BroadbandTV (aka BBTV) is expanding into children’s programming with some new developments. The YouTube multi-channel network has launched the HooplaKidz Network website with the intention of producing and distributing more family-friendly content.
Back in April 2015, BBTV acquired family network YoBoHo, which on the whole boasts three billion video views each month and runs both the HooplaKidz channel and its larger YouTube network. HooplaKidz boasts about 40 different channels on YouTube, and is a key partner for the YouTube Kids app. The network’s new website will help BBTV expand content production and marketing potential.
Also thanks to the YoBoHo acquisition, BBTV has partnered with YouTube to release an animated children’s series called The Adventures of Annie & Ben on September 9, 2015. The series follows the adventures of Annie, her dog friend Ben, and the monkey Mango as they travel around the world and visit different locations. BBTV and YouTube are planning to release 52 seven-minute episodes in total, each available in eight different languages.
In addition to The Adventures of Annie & Ben, BBTV hopes to create and launch even more content through HooplaKidz within the next year. The network already boasts 12 paid apps for iOS and Android based on popular YoBoHo characters and properties. By fall 2016, BroadbandTV founder and CEO Shahrzad Rafati told Variety her company would like to release 25 more apps and consider licensing opportunities of HooplaKidz characters for things like toys and books.
“With the HooplaKidz Network, we’re building on some of the most popular content, taking the IP to license it, merchandise it, and even take it to linear (TV),” said Rafati. “It’s important to build an ecosystem that scales to this digital-first audience.”
Rafati also revealed BBTV’s intentions to challenge other YouTube multi-channel networks which are moving into the family entertainment realm. In terms of competition, the CEO said BBTV currently feels the “only competitors with all the components (as HooplaKidz) are Disney and Maker [Studios].” Disney acquired Maker in early 2014. Now, the two have teamed up to launch the talent-search program Disney XD by Maker, which will give content creators the chance to develop shows for distribution on the linear Disney XD TV channel and its related outlets.
BroadbandTV currently boasts 5.7 billion video views per year, spanning roughly 37,000 partner channels.