When MGA Entertainment, the world’s largest private toy company, premiered its newest kids’ show about a teen-girl team of super spies, it skipped Saturday morning TV and staged a splashy premiere on Netflix — replete with a matching toy line, a few dozen dolls and play sets like the “lip balm lab activity kit.”
And Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service, was more than happy to fold the show, "Project Mc2," into its exploding empire of kids’ entertainment. Much of the $5 billion Netflix is spending this year on movies and TV shows will be spent on fare for the playground set.
The big-business battle for kids’ distracted attention spans has never been more competitive — or eye-poppingly lucrative — and Netflix has aggressively angled to use its data-driven insights to make programs kids don’t want to turn off.
About half of Netflix’s 75 million members regularly watch kids’ movies or TV shows, executives say, but the potential for long-term profits runs much deeper. If the site is able to win over viewers when they’re young, executives said, they may be able to secure their loyalty for life. ...
Netflix will spend roughly $5 billion on movies and TV shows this year: far more than its competitors, and roughly half of what all American movies made at the box office last year, combined. And much of that is aimed towards young audiences; Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in January that the company is "doubling down on kids and families." ...
NF appears to have an insatiable appetite. That's bad news for cable and broadcast networks, but it's created lots of L.A.-based animation jobs and enabled a LOT of artists to start (or continue) their animation careers.
Clearly it's not just Los Angeles animation that's benefitting. Making Netflix cartoons is a global phenomenon. But now you know why animated half-hour shows are sprouting up in so many places. Netflix is a big hungry beast that needs to be fed on a recurring basis.