You may not have heard of KidMango, KidVideos or Jaroo, but Brenda Bisner poured her blood, sweat and tears into building these digital platforms over the last decade, before anyone had even really considered putting kids content online. Now that effort is paying off for her in a big way. Bisner is moving into an SVP of acquisitions and business development role for Kidoodle.TV with a focus on safe-streaming, which the company snagged the trademark for last month.
Kidoodle.TV itself is based in Calgary, Canada as a holding of Parent Media. But Bisner will operate out of New York when she goes on the hunt for content acquisition and business development opportunities in the kids space for the COPPA- and GDPR-compliant AVOD platform for under 12s, which is available on mobile devices and connected TVs.
“I really understand the landscape in such a broad way from doing every job in the business and being part of the digital revolution in the beginning when everyone was saying mobile content was going to make you rich and we had those little tiny Nokia phones that flipped,” says Bisner.
Since she joined the Kidoodle team late last year, every bit of content that rolls out on the platform now goes through Bisner. She recently did a deal to acquire rights to Moonbug’s massive YouTube brand Little Baby Bum Bum, but Bisner is open to doing business with partners of all shapes and sizes, from production companies with big back catalogues and libraries, to online gamers who make popular Minecraft videos for YouTube or Twitch.
To beef up Kidoodle’s offering quickly, Bisner is reaching out to more traditional kids prodcos to offer non-exclusive AVOD/SVOD deals with a competitive CPM rate (the online advertising way of saying cost per view) not based on an algorithm. She doesn’t mind if people have their content up on YouTube as well, and is in fact actively going after those that do. Her plan is to approach all of the big YouTube channels from a financial standpoint, having already researched approximately how much money they’re making on that platform.
“In a lot of ways Kidoodle can be seen as found money,” she says. “If you’re already making money on your content on YouTube, keep doing it if you want to. But also look and see this is a platform explicitly for kids,” says Bisner.
Feeding the content supply chain is only half of Bisner’s new role, though. She also needs to focus on business development, which in this case involves looking for co-production and partnership opportunities with like-minded companies. Currently, Kidoodle’s library is all licensed content, but the platform aims to get into originals in the future.
International growth is also a big area of focus for Bisner. Kidoodle.TV is currently available in 140 countries as an AVOD platform (with about 10% of its users paying for the ad-free SVOD model). So she is looking at how the company can expand into new territories with localized marketing campaigns to reach parents.
A big part of that positioning with parents has centered around finding a term that encapsulates the mission the Kidoodle team is on. Bisner says they landed on and trademarked “safe-streaming” in December because it is simple, to the point, and perfectly gets across the platform’s message.
“I am not here to bash YouTube, but I want to create a safe alternative,” she explains. “And safe-streaming was a really powerful term for us when we were internally creating our messaging and thinking about what could we say that encompasses everything that we are,” says Bisner.
Prior to joining Kidoodle, Bisner spent many years in the kids media industry focused mainly on acquisitions and digital media (especially building new platforms). From 2007 to 2008, she was VP of acquisitions and children’s programming at Porchlight Entertainment, where she launched KidMango and KidVideos (both of which are now defunct). Bisner then moved on to serve as director of sales at Cookie Jar Entertainment, where she helped with the rollout of its Jaroo streaming platform (also now shuttered). And finally, she branched out on her own as CEO of Baby Toes Media, to continue the mission of launching digital content platforms.
But after eight years as an indie, Bisner was looking for a more permanent home, and decided to board the Kidoodle team headed up by CEO Michael Lowe, who had been trying to recruit her for more than three years.
“Eight years into helping companies understand digital space monetization, working with platforms trying to innovate and move forward, and partnering with brand owners, I wanted to find a place where I had resources to seek out opportunities to really grow,” says Bisner. “I wanted to take all of my skills and apply them to acquiring great content from around the world and creating a safe alternative to YouTube for kids.”
Looking ahead to the future, all Bisner can see is success for the platform and how she is going to make that happen. But first, she says she needs to contact everyone in the industry and make sure they know what she and Kidoodle are up to. “So if you haven’t heard from me yet, you will absolutely be hearing from me,” says Bisner.