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HomeBollywood'CoCoMelon's Moonbug Entertainment Launches 'Blippi & Friends' Channel

‘CoCoMelon’s Moonbug Entertainment Launches ‘Blippi & Friends’ Channel


EXCLUSIVE: Moonbug Entertainment, the owner of the lucrative CoComelon franchise, is plotting European expansion and has launched its first channel for older children.

The Candle Media-owned outfit has kickstarted a Blippi & Friends 24/7 linear channel in the MENA region. The new network is the first 24/7 linear offering to be named after the Blippi IP and will feature a number of spin-offs targeted at 4-8 year olds as opposed to Moonbug’s pre-school heartland. These include Meekah and the feature-length special Big Dino Adventure, while Blippi – an educational human with a distinctive bow tie who has various cartoon friends – will feature in numerous interstitials.

Nicolas Eglau, who runs EMEA, APAC and global distribution for Moonbug, said the channel was inspired by the huge success of slightly older-skewing versions of CoComelon that have performed well on Netflix recently.

“We wanted to do something new and innovative and just thought we should name the channel after one of our most successful IPs,” he told Deadline. “This content has the ability to deliver values in a playful and fun way, so we take it very seriously.”

Eglau’s team frequently discusses the potential to move further into the older kids space and he said they are “observing the market” but would need any big plays to be known IP. “The way we want to grow is to work with existing successful brands so if we moved into an older segment then it would be acquisitions,” he added.

The new channel comes as a result of a distribution agreement struck between Moonbug and MENA outfit Intigral, and is the second in recent weeks following Moonbug’s tie-up with Viaplay-owned Allente in the Nordics.

Notably for an entertainment powerhouse which says its brands have 760 million YouTube subs combined, Eglau was keen to stress commitment to linear, as Moonbug attempts to have its content become part of a child’s daily routine.

“Kids can watch the channels while brushing their teeth or going to bed, so we are trying to mirror the routine of the day,” added Eglau. “There is this assumption in the era of Netflix and Spotify that pay-TV is dead [for children] but there are still opportunities. And when people see Moonbug next to established brands on platforms like Sky they think to themselves, ‘Wow, they are next to Bloomberg or CNN on the channel guide, they are a legitimate brand’.”

Rather than streaming services, Eglau said his “key partners” right now in nations such as the UK are the likes of the BBC and Sky. “They have embraced and seen the quality of our content on YouTube,” he added. “Our shows are a really good fit to their portfolio. [BBC kids boss] Patricia Hidalgo takes a realistic, pragmatic approach to the kids TV world.”

Pushing into Europe

Nicolas Eglau

These linear opportunities are especially prevalent in regions that are watching less YouTube such as MENA but Eglau has turned his sights to Europe in a big way and the first fruits of that strategy is the recently-struck Allente partnership in the Nordics.

Eglau wants to burrow deeper into the continent and his team is actively seeking more European partners.

“I personally never thought we would be able to do this,” he said. “Hopefully this is the first step of us entering Western European markets. I have a few more markets on my list for this year.”

The European push comes as global viewers behave in a more agnostic manner, Eglau said. “Some watch YouTube and some watch Sky but we don’t want to tell people how to watch, we just want to try and be in as many households in the world as possible.”

Moonbug was launched by ex-Disney exec René Rechtman in 2018 and was bought by Candle Media – the investment vehicle owned by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs – three years later.

Growth has followed and the outfit now has several hundred employees worldwide, but Eglau cofirmed reports in Bloomberg from late last year that a number of staffers were laid off in the CoComelon production studios, which came amid mass redundancies across the media landscape.

The company laid off around 30 people late last year but Eglau stressed that hiring has been at a net positive in recent times.

“We have grown in areas like gaming and music but at the same time we looked at where we might grow slower and some productions came to an end,” he added. “We are always reviewing the decisions of the previous year and focusing budget on growth.”

Moonbug is helped along by Candle’s backing and Eglau said he meets with former Disney exec Mayer regularly, adding of Mayer: “He is in the office from time to time and is not a silent shareholder.”

Along with its European push, the mid-term future, for Eglau, is “having as many touchpoints as possible with our fans,” citing growth of gaming, video and live entertainment.

“We feel like we have the freedom to the create the product we want, and this is what the partners want,” he added.



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