Movie or lim­ited se­ries: “Fargo,” “Amer­i­can Crime,” “Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story: Ho­tel,” “Wolf Hall,” “Flesh & Bone.” Pre­vi­ously an­nounced: Ce­cil B. DeMille Life­time Achieve­ment Award: Den­zel Wash­ing­ton.

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