Children’s digital media startup Pocket.watch has formed a partnership with Ryan Toys Review, one of the most viewed YouTube channels.
Pocket.watch plans to help Ryan Toys Review, a family-run site that features 5-year-old Ryan trying out new playthings, expand into other forms of media, including books, apps and original premium content, according to Jon Moonves, chief strategy officer of pocket.watch and brother of CBS CEO Les Moonves, a pocket.watch investor.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Ryan Toys Review will get a “significant” equity stake in pocket.watch, the company says. The two-year-old channel has more than 9 million subscribers and has generated more than 700 million video views in the past 30 days, more than any other channel on YouTube.
Earlier, pocket.watch made a partnership deal with HobbyKidsTV, another large review channel. It also made a deal with Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live to create a live-action sketch comedy show called pocket.watch presents Skoogle. Thompson will be working on the show with pocket.watch’s chief content officer, Albie Hecht, who developed Thompson’s All That at Nickelodeon.
“By giving them an equity interest in pocket.watch and doing that with each of our partnerships, we really align interests where what’s good for pocket.watch is really good for them and what’s good for them is good for pocket.watch,” Jon Moonves says.
“What we’re trying to do is create a kids brand for the digital age," he added. "Where the kids can really call this brand their own, it’s not their parents brand, like Nickelodeon, or their grandparents brand, like Disney.”
Pocket.watch was founded by former Maker Studio and Disney executive Chris Williams and its management team includes Moonves, Hecht, chief revenue officer Stone Newman and head of partnerships Chase Landau.
The company is connecting with YouTube channel creators because they’ve noticed that when kids sit in front of HDTV sets with surround sound, they’re watching YouTube videos on their phones.
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Landau says pocket.watch connected with Ryan Toys Review at a YouTube creators' event early this year where Hecht was speaking.
“When they heard about pocket.watch and how we’re building the next kids entertainment headquarters, they were really excited,” Landau says.
“Despite their scale what makes them stand out is, when you watch their content you really feel like you’re part of their family," she adaded. "They’ve invited you in. Their energy is contagious, whether it’s Ryan being a relatively normal 5-year-old kid doing 5-year-old things or the mom laughing from behind the camera. I think they’ve given kids and their audience around the world a chance to feel like they’re part of something and have this great family interaction. That to us is very special.”
Shion, Ryan’s dad (the family is keeping its last name under wraps to protect their children’s privacy), says: “While we have experienced tremendous success on our own, when we met with Chris, Albie, Jon, Chase and the team at pocket.watch, we knew we had only scratched the surface of what Ryan Toys Review could become. Pocket.watch’s innovative business model and out of the box vision for our brand was unlike anything we’d heard before. We have been courted heavily by a number of media companies in the past, but with pocket.watch we know we have the right partners to bring Ryan Toys Review to entirely new heights.”
Moonves says pocket.watch will be developing business and revenue generation plans for Ryan Toys Review.
Pocket.watch is also developing its own YouTube channels and other programming. But becoming partners with established channels has helped the company grow fast. It had planned to build partnerships with about 20 channels. Now it’s aiming for 8 to 10 partners, Moonves said.
“We’ve achieved in a few months what a lot of places haven’t been able to achieve yet and where they require 500 channel to get to a billion views a month, we’ve done it quickly with just a few channels and we’re very excited about how this fits into the overall pocket.watch model,” Moonves says.
That scale will benefit both pocket.watch’s partners and its own content.
“We have some interesting plans ahead for using the scale of all these channels put together and the fact that we’re in these long term relationships and partnerships helps us to really build stuff together that’s meaningful and not short-term, opportunistic stuff,” he says.