By Evan DeSimone
Multi-channel network BroadbandTV has announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with YouTube to create original content for the video sharing giant starting with the 52episode original animated series “The Adventures of Annie and Ben.”
The show premiered Wednesday on YouTube on BroadbandTV’s HooplaKidz TV channel. It focuses on the adventures of a Annie, a human girl, her canine companion Ben, and Mango the monkey. The trio travels the world in seven-minute episodes that will be available in eight different languages. The show is the creative product of Emmy and BAFTA-winning writers Pamela Hickey and Dennys McCoy.
BroadbandTV acquired HooplaKidzTV and approximately 40 other channels in the HooplaKidz network with its purchase of digital content producer YoBoHo earlier this year. According to a statement, that acquisition is now entering its second phase, which will see BBTV invest more heavily in content in order to build a comprehensive kids programming multi-platform network around HooplaKidz’s existing brand that includes back-end services, promotion and distribution. Broadband evocatively describes this move as an effort to become a “digital-first Disney.”
That’s a notion that might interest the actual Disney. The Mouse House has been making its own moves in the the digital space in the last year and a half, starting with the acquisition of Maker Studios in 2014. That union has not been without its problems, but the launch of a digital talent incubator, Disney XD by Maker, suggests that Disney is ready to make another big play for the digital kids space.
On the YouTube side, HooplaKidz is already a major player in the video giant’s somewhat troubled kids strategy. Content from the Hoopla Kidz network played a major role in the YouTube’s Kids App. The news of the new series comes as YouTube is set to roll out the first round of products from its latest original content push.