Toy maker Hasbro is launching a new children’s brand called Hanazuki. The new brand is based on and driven by the company’s first ever digital cartoon series that debuted this month on YouTube and the YouTube Kids app. The branded series, produced by Hasbro Studios in collaboration with Titmouse Studios, contains 27 11-minute-long episodes and follows the space adventure of Hanazuki and her friends inspired by whimsical characters originally created by two Amsterdam artists.
Hasbro plans to launch a Hanazuki digital app in April, with branded consumer product offerings to follow throughout the year. A toy line inspired by the series will launch this summer featuring over 175 collectible figures and plush items, as well as a wearable device that “enables kids to share their moods.”
What Brands Need To Do
Launching an entire new product line based on a new cartoon series is a pretty ballsy move for toymakers, who typically relies on licensing existing IPs that are proven popular with children to introduce new products. However, the advance in digital video distribution and shifting habit in media consumption have made it possible for a cartoon series on YouTube to attract a sizeable audience to launch a new franchise off. In fact, a recent eMarketer study shows that about half of the U.S. children and teens spend over 3 hours watching YouTube every week.
This example shows that it is time for brands to reconsider their content strategy in the face of shifting media consumption and fragmented audience attention and start take advantage of the zero-cost digital distribution channels like YouTube and Twitch to reach a global audience.