The XX Factor

Introducing Eebee: Because Parents Will Always Need Showers

Disney famously offered refunds on its Baby Einstein videos and DVDs. Sesame Street is out of the market. The American Academy of Pediatrics frowns on them and consumer groups campaign against them. Is it possible that there can still be a thriving market for that much-villainized media product, the “educational” baby video?

Absolutely. Disney’s never released figures on its refunds (and the notoriously close-lipped company is unlikely to do so) but I’d guess few were returned, and most remain in rotation. It’s telling that Disney still sells them (presumably with some kind of disclaimer on the box). Why? Because while any educational factor was nice, most parents weren’t even trying to buy a couple of extra I.Q. points. Here’s what Jim Saxton, senior film analyst for Screen Digest, told the Wall Street Journal : The “electronic babysitter phenomenon is really convenient. We think it’s going to be one of the categories that has a long life in packaged video.”

I’d bet on it. And so has Every Baby Company LLC, creators of Eebee, a new entrant in the baby video market. Eebee, conveniently, comes with a fresh new excuse for parents to pony up: The videos are meant to be watched-at least once- with the baby. The promise is that the videos will model new ways for parents to interact with their progeny. “Most parents are going to deplete their peekaboo repertoire pretty quickly,” says Stephan Gass, co-counder and a creator of the soon-to-be series of video offerings. “Our goal was to be a catalyst for real world play.”

Ah, a catalyst. That’s fantastic way to pitch Eebee to consumers. But when it comes to investors, if I were Mr. Gass and his colleagues, I’d go with the babysitter motif, every time.

Photograph of baby with Eebee from the official Eebee website.