Pocket.watch has signed partnership deals with two big YouTube creators — EvanTube and CaptainSparklez — giving the children’s media startup a network that produces around 1 billion monthly video views.
CaptainSparklez, a video-game and entertainment channel created and run by Jordan Maron (pictured above), has 10 million subscribers and has pulled in over 3 billion views since launching in 2010. EvanTube, a group of kids’ and family channels anchored around EvanTubeHD, was has 9 million subscribers across its channels and has amassed over 5 billion lifetime views.
They join previously announced partners Ryan Toys Review — the most-viewed U.S. YouTube channel, featuring 6-year-old boy — and HobbyKidsTV, which specializes in toy reviews. As with those previous deals, Pocket.watch is granting EvanTube and Jordan Maron equity stakes in the company
Pocket.watch (on the web at pocket.watch) now has a network with 20 YouTube channels that have a combined subscriber base of over 34 million.
“Pocket.watch’s team of great executives is building something unique in kids and family entertainment and we know we can work together to grow our brand and bring it to a much wider audience in many new places,” said Jared, creator of the EvanTube channels (who declines to disclose his last name to protect the family’s privacy).
The expansion of Pocket.watch’s network of kid-oriented channels comes as YouTube is cracking down on content featuring themes and characters that appeal to children — but include violent, sexual or otherwise inappropriate material. Last week, the Google-owned video platform shut down Toy Freaks, citing a violation of its policies.
Pocket.watch also this week announced a deal with Simon Spotlight, a division of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, to create books based on Pocket.watch’s portfolio of brands. The first titles under the pact are scheduled to be published in late fall 2018.
In addition to its YouTube network, Pocket.watch has a slate of 15 original series in development, led by former Nickelodeon head Albie Hecht. Those include a deal with “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kenan Thompson for development and production of a live-action sketch comedy and three series from “Fairly OddParents” creator Butch Hartman.
“While all of our creator partners have seen tremendous success on YouTube, we’ve only scratched the surface for growing their brands with premium series, licensed merchandise, games, live events and, of course, books through our new Simon Spotlight imprint,” Pocket.watch founder and CEO Chris M. Williams said in announcing the new agreements.
Pocket.watch, founded in March 2017, has raised $6 million. Before founding the company, Williams was Maker Studios’ chief audience officer and prior to that was GM of Disney Online Originals.
The company’s most recent hire is Bruce Gordon, a former Disney financial exec, who has joined Pocket.watch as CFO. He spent three decades at the Walt Disney Co., with the last 10 years of his run at Disney as CFO of Disney Interactive.
Pocket.watch has also assembled an advisory board, whose members are:
- Kerry Tucker: former CEO, Hello Sunshine; former COO, the Video Genome Project (acquired by Hulu); former EVP of marketing, Victoria’s Secret
- Barry Blumberg: former chief content officer, Defy Media; former president of TV animation, Walt Disney Co.
- Jacob Shwirtz: global head of social-media strategy, WeWork; former chief social-media officer, Endemol Beyond U.S.
- Greg Clayman: former president, Vertical Networks; former GM of audience networks, Vimeo; former EVP of digital, News Corp
- Jon Goldman: venture partner, Greycroft; managing partner, Skybound; former president, Skybound Interactive