How Moonbug Uses Data and Insights to Launch New Kids’ Shows
By Lauren Orsini · March 23, 2020
If you’re a parent to a young child, you’ve likely heard Moonbug‘s catchy kid fare offerings over, and over, and over, and over.
It’s this uniquely rewatch-happy audience and a solid data-backed content strategy to which the global entertainment company owes its success. In January 2020 alone, Moonbug was the third-largest kids’ entertainment media company in the world in terms of minutes watched, based on Tubular’s Audience Measurement solution (in beta).*
Content creators who are trying to figure out new programming and identify white space can learn a lot from Moonbug’s strategy.
As such, we spoke with Ditte Lucas, Head of Brand at Moonbug, about the London-based company’s data-informed audience-focused approach to content creation. Here’s what she had to say!
First and Foremost: Creativity Is Human
Since Lucas and most of the other Moonbug founding team members are parents themselves, they make decisions based on what they’d like their own kids to get out of social video.
The resounding consensus: engaging entertainment that doesn’t only pacify but supports the child’s development.
Moonbug bases its educational choices around an in-house Life Skills chart, which Lucas defines as “the psychosocial skills you need to become a well-functioning part of society.”
“We don’t just look at the ABCs and the 123s; we break our educational offerings down into cognitive, emotional, and physical skills by age level.”
For this reason, Moonbug fare for infants looks different from what it presents to toddlers because it’s based on the children’s developing skills year by year.
Based on this Life Skills chart, Moonbug then moves into the next step of its content creation process: determining what the data says.
Creativity Inspired by Data Is Moonbug’s Focus
It’s not surprising Moonbug has built an empire on highly-engaging kids’ content like Go Buster, Morphle, and Little Baby Bum. What’s incredible is that the company achieved this level of success after only 20 months in the business.
The Moonbug model involves acquiring, elevating and then distributing content for kids. From concept to distribution, data guides creative and delivery decisions.
“The benefit of building digital IP is that you get data feedback,” Lucas said. “We make sure that everything we create is the marriage between data insights and creativity.”
For example, last year Moonbug acquired a content creator with an engaging visual story about a little girl and the bus she liked to ride. The IP creator designed the story around the little girl. But through audience testing, Moonbug discovered a different narrative.
“The original creators thought the little girl was the main character in the story, but when we looked at the data, we learned that videos featuring the yellow bus consistently overperformed on the platform,” Lucas said.
“We knew that the audience felt that the bus was the hero of the story, and we decided to give Buster the Bus his very own show.”
Moonbug’s insights are carefully woven into every facet of Buster’s colorful world. For example, Moonbug learned from Tubular data that yellow buses are especially popular with children. The decision to make Buster yellow was a completely data-informed decision.
“We also used data to tell us which friends Buster should have,” Lucas said. “We could see that one of the most-searched-for vehicles is a digger but looking across kids’ shows it is one of the rarest vehicles featured.”
How Data, But Not Just Data, Makes Moonbug
Now, less than two years after Moonbug launched in 2018, it’s one of the largest kids’ entertainment media companies with videos available on Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Amazon Prime Video, Sky TV, Apple TV, and many more places.
Its Go Buster property recently also made the leap from YouTube to Netflix. And kids are watching all this content again and again.
“Part of the value with young kids as an audience is that when they see something, they want to see it again,” said Ditte. “That’s the opposite of older audiences who want to be surprised. Young kids want to repeat a pattern until they’ve learned it.”
The company’s unique blend of educational psychology and data insights makes it particularly primed to succeed in a way that videos based only on theory, or only on data, can’t do.
By combining attributes that work algorithmically well (like yellow buses and diggers) and attributes that are age-appropriate to children’s developmental levels, it’s able to create content that kids find irresistibly rewatchable.
“It’s not just a data machine that spits out content,” said Jon Benoy, Head of Video Labs for Moonbug. “There is still a big amount of effort and expertise from the creative team to ensure we are creating content that speaks to the Moonbug core values and kids will fall in love with.”
Data helps Moonbug polish the IP it acquires and gives it the best possible chance of succeeding on YouTube and beyond. But from there human creativity, and a careful understanding of what helps kids learn and engage, does the rest.
“We believe entertainment is an essential part of growing up and it’s a really strong base for learning,” Lucas said.
“We’re all parents. Moonbug was started by parents for parents. And as such we want to create great entertainment for kids all around the world – which kids will love – and their parents will love that they love.”
Curious to see how another company creates breakthrough content in a competitive market?
* Source: Tubular Labs Audience Measurement BETA, Cross-Platform (YouTube/Facebook), Property level, only including Kids Entertainment & Animation Media Creators based on Minutes Watched