It looks like Thomas the Tank Engine is riding further into the digital space─and with more fans on-board─ thanks to an expanded user-generated content pact between Mattel Creations and Driver Digital Studios.
The duo will continue to produce live-action Thomas & Friends digital stories inspired by the Thomas Creator Collective (TCC), a group established by Driver Digital last November, which is comprised of fans and amateur filmmakers from countries like the US, UK, Australia, Chile and Japan.
Over the past six months, Driver Digital’s creative and production teams engaged with TCC to create several original live-action videos that debuted on the Thomas & Friends YouTube channel. The series have collectively attracted more than 21 million views, comprising 56 million minutes of viewing time, making it among the most engaging content on Thomas’s YouTube channel (more than 529 million views to date).
And interactive fan engagement has been instrumental to increasing the preschool property’s digital reach. In 2014, for example, Thomas & Friends tapped into crowdsourcing platform Tongal to get ideas for a documentary focusing on the past, present and future of the train engine.
This forthcoming batch of Thomas content marks the latest collaboration between Mattel and Driver Digital, which also debuted the ongoing digital lifestyle series AG Life last October, inspired by Mattel’s American Girl brand.