Discover more from Streaming Made Easy
SME#44: Can kids brands regain control over their streaming destiny?
Find out how Preschool IPs go direct to consumer
Welcome back to Streaming Made Easy (SME). I’m Marion & this is your 5-min readto get a European take on the Global Streaming Video Business.
Check out previous editions here.
Enjoy today’s read.
This week, I have a special guest with me: Emily Horgan, THE expert in kids content, for a deep dive on niche streaming in the kids media space.
Emily, welcome to “Streaming Made Easy”. This collaboration has been cooking for months and we finally get to it, I’m thrilled.
To get us started, tell us more about yourself and how you fit in the kids streaming space.
Hi Marion, yes, so thrilled we’ve made this happen.
My background is in broadcast at Disney Channel. My last role at Disney was focused on strategies that synergized content distribution with other commercial avenues, like consumer products, music and gaming, covering major Disney franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel and Frozen.
For the past three years my consultancy business has helped clients work with large corporates like Disney, whether they’re providing a service, or pitching a show. I also give advice on distribution and marketing strategies for kids IP on streaming and YouTube.
Impressive track-record and Disney will always be viewed as the reference when it comes to kids content.
Besides the big 5 streamers, there is a potential antidote of opportunity for content owners/distributors in niche.
Niches in streaming can be sketched across audiences, genres, formats, markets, and even price points. Two successful examples of this are Shudder, a horror streamer from AMC, and Crunchyroll, now owned by Sony, which caters to anime.
Does that translate in the kids streaming space?
Yes there are multiple offerings that are trying to make hay with younger audiences. These were excellently summarized in a recent installment of this newsletter. All of these are in the same boat as the big dogs though, faced with the near impossible opposition of YouTube and its grasp on kids media consumption habits of today.
How do these kids brands get into D2C streaming then?
The answer for some kids brands is to go even nichier. There are a handful of preschool IPs getting into the D2C streaming business on a brand level. This involves setting up SVOD services solely dedicated to just one show.
What brand and age segment are we talking about?
As any parent will tell you, preschoolers are fiercely devoted viewers of whatever their favorite show is. They binge watch, yes indeed. But, by nature of their young realities, this isn’t specifically at scale when shows are new or fresh episodes drop (sorry, marketing teams).
The youngest of audiences discover shows in various ways. Some will be informed by the media curation of their parents, some will definitely come through content sampling on linear TV, plus undoubtedly YouTube (and YouTube Kids), with its algorithm, autoplay, and kid-friendly thumbnail vernacular, will influence as well.
One beautiful upside of having a preschool IP is that, so long as there are babies entering the world, there is a pipeline of new audiences waiting to discover their new favorite show. How do you think Peppa Pig has stood the test of 20 years?!
My preschool days as a parent are long gone, what are the kids IPs taking control of their destinies and going direct-to-consumer?
3 brands caught my attention lately:
Bing is the most established brand we’re looking at today that offers this type of service. The IP launched on UK PSB free-to-air channel CBeebies back in 2014. Often described by its creators as “reality TV for kids,” each 7-minute episode focuses on behaviors and emotions that come from real-life toddler situations, played out among a cast of anthropomorphic rabbits, elephants, and pandas, naturally.
It has good distribution globally, being picked up by multiple FTA channels and streamers. This has propelled it to be a household brand in markets including the UK and Italy. The core English-language Bing YouTube channel attracts around 10M views per month (source: Social Blade) and there are local versions in over 20 languages. It has 45K followers on Instagram. From a consumer product point of view, toys are on shelves in retailers like Smyths.
It’s likely that user recruitment for the Bing app is being heavily driven by the show’s distribution and success on other platforms, where it finds viewers, who then go on to become super fans. This justifies the app cost for parents, for the sake of having the content available in a safe and on-demand environment.
Launched 3 years ago
100+ full 7’ episodes available to stream, download, and cast, 20+ games, Audio stories and music
Bespoke curation and playlisting based on characters and themes
Parental safety controls including in-app timer
One characteristic that Tractor Ted TV shares with Netflix that practically no other streamer does, is that it started life as a DVD business.
Nearly 15 years ago, the tractor IP was born from the simple idea of giving children insight into real-life farming. Entertainment shows teaching about farming is actually quite an established concept in the UK and Ireland. The initial run of 500 copies sold out after being advertised in a UK agricultural publication, Farmer’s Weekly.
Things have moved on since then, though Tractor Ted guards its limited content volumes carefully. A small selection is available on its YouTube channel, pulling in around 3M views per month (source: Social Blade). It also has placement of a few episodes on Amazon Prime.
The core bulk of its content sits on Tractor Ted TV, available after subscription through a simple web login. User recruitment comes through passionate advocacy among core fans, who include British TV and sports personalities like Ben Fogle, Clare Balding, AP McCoy, and William Fox-Pitt. The brand is also direct-to-consumer through products on its website.
30+ full 12’ episodes of Tractor Ted available, with new content every other month
Some definite limitations of the web interface-only experience, casting to a smart TV is far from seamless
Dave and Ava
Dave and Ava is one among a multitude of YouTube nursery rhyme IPs. They’re all vying for a piece of that CoComelon pie.
Two sweet friends in their signature onesies, supported by cute farm animals.
The Dave and Ava YouTube channel has seen a decline in viewership over recent years, dropping from 200M+ monthly views to more like 100M (source: Social Blade). Still very respectable though. All videos these days have strong call to action to the D2C app experience in the description.
Launched 5 years ago
120 episodes of 2–3 compiled nursery rhymes of around 6’–10’ available to download and stream + games
Emily, a big thanks for your time today. I’m coming out with a fresh new perspective what we could do in streaming with an IP-led strategy.
See you in Cannes 😎
That’s it for today.
Enjoy your weekend and see you next Friday for another edition of Streaming Made Easy!
By day, I run The Local Act, a streaming video consultancy.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
→ Europe Made Easy: Get a trusted partner to launch and grow in Europe.
→ Masterclasses: For executives looking to get up to speed on all things streaming. My “FAST Made Easy” masterclass has been in high demand.
→ Content Marketing: Explore how I can put my 5.3K LinkedIn following + my 2.8K Newsletter subs to work for your company like I do for mine.
I cater to Streamers, Distribution Platforms and Technology Vendors.
Book time to see if we’re a fit.