Albie Hecht Talks Creator Economy Franchises


Albie Hecht, the chief content officer at, told TV Kids Summer Festival viewers about franchise building for Generation Alpha and developing content that can be deployed on multiple platforms.

Hecht, who spent several years at Nickelodeon before joining the digital-first studio, participated in a keynote conversation with TV Kids’ Kristin Brzoznowski, which you can view here.

“On YouTube alone, we have over a billion subscribers and 660 billion lifetime views,” Hecht said of’s network of kids and family content creators. “Our founder and visionary CEO, Chris Williams, likes to say they already won the ‘Hunger Games’ of YouTube to win those audiences. We trust their instincts and work closely with them because they know their brand better than anyone else. One of the core attributes of those kid creators is how authentic they are. We don’t want to mess with what’s successful.”

Hecht stressed the diversity of the stable of creators, “Not just diverse in nationality and origins from around the world, but also, importantly, in types of content. You’ll see everything from farming to gaming to mindfulness to art for kids. That gives us the chance to look deeply into where the white spaces might be as opportunities. And then, we see how they perform in content syndication, ad sales and monetization. We put it into a franchise and marketing team. And then we might even test them with some franchise expansions.”

As an example, Hecht referenced’s association with Ryan Kaji, whose YouTube stardom was first extended with the Nickelodeon show Ryan’s Mystery Playdate and now includes his own SVOD platform. “Ryan’s World has a balloon in the Macy’s Day Parade! We’ve reached pop culture. Diana is one of the trending shows on Disney+. And Toys and Colors is consistently ranked as one of the top three YouTube channels in the U.S. So, our franchise planning has done pretty well.”

Hecht then discussed how uses its treasure trove of data in content decision-making. “We pursue partners at scale, and we look at the trends of how they’re getting that scale. [The data also] gives us the themes and formats to prioritize what we do in our original production. We can also see which partners align with each other so we can put together packages for them or collabs that make content even more successful for our linear channels and packages for sale. The key to success there is that we’re packaging in-demand content. It’s a cluttered environment. We already have this viewership with large fan bases that we can offer.”

The conversation then moved to the protections that need to be in place when working with these YouTube stars. “We review prospective creator partners and their content. They have to align with our values: authentic, positive, appropriate and prioritizing the well-being of the family. We check their backgrounds, [do] social media checks, look for red flags and then make the content into broadcast standards so it can play everywhere.”

Hecht then weighed in on taking short-form “snackable” content and packaging it for broadcast and streaming services. “We try to make it into what we’ll call ‘TV-ready compilations.’ We take those snackables, we put them into half-hour shows, we curate them, we enrich them with original content. They’re long-form series of the best of their YouTube content, with original packaging and content to go with it. And that’s TV-ready. TV wants half-hours, and we can distribute that around the world. You see our content on over 40 platforms, from Hulu to Peacock to Sky in the U.K.” is also developing original long-form content with its creator partners. “We have to maintain the integrity of their brand, and once we do that, we can also optimize it for the need of a buyer. So, we know, like, when we develop Ryan’s Mystery Playdate, yes, Ryan did challenges, Ryan did playdates, but we want to make them larger-than-life for Nickelodeon. Things that Ryan and his family couldn’t do alone, we could do in a big studio and make it into a show for premium. We made Diana into an animated character she wanted to be [with the] Love, Diana animated series. Onyx Family wanted to do a talk show. We did an award-winning family series with Onyx on YouTube originals. Kids watching is now being done more and more in the living room [on] connected TV, so long-form is coming back!”

Brzoznowski then asked Hecht about the content being produced for Ryan and Friends Plus, the company’s SVOD service. “It’s highly curated, parent-trusted and commercial-free. Getting into the YouTube universe, sometimes parents are not trustful of it. But here, you get the best. You know that it will be what the kids want to watch, and the best of it all in one trusted place. The result is the fastest-growing subscriber base. That’s a real testament to creator-driven TV versus traditional TV.”

Expanding the content lineup for Ryan and Friends Plus and its FAST channels is a priority for the year ahead, Hecht said, as well as expanding its partner platform lineup. “We’re improving our monetization of creator content. Our ad-sales team is growing. Our mission is to be everywhere kids are. We’ll continue with consumer products, games and other franchise areas. We have podcasts coming out. Live events are coming. Direct-to-consumer experiences, more of those. Publishing— books will come out in great force. We have a new record deal with Universal Records and Republic Records. And don’t sleep on our emerging AI tools and offerings.”