Pocket.watch, a kids media brand and entertainment platform touting new digital stars, said on Wednesday that it has closed a $15 million funding round led by Viacom.
Pocket.watch and Viacom have already kicked off other content initiatives together, the company said, including developing a kids sketch comedy show starring Keenan Thompson called “Skoogle.”
And Paramount Players has purchased a pocket.watch pitch for a feature film called “The Unboxing Movie.” In connection with the agreement, the companies said they have formalized a process for collaborating on development new projects and they expect to work together on a number of projects over the coming year.
Viacom will also expand pocket.watch’s ad sales reach, by packaging pocket.watch’s branded video inventory with Nickelodeon’s inventory to create an advertising reach across digital and traditional platforms.
“We started pocket.watch with the understanding that kids today consume entertainment in entirely new ways and in order to reach them, brands have to go to where they are and celebrate the things they love,” said pocket.watch CEO Chris Williams in a statement. “In just a little over a year since pocket.watch’s launch, we’ve seen our business grow exponentially and we are thrilled that a legendary media company like Viacom shares our enthusiasm and chose to lead our Series B and partner with us to help bring our new and powerful approach to audiences around the world.”
Sarah Levy, chief operating officer of Viacom’s media networks, will join Williams on the pocket.watch board, with a third board member to be named in the coming weeks.
The companies are also working on a variety of talent initiatives, including identifying up-and-coming talent and creators for 360 degree talent partnerships. Pocket.watch plans to take advantage of Viacom’s events, such as the Kids Choice Awards, by sending its creator partners to gain exposure.
Since launching in March 2017, pocket.watch has raised $21 million and boasts over one billion monthly views across twenty YouTube channels, with a combined subscriber base that exceeds 34 million.
“Pocket.watch’s unique and comprehensive approach to celebrating the new digital stars of today makes them an outstanding partner for Nickelodeon and our unmatched connections with kids around the world through video, digital and real-world events,” Levy said in a statement. “It’s great to be in business with them and we are excited to be expanding our relationship with such an innovative new media brand.”
Along with Viacom’s investment and expanded partnership, pocket.watch is also getting new investments from UTA Ventures and Greycroft’s Tracker fund.
Starting next month, pocket.watch said it will begin rolling out long-form content featuring original intellectual property and creator partner brands to top streaming networks. The company also plans to launch a line of toys and apparel to major retailers nationwide, and will debut Watch this Book!, the first in a series of books released under the pocket.watch books imprint through Simon Spotlight, a division of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.