Recently I interviewed Kenneth Locker, Senior Vice President Digital Media for Cookie Jar Entertainment, whose latest project, Jaroo, is teed up to be an online video destination for the kid crowd. My impression of the site follows the Q&A.
Tell me a little bit about Jaroo and the premise behind the site.
When Cookie Jar entertainment acquired DIC Entertainment in 2008 we had a combined library of approximately 6000 episodes of high quality children’s programming. In analyzing the marketplace it was apparent that there was no video site for kids that provided full episodes of television similar to way Hulu, Fancast, and TV.com do for older audiences. Although other studios have large amounts of programming online, they are generally short clips. Jaroo differentiates itself by providing full-length episodes of quality shows.
With loads of video sources on the Internet, what will set Jaroo apart from the others?
I believe the quality and diversity of our offering are unique. In addition to our library we will acquire distribution rights from other third party content holders and create original webisodes as well. At launch we will show 500 episodes on at a time from approximately 60 shows. We will add new episodes every week. Every day of the week new episodes will be added. We also feel we have created a very focused site. We have intentionally decided not to have games. We want to be a destination where kids can easily find tons of great video content and there will always be something new and different every time they visit.
What is the demographic you're trying to reach and why?
Our core demographic is 4 to 12 years old. This is the demographic for which we produce all of our shows. We have found that for the older shows there is a pretty significant nostalgia audience who can revisit the shows with which they grew up and share them with their kids.
What is the business model or revenue model that will help sustain this site?
The business model is based on advertising. We will show three 30 second commercials during each 22-minute episode ( as opposed to eight minutes on broadcast TV).
What future plans are in place that might serve to entice visitors to come to the site?
Kids love to personalize and share. We will soon begin to allow personalization of the viewing area based on shows and characters. We will also allow viewers to create “playlists” of their favorite shows, so that they can be notified when new episodes are available.
Do you plan on leveraging the reach of the social web to garner traffic to the site? If so, what plans do you care to share?
Definitely – we already have a YouTube channel and Facebook pages. We discovered that some of our older shows have had FaceBook page for a while. Inspector Gadget currently has 140,000 friends. We will be creating Facebook pages around all our shows and aggressively updating them with pictures, video links, etc.
What do you envision this site will offer or what type of presence do you hope the site will have in six months? A year?
We hope to become the premier destination for kids' online video viewing. We look at this as site that parents are comfortable with and that kids will enjoy. Over the next year we plan to, through partnerships and joint ventures, set up Jaroo sites in other countries.
Overall, the site has some promise. It's going to come down to content that kids in that demographic are going to want to watch — maybe not so much of the old re-runs that my generation grew up on, but original content or content that was created in the same time frame as the target demographic's age. For parents, it worth checking out — especially if you're an classic cartoon lover. It'll bring back some memories, especially the Inspector Gadget stuff.