Exclusive: Moonbug to launch pre-school channel with MultiChoice

Moonbug Entertainment, a YouTube-focused entertainment company for preschoolers, is launching its own channel on MultiChoice’s DStv pay-TV platform in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Moonbug Kids Channel launches in October and will feature content from across the Moonbug portfolio. The pre-school service will be available to all 21.7 million DStv subscribers in 45 African countries and will be broadcast in English, including content CoComelon, Blippi, Gecko’s Garage, Morphle, Arpo and recent acquisitions such as Little Angel and Oddbods.

The channel will be available to all 21.7 million DStv subscribers in 45 African countries and will be broadcast in English.

In an exclusive interview, Moonbug EMEA and APAC Managing Director Nicolas Eglau said DTVE that the company sees a huge opportunity to launch ad-free premium linear channels with pay-TV operators, especially given that Hollywood studios like Disney have shuttered channels to focus on their own streaming platforms.

“It opened up the market because pay-TV operators are now hungry for unique content that we can offer,” he said, citing the example of Asia, where the rapid withdrawal of children’s channels opened up an opportunity for Moonbug to launch its first two linear channels in the Philippines and Malaysia.

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Eglau believes that the European market will follow closely behind APAC, creating space for new channel providers to meet demand from pay-TV providers.

Eglau said Moonbug is now planning to launch a channel in Turkey later this year in partnership with some operators.

The Turkish channel is fully localized for the first time.

“We are very interested in doing this. Turkey is an important market with a very young population, and we can do that in other markets too,” said Eglau.

He said the company is open to further linear channel launches in EMEA, including Western European markets.

Moonbug hired former Discovery executive – and former Chief Content Officer and CMO of Digitürk – Dilek Doyran as Director, Distribution and Content Partnerships, EMEA earlier this year to help drive business in the region.

Eglau said Moonbug’s strategy of continuing to acquire more content that can be distributed in a variety of ways also means it’s now on the horizon to launch a second channel.

“We have so much content that I think we could launch a second channel in some markets,” he said, citing the Discovery model of building a brand portfolio.

The second channel, like Moonbug Kids, would be aimed at preschool audiences, but with a different mix of content and “a selection of brands that would follow a certain logic,” he said.

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Not a direct-to-consumer game

Moonbug, owned by Candle Media, is building a children’s digital programming business by launching original productions while simultaneously acquiring existing children’s content, which it can then incorporate into global franchises distributed through multiple channels, including YouTube.

However, Eglau said Moonbug is specifically not focused on building its own direct-to-consumer app.

“We do not want to create an offer directly to the consumer. We see ourselves as a partner for platforms. We don’t want to compete with them and I think that makes us stand out in the perception of platforms,” ​​he said.

“They think we’re here for the long haul. Part of the appeal of our channel is that operators aren’t worried about us changing our strategy and going to consumers.”

Eglau said the company also sees challenges in the burgeoning FAST (Free Advertising Supported Streaming Television) market, particularly in terms of monetization.

“I see that many companies, including production companies, are adopting FAST channels right now, but I’m curious if these FAST channels really deliver the financial benefits that these companies want,” he said.

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“I like the traditional model, especially when you work with a partner like MultiChoice, because they are very picky about the type of channel that comes on the platform, so for us, MultiChoice membership is almost like a seal of approval.” he said.

In a press release accompanying the launch, Georginah Machiridza, Executive Head Content Strategy and Third Party Channels at MultiChoice Group, said that the pay-TV operator is “constantly reviewing its channel offering to ensure we continue to offer our customers the best quality local and international content.” offer and we believe Moonbug Kids is exactly what our customers have been asking for.”

In addition to launching pay-TV linear channels, Moonbug also distributes content to SVOD players such as Netflix and public broadcasters’ digital platforms such as BBC iPlayer. Eglau says YouTube will continue to be the focus of the company’s distribution.

“We really benefited from a rethink,” said Eglau. “Five years ago it probably would have been impossible to launch a linear channel with pure YouTube content, but there has definitely been a shift in perceptions of the quality of YouTube content.”

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