In the Toy Book‘s annual State of the Industry Q&A, pocket.watch‘s Chief Revenue Officer Stone Newman addressed new IP launches, the advantages of content on streaming services, and more.
The Toy Book: Heading into 2021, what do licensors need to consider that they wouldn’t necessarily have had to do in the past when launching a new IP?
Stone Newman: While we continue to operate in a global pandemic, licensors and brand owners will be required to exercise more patience in allowing a new brand to take hold. We’re seeing “playground buzz” on the decline with kids not sharing what they’re excited about in traditional peer-to-peer settings, and as a result, the emergence of a hot new trend becomes more challenging to launch and stick. Taking this into account, pocket.watch was able to successfully launch the Love, Diana brand by putting a focus on capturing playground culture digitally and promoting a sense of community with kids and parents where peer validation could thrive.
TB: Several pocket.watch brands have content going up on Amazon Kids+ and Hulu. How is this part of the company’s global growth strategy?
SN: Pocket.watch’s goal is to be everywhere kids are with our franchises, including a robust consumer products program married to rich content. In order for us to achieve our goals of being on par — or above — the biggest global super franchises that generate $1 billion in revenue annually, we must extend beyond just YouTube. We created the No. 1 show for preschoolers in the U.S. with Ryan’s Mystery Playdate for Nickelodeon, that is now being distributed around the world in 2021, while at the same time expanding Ryan’s World specials on leading streaming services.
It is critically important for a brand to be everywhere that kids are in today’s world, and we continue to expand on this goal. We are also able to expand on this concept with the help of our over-the-top (OTT) channels available on Roku, Sling, and numerous other platforms. Most recently, we achieved another first for the company by launching an entire Ryan’s World experience in Roblox. We have often said that our theme park did not need to be in Orlando or Anaheim, and the oasis destination could be built for kids digitally.
TB: How do you make sure your franchises stay relevant year after year?
SN: Pocket.watch franchises are defined as quintessentially “by kids, for kids.” Our creator families and creator kids have their hands in the shaping of every aspect of the brand, keeping pocket.watch’s franchises not only authentic, but also extremely relevant. We adapt with our creator partners’ interests to maintain authenticity with audiences. Whereas brand plans are often white boarded and drawn up by executives, the center of our brand universe is the same age as the audience it is intended for. That keeps it fresh, relevant, and on the pulse.
This State of the Industry Q&A response was originally published in the February 2021 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!