The explosion in demand for TV shows driven by streaming services is lifting all boats, but one genre may be rising more than most: children’s programming. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney’s upcoming streaming service are all ordering more kids shows or movies. Among the beneficiaries are some little-known startups that are drawing investments from big Hollywood names, such as U.K. firm Moonbug and L.A.-based pocket.watch, a startup founded in 2017 by a former Maker Studios executive, Chris Williams.
Pocket.watch has raised $21 million from Viacom, Greycroft, former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves and United Talent Agency’s venture fund. What makes pocket.watch stand out is its collection of five popular YouTube channels, such as the Ryan ToysReview, hosted by a 7-year-old. The company has moved quickly to exploit their popularity, spinning off books, merchandise, live events and shows for streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon. It also is making shows for traditional TV—Viacom’s Nickelodeon.