Pocket.watch, the studio that turns YouTube sensations into media franchises, has signed what it thinks will be its next global hit in Diana, the six-year old dubbed the Princess of Play.”
Coming off work with Ryan’s World, Pocket.watch is looking to execute its playbook on behalf of Diana, whose YouTube Channel Kids Diana Show has 123 million subscribers and more than 52 billion lifetime views.
In the works are a new show called Love, Diana, expansion into new formats and distribution into over-the-top and gaming platforms. A premium version of the show will be pitched to TV networks. Pocket.watch also has lined up a range of consumer products including toys, dolls, hair accessories and furniture.
“Love, Diana marks a new chapter for Pocket.watch as a leader in kids entertainment and our unmatched ability to identify the next big kids’ global franchise,” said CEO Chris Williams. “Our proven success in launching several of the world’s most popular kid YouTube creator franchises, like Ryan’s World, Ryan’s Mystery Playdate and HobbyKids Adventures, has drummed up overwhelming excitement from partners for what’s to come. We are proud to welcome Diana and her family to pocket.watch and to bring Love, Diana to new and established audiences around the world.”
The franchise will start without sponsors, but Williams said Pocket.watch has diverse revenue streams, including content distribution and consumer products. “We fully expect future seasons and other forms of content to be sponsored,” he said.
Production of 40 episodes of the new series Love, Diana,” a live-action and animated hybrid, has already begun. The show is expected to be ready to view in the fall. It is being overseen by former Viacom executives and pocket.watch chief content officer Albie Hecht, the creator of the number one show for preschoolers, pocket.watch’s Ryan’s Mystery Playdate on Nickelodeon.
“We have plans, as we do with all of our franchises to develop content for almost all platforms,” said Hecht. “We create,digital properties that have digital DNA but that have a multi-platform possibilities”
Hecht doesn’t expect the pandemic to hamper production. “We have a virtual animation studio in place that is unaffected by this, so we’ve been able to continue our animation production,” he said. “On the live-action side, we’re fortunate again that YouTube stars know how to produce on their own. So we have been able to do the scripting here and the costuming and props that might be necessary for the live-action wrap-arounds and then direct them virtually and edit them here.”
Each episode of Love, Diana will include a positive lesson about friendship, leadership, family, imagination, and, most importantly, the power of play. The series will launch Fall 2020 on YouTube and Pocket.watch’s OTT network which includes Amazon Prime Video, The Roku Channel and Samsung TV Plus.
Pocket.watch has had Diana on its radar for some time, Williams said. “She has a similar scale and magnetism that we saw in Ryan,” he said. “Likewise we were on Diana and her family’s radar. They saw us as the only company they’d ever seen that’s been able to take kids IP from YouTube and turn it into a massive worldwide kids franchise.”
Williams notes that in some ways this is a good time for a new kids show. Viewing is up with people sheltering at home, with the company’s YouTube audience increasing 30% and its OTT viewing up even more. At the same time, the content has development benefits for children at home, with imagination, playfulness, empowerment, creative and friendship all being important during times like this.
“With Kids Diana Show, we’ve created a global community that shares in Diana’s love of play and imagination. It brings us great joy to see kids and their families embrace Diana as their friend,” said Olena and Volodymyr, Diana’s parents. “We’re thrilled to join Pocket.watch, a company that has done such amazing things with many of the creators we admire. We are so excited to work with pocket.watch to bring kids all over the world more of what they love from Diana.”
Williams declined to talk about the financial arrangement with Diana’s family. “Generally speaking YouTube stars with big audiences do make considerable amounts of money already,” he noted.
Hecht said he didn’t think Ryan and Diana have met yet.
“They are certainly aware of each other,” he said. And while Ryan has more of a male audience and Diana attracts girls, “They complement each other really well when we think about how those two brands can work together in the future.”
The Diana “lifestyle line” of consumer products is aimed at children between two and seven years old. Licensees include Headstart, making dolls, doll accessories and styling heads. Just Play - Role Play; Jerry Leigh making dress up toys; Far Out Toys, making collectibles; HiJinx, making plush figures; H.E.R., hair accessories and jewelry; Taste Beauty, bath & beauty products; Franco Manufacturing, home textiles, bedroom and bath, KidKraft, with furniture and dollhouses
“Headstart is thrilled to continue our partnership with pocket.watch who shares our commitment and dedication to children’s entertainment” said Headstart International CEO Andrew Hendy. “We strongly believe that Love, Diana is going to reimagine the world of play and we are excited to introduce the product line to the massive global fanbase.”
The Love, Diana brand will move into mobile gaming that will be available at the App Store and Google Play later this year. Pocket.watch’s Tag with Ryan game has 12 million downloads and 450,000 daily active users.
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