YouTube Red invests in four original kids series

Announced today at Kidscreen Summit, the Red Originals commissions mark the first time YouTube's subscription service has invested in creators who are producing content for kids.
February 13, 2017

With more than 30 billion views garnered in two years, YouTube Kids is taking its original content lineup to new heights—and different places. 

On top of four new original series coming through its pipeline, the app that attracts eight million users every week will be available in the coming months for smart TVs through a number of connected LG and Samsung sets.

Also announced today at Kidscreen Summit by Malik Ducard, global head of Family and Learning for YouTube, and Nadine Zylstra, head of Family Entertainment and Learning for YouTube Originals, is Red Originals for Families. The initiative marks the first time YouTube’s year-old, ad-free subscription service has invested in creators who are producing original programming distinctly for young audiences.

The app’s upcoming new series feature top creators DanTDM , Joe and Cody of TheAtlanticCraft, popular tween music act L2M and Fruit NinjaSet to debut this spring, the shows include:

Hyperlinked, (pictured), starring music group L2M, follows five friends as they come together to create their own website for girls. They also must navigate everyday tween issues involving friends and relationships. To bring this story to life, YouTube Kids joined forces with the Google Computer Science in Media team, whose mission is to diversify film and TV by featuring more women and underrepresented groups, as well as The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. From author Rosalind Wiseman (Queen Bee and the Wannabees), to Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code, a team worked with the writers to make sure girls in tech and computer science were being represented in an accurate way.

DanTDM Creates A Big Scene features DanTDM and his lively group of animated friends as they battle mayhem and misadventure in order to keep their new live show in business.  Each episode follows their behind-the-scenes exploits as they learn new skills, overcome challenges and find that putting on an epic show isn’t as easy as it looks.

The Kings of Atlantis is an animated series that follows two young monarchs—Cody and Joe—in the vast underwater city of Atlantis as they seek to overthrow the brutal usurper of their kingdom, reclaim their birthright and protect their people from his cruel reign.

Fruit Ninja: Frenzy Force follows new Fruit Ninja characters—Seb, Niya, Peng and Ralph—as they come together to fight the evil forces of Durian Grey and the Deep Fried Sensei. And they will use their Juice-Jitsu skills to prevail.

According to Ducard and Zylstra, additional shows are in development and will premiere throughout 2017.

Launched in October 2015 with a US$$9.99 monthly subscription fee, YouTube Red’s main draw within the children’s space–along with offering ad-free content–is the ability to save videos to watch offline, a feature that’s become increasingly in demand within the kids on-demand video market. YouTube Kids officially joined Red last August, becoming available to subscribers in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Mexico. 

The move to bolster kid-friendly original content comes exactly two years since YouTube Kids was first unveiled at Kidscreen Summit 2015. Since then, a steady stream of original IP has been welcomed onto the platform, such as the November 2016 exclusive launch of Mac & Izzy from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Blue-Zoo Productions and US public broadcaster WGBH Boston. 

The greenlights also come as SVOD demand continues to soar. While 40% of households are likely to subscribe to at least one subscription service, 78% of families with children do, and 13% of those subscribe to a mobile-first offering, according to a 2015 study from market research firm PlayScience.



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