Which YouTube Animation Channel Will Succeed?

As Cartoon Brew has pointed out, we are seeing a raft of new YouTube channels devoted to animation being launched or announced in recent months. However the internet is a fast-moving and unforgiving place. New channels can have a tough time gaining an audience and keeping it. So with that in mind, which YouTube channel will succeed?

First though, it’s important to note that there are two different kinds of channels; namely those that produce their own content, and those that acquire/request content from outside or independent sources.

The ones mentioned in the Brew article are mostly the latter. In other words, the channel runners solicit others to create the content for them to “broadcast”. The line of thinking seems to be that the runners can cherry-pick the best content and hence ensure an acceptable level of quality.

What is interesting though, it that it is the former kind of channel, the one where all the content is produced by the channel owner, that have garnered the most views. It is, of course, a lot harder to become successful with just your own content. However, independent animators (suck as PES) have carved out quite a large audience for themselves from just their own, personal, account.

All in all, it’s a balance between risk and reward and whether you are a creator or not.

So which one will survive?

Before I say, just keep in mind that the internet video landscape is much like the wild west, with many rules still being written and content producers coming and going all the time.

Based on their track record, I would say that Frederator have the best chances with their latest channel, Cartoon Hangover. The reason I say so is that this is not their first channel. That was Channel Frederator, which has been around for about 7 years or so. Naturally, the studio has learned a lot from this experience and are putting it to good use.

The other reason? Well, Fred Seibert has proven that he can pick the winners when it come to TV shows, so it would be quite surprising if he can’t translate that into the online world too. It also helps that Cartoon Hangover is geared more towards actual content over silly videos and is aiming for an older audience with more sophisticated tastes; both areas which have yet to see much quality content.

 

A Look At The Hub

Rounding out this week’s look at the main US kids channels is newcomer, The Hub, which if it feels I’ve already covered it, you aren’t far wrong. I recently wrote a post on the channel’s biggest hit, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

The Hub is basicially a reincarnation of Discovery Kids and is a joint venture between Discovery Communications and toy maker, Hasbro. Interestingly enough, no content was carried over, so The Hub really is having to prove itself in the tough world of kids programming.

Surprisingly enough, it seems to have done quite well in the year and a bit it’s been around. Good quality content including MLP, Strawberry Shortcake and Transformers have helped there. Yup, they’re all toyetic, but are also much, much better than their former 1980s incarnations.

The only handicap is that Discovery Kids was carried on relatively few cable and satellite systems, and not at all onĀ  basic packages. The house I’m staying at has Time Warner Cable and it places the Hub waaaaay up in the 130s along with Disney XD and the other Nick channels. Having said that, word of the shows has gotten around and the channel has more than made its goals for the first year.

The Hub does seem to skew more towards girls and is the only channel out of all of them that makes this noticeable. In that respect, it can be seen as a bit of a balance to the boy-scentric channels like Disney XD. All a good thing in my opinion.

Admittedly enough, its surprising that someone would launch a new channel now, just as internet viewing is starting to really kick off. The Hub required a masive investment and while it will surely pay off for Discovery/Hasbro, one can’t help but wonder if it’s the last of a dying breed.

We’re unlikely to see a brand new kids channel launch again, and it remains to be seen whether or not kids are capable of utilising the internet for viewing. They seem to be able to work iPads fairly well, so perhaps the next big breakthrough will be a child-friendly interface for watching shows.

Overall, the Hub is OK. Yeah, the shows are good, and I’m dead happy for the likes of Lauren Faust and the gang of awesome artists she’s kept employed as a result. The only faults I could find is the proximity of the shows to established toys (although that it probably a given, seeing as who’s funding it all) and the fact that as a channel, it remains to be seen if it can follow up it’s initial hits with others.