Netflix wants more “CoComelon,” its most popular children’s show

(Bloomberg) – Netflix is ​​looking to YouTube for the next big kids’ TV franchise.

The streaming service has ordered three seasons of a new children’s television show called “CoComelon Lane,” an offshoot of the popular YouTube channel featuring nursery rhymes. The first season of the new show will debut in 2023 and each season will consist of 24 episodes that are seven minutes long.

The show is part of a larger partnership between Netflix and Moonbug Entertainment, owner of CoComelon, as well as YouTube properties Blippi and Little Baby Bum. Netflix has also ordered 48 episodes of a Little Baby Bum show, which is slated to debut in 2023.

Improving its roster of children’s programming is a top priority at Netflix, which faces a growing online challenge from Disney, as well as Amazon, Paramount + and HBO Max. About 60% of Netflix’s 208 million users watch content for children and family, according to Heather Tilert, director of original animation for preschoolers at Netflix.

For much of its history, Netflix has shied away from posting videos to YouTube, which is its main competitor in drawing attention to video online. But in recent years, Netflix has recognized the site’s potential both as a way to market its shows and as a source of potential new franchises.

“We want to be the destination of choice for children and families around the world,” said Tilert.

The company is taking other steps to strengthen its children’s content, including an extension of its agreement with the Universal division of Comcast Corp. Netflix said on Tuesday it had a multi-year exclusive license agreement that would allow it to stream Universal’s animated feature films in the United States – after a four-month widow when the films appear on Comcast’s Peacock service.

The expanded deal now includes DreamWorks Animation and will bring films such as “The Bad Guys” and “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish” to Netflix next year.

But it’s hard to overstate the popularity of CoComelon, which generates over 2 billion views per month on YouTube. Former advertising manager Jay Jeon started the channel to entertain his child and sold it to Moonbug in 2020. The company has since licensed the rights to CoComelon to toy maker Jazwares.

“CoComelon” is already a hit show on Netflix. The nursery rhyme seasons compilations have been ranked in the top 10 shows on Netflix in 29 countries. “CoComelon” has been one of the 10 most popular shows in one country or another for almost a few days this year, according to Flix Patrol.

The show’s enduring popularity contrasts with the performance of successful adult programming on the service. Most of Netflix’s biggest hits are popular for a few weeks before they take the limelight at the next big event.

“Bridgerton” was the most popular show on Netflix to start the year, before being eclipsed by “Lupine,” which after two weeks was overtaken by a documentary series. This is what happens when a streaming service orders more than 1,000 original programs a year and releases several new titles each week. But kids usually don’t move on to the next new show as quickly as adults, and Netflix seeks to achieve the level of success with the original kids’ shows that it enjoyed in other genres, such as dramas, stand-up specials, documentaries and romantic comedies.

“CoComelon Lane” will differ from existing CoComelon videos by offering more than short rhymes. Each episode will have a story arc. The main character, JJ, will speak directly to the audience and help viewers navigate experiences like getting their hair cut for the first time. Each episode will still contain original music, and Netflix will put together song compilations for special episodes that begin airing next year.

At the same time, Netflix has also ordered four one-hour nursery rhyme compilations.

Rene Rechtman, co-founder and CEO of Moonbug, praised Netflix’s willingness to work with YouTube ownership – a strategy many mainstream media companies have yet to embrace.

“Netflix is ​​such an important platform for us to express more complex storytelling,” Rechtman said.

(Updates with extension of Universal Agreement to the seventh paragraph.)

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Javier E. Swan

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