Make no mistake: In the world of emerging media platforms, podcasting is the new black. And it was only a matter of time before the practice of packaging downloadable audio and video snippets for kids started to target toddlers and their parents. With more than 150,000 downloads of its one-off preview installment snapped up since January, The Wubbcast (www.wubbcast.com) from New York-based prodco Bolder Media, is well on its way to making waves as the world’s first preschool video podcast.
As the free service prepares to go weekly this month, the company’s New York-based co-owners, Mixed Media Group’s Susan Miller and Frederator Studios founder Fred Seibert, are looking at the podcast as much more than a way to build buzz for Bolder’s first production, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! The two-minute music videos spun off from the 2-D series, slated to begin airing on Nick Jr. this coming August, will certainly be the driver of The Wubbcast. But Bolder is opening up the platform for other content, welcoming any creators with short-form animated or live-action fare suitable for the under five crowd to submit their clips. The goal is to provide parents and kids with a fresh eight-minute programmed podcast each week.
Bolder was created for the sole purpose of making books and TV shows to entertain young children and Miller says The Wubbcast is ‘another way to find new talent for preschool, definitely.’ But not every submission will make it onto the podcast. With the help of a programming team selected from Frederator’s development staff, Seibert and Miller will choose the two clips that will go out with each Wubbzy streaming video.
Seibert got the idea to launch the on-line service shortly after going live with Channel Frederator, a weekly podcast with a variety of animation styles for all demos. Seibert used its 100,000 subscribers to drive traffic to The Wubbcast through an e-mail campaign, figuring if even a portion of Channel Frederator users signed up, it could get the preschool site off the ground.
Plans are under way to drum up more subscribers for its official weekly kick-off. In addition to The Wubbcast’s current link to www.nickjr.com, Miller is scoping out kid- and parent-oriented on-line destinations, such as blogs and websites. A full-on marketing campaign is also in the offing.
Like a lot of ventures in this new digital age, The Wubbcast isn’t operating on a revenue-generating model. In fact, Bolder’s co-owners don’t think podcasting will ever be a money maker. ‘I see it as a free medium,’ Seibert says. ‘It gives exposure,’ Miller adds.
The pair chalks up the associated costs to building this site as a promotional expense right now. ‘There’s design, content review and content development [to contend with],’ Miller says. ‘It costs money, but it’s not as much as building a new TV network.’ LC