Brenda Bisner, chief content officer at Kidoodle.TV, revealed what’s driving its usage gains across multiple markets and platforms at the TV Kids Festival today.
Bisner was interviewed by TV Kids’ Kristin Brzoznowski about the AVOD platform’s approach to “Safe Streaming” and how it has evolved over the last few years. You can view the session here.
A Parent Media Co. (APMC), parent company of Kidoodle.TV, was an early believer in AVOD streaming, conceiving of the platform in 2012. “We believe, as a company, that kids deserve to have a safe place to watch content online,” Bisner said. “At that time, we saw a migration [of viewing] to areas that were not safe for kids, just fundamentally because of how they were made. Back in 2012, AVOD was an untapped market that had yet to have that much attention in terms of the architecture of how those platforms were going to cater to children. So, we coined Safe Streaming, which are words that we own. We are a Safe Streaming channel for kids under 12, and we adhere to the highest letters of the law when it comes to keeping kids safe—COPPA, GDPR-K—and we take that very seriously as an organization.
We’ve shifted into a leading AVOD channel, and Safe Streaming has created a movement. Now we’re all talking about kids being safe—something that we have always stood strong in our values about, just like we’ve always stood strong with co-viewing.”
Bisner continued: “Parents are looking for alternatives that are not just safe but also something that is free, with no barrier to entry. With a recession and the cost-of-living squeeze, it’s another really great thing that we can do to ensure that not only families can afford it but that their kids can be safe while doing it.”
She added, “We’re a tech company at heart, and everything for us is built so that it is safe—and there’s a reason behind it. We’re a closed platform, so everything is human-vetted; everything is seen by eyeballs, including our adverts, to make sure that kids are seeing content that is not derogatory in language, that is not violent, that is not going to cause nightmares or create or disrupt a situation in their lives that is difficult for them to take on.”
Bisner then talked about the platform’s performance over the last two years. “Our first point of entry has always been the connected TV market. We were early adopters in that space. We’re available there with no barrier to entry for families. With connected TVs, it taps into our belief of the co-viewing happening in households. So, our performance has grown. The Covid-19 pandemic was an incredible time when everybody was home. Our growth was over 3,200 percent. It’s continued to be steady. Our retention is very high. The content that we have has a very high completion rate. As far as performance goes, some of the biggest brands in the world are on our platform.”
The platform currently offers more than 40,000 episodes, Bisner said. “We want to be able to engage with what’s going on with the brand. It’s never been about slapping it up on the channel and hoping for the best. We’re looking at it; we’re making sure that it’s positioned correctly—from a visual standpoint to a content-selection standpoint. How long is the content? What’s the completion rate? Are we giving the audience what they’re looking for? And we can always move things around; we can always change things up to ensure that we’re meeting those demands.”
On the approach to refreshing content, Bisner observed: “We’ve taken an approach similar to the traditional broadcast model, where we launch new content on Thursdays. We’re launching anywhere between 10 to 20 new shows a week, depending on what those brands are. A lot of times, it’s more episodes, consistent refreshes. We just started launching movies, which is really exciting for us. We love brands with a social strategy. It is so important to us, and we ask a lot about that because we want to make sure that people know what’s on Kidoodle.TV.
Once we go live, our partners get access to our analytics portal, which provides backstage access to what’s going on with the content. It’s the daily heartbeat, so our partners can actively see what’s going on. That transparency and honesty, that quality of revenue that’s coming in, is something that we really put a lot of effort behind. Backstage was built for our partners. We’re the only AVOD channel to have something like this (outside of another large AVOD channel).”
The service is available in 160 territories, Bisner said. “The markets for us that have always been very strong are the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Latin America is a very big growing region for us. We’re looking at those markets and making sure that we’re speaking to them in a way that they can understand. Recently we’ve been programmed into Spanish because we have a very large Hispanic audience.”
Kidoodle.TV has been rolling out originals, such as What’s the Word? in Spanish and French. “We are actively producing and launching interactive content on our AVOD channel, and this is something you’ll hear a lot more about. ‘Interactive’ is a word that’s circulating in the business (just like the word ‘FAST’ is). It’s been really exciting to watch this particular show in an interactive form because we see that the completion rate and viewership are a lot higher with that. You’re not just passively watching the content. As we work to acquire content that is completed, we want to be able to bring our interactive components and other ideas to the table that can further advance the engagement of the audience with the content that they’re seeing.”
On her approach to acquisitions, Bisner said: “Partnership is the name of the game. We want partners that care about what we’re doing. We want partners that have seen Kidoodle.TV, that know what Kidoodle.TV is, that know what they’re engaging in and that it’s a relationship. Completed content is the number one priority. We do not gap finance; we do not co-produce. We’re not going to come to the table and save the day on some old-school business-structure models we’ve seen in the past. We’re looking for content that you have ready to go that has a proven audience around it. It is really important that there is a campaign or social strategy. There’s a lot out there in the marketplace. How are you going to get to the front? The packaging of that content, what makes it different? If it’s everywhere for free, why should people care about that? From a brand-owner perspective, I’m always encouraging partners to look at what they have, how they can package it and what their visuals are to engage the audience.”
Bisner added: “We look for non-exclusive AVOD rights, and we have a 30-day out clause (or what I call a breakup clause) if that’s necessary. It’s not something that we exercise a lot because our partners are always happy with us. Come to the table with a clear package of what it is and how much of the world is available because we do seek worldwide [rights], though we can geo-block within reason. One of the special things for us is we know that our sweet spot is about nine to ten minutes in length.”
On the growth plans for Kidoodle.TV this year, Bisner noted: “A Parent Media Co. has many babies. We have our Safe Exchange business. Advertising is very important for us. We only serve adverts that are safe for children and work with partners that can provide those.
Our global expansions, our platform expansions, our foreign-language content, our interactive content. How we’re going to be looking at creators and the creator marketplace and how we’re going to help families. All of those things are really big. They’re all major areas of our business that we’re planning for. We’re in a position now more than ever to show up in a big way for everyone.”