With kids in the US ages eight to 11 increasingly rating YouTube as their number-one site, and over 93% of tweens visiting the platform to watch videos, according to a recent study from The Marketing Store and KidSay, it’s not shocking that content producers and toy companies are starting to think outside the box to engage kids and come up with new content.
Take toyco Spin Master, whose new family-friendly YouTube channel SpindoTV, developed in partnership with Mondo Media, launched today.
The online platform features content that appeals to kids ages eight to 11, including a blend of animation and live action shows, produced exclusively for YouTube.
According to Josh Fisher, senior creative director and exec producer at Spin Master Entertainment, the inspiration for the channel was to incubate content in a new way and immediately get feedback from the audience.
“We were using it as a test platform to try things that we weren’t going to necessarily develop into 26 half hours, and to try to find that next really compelling, engaging content,” he explains. “We love working with tried-and-true broadcasters and proven successful creators. But there are so many more more content creators out there, so many ways to get your vision across, we felt this was an opportunity to try something that hadn’t been tried before at a toy company.”
In terms of pitches, the company is looking for family-friendly content, something with a high-volume of jokes and compelling lead characters.
“We’re looking for our Adventure Time or our Annoying Orange,” Fisher describes. “Something that comes out of nowhere and is fun and exciting for our audience.”
While the company hopes that some of the content pitched will turn into something toyetic, that’s not the focus of the channel. For SpindoTV, the company is looking for content that’s funny, wacky and shareable.
“Our goal is to do two new pilots a month,” says Fisher. “Right now we’re in production on probably about 18 or so different pilots and short-form content from different creators. Some have been created internally, some have come from outside creators, some from YouTube influencers and some from production companies.”
One of these new shorts is Sick Bricks (pictured). A brand-new Spin Master original property, it currently has 40 animated episodes in production. The characters are based on a Spin Master video game, of the same name, coming out this March that incorporates physical and digital play. Along with a mobile game for iOS and Android, users can purchase physical characters to scan into the game, mixing and matching them to create custom figures.
“It’s an elegant transmedia property because you’ve got the physical product, you’ve got this game and then we’re doing digital content, all of which has the same emotional hook,” contends Fisher.
Along with developing Sick Bricks, Spin Master is working on new episodes for a property called Gummandos, as well as other animation and live-action projects. The content will roll out on SpindoTV on a weekly basis. The company is also looking to acquire and commission more content.
“I’m really excited about all the things we have in the pipeline,” notes Fisher. “And we’re certainly open to seeing more things.”