Making its first move into the kids TV and video space, Swedish app developer Toca Boca has set up a brand-new video division in New York, appointing former Sesame Workshop creative director J Milligan to run the studio as executive producer.
For Toca Boca’s CEO Bjorn Jeffery, this is a natural next step, given that the company has spent the last four years designing open-play apps. “We’ve found a good formula for what works,” notes Jeffery. “It’s time now to step out and explore other media areas that are adjacent to what we’re doing.”
Toca Boca plans to roll out its first video content in the second half of this year, and like its apps, this programming will be developed from the perspective of actual children. “Traditional TV follows a strict regimen of how many minutes, how many episodes per series, and so on,” notes Jeffery. “A lot of it is designed to fit into a normal linear TV structure. But in an on-demand world, that doesn’t necessarily have to be true anymore.”
“Looking at how kids interact with video today, touchscreen is the main platform for them,” he continues. With more kids using touchscreen devices for viewing, Jeffery notes that there are exciting opportunities to design content specifically for these platforms. “This is the next step following that line of logic; if we made something designed for touchscreens—if we designed TV you can touch, basically—what would that look like? That’s the journey we’re starting now.”
Toca Boca’s new studio should be in good hands under the leadership of Milligan, who ran Sesame Workshop’s content innovation lab and digital media group, and who has close to 20 years of interactive design and production experience.
Toca Boca, meanwhile, will continue to deliver apps for kids, with new releases scheduled this spring and summer. Since launching in 2011, the Swedish company’s 27 apps have been downloaded in more than 215 countries worldwide, with over 85 million downloads to date.