It has already dominated kids’ magazines and social networking. Now Moshi Monsters is set to take on the world of children’s TV, with a new online channel described ambitiously as “YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) meets Nickelodeon”.
Moshi Monsters, the UK-based social network that boasts more than 50 million pre-teen users, will launch Moshi TV within weeks.
While the fine details are still being ironed out, Moshi TV will feature popular “moshlings” such as Dustbin Beaver and Lady GooGoo, alongside animations uploaded by users and syndicated content.
“TV is really critical because kids are begging to see [Moshi Monsters] characters a lot and hear more of the story,” said Brad Schultz, the newly appointed head of Moshi TV. “We’re holding ourselves up to a Looney Tunes here. We’re going to create shorts [animations] that will be talked about for years and years and years.”
Schultz, who joined from US video-on-demand channel Kabillion in August, is the son of Bill Schultz, the renowned animator behind The Simpsons, King of the Hill and The Transformers.
He described Moshi TV as the “birthchild of YouTube meets Nickelodeon” and predicted that traditional rivals, including Disney (NYSE: DIS) and the BBC’s CBBC, would struggle to keep up with children’s shifting viewing habits without an online presence.
“Already the traditional TV model has been shattered. Video platforms like YouTube are the standard in how kids want to engage with videos,” he said.
“The role of TV has changed. It used to be the centre of the house and that was your form of entertainment. Now TV is still a place where kids are getting information from, but once they see something on TV they immediately want to find the counterpart to it online. If you don’t have that on TV and online, you’re done.”
Schultz will head up Moshi TV from a new office in Los Angeles. It is the first overseas office opened by Mind Candy, which has already this year doubled the number of staff at its headquarters in east London, to about 100.
Founded by internet entrepreneur Michael Acton Smith in 2008, Mind Candy was valued in June at $200m (£125m) after Spark Ventures, an early investor, sold half of its stake for more than 15 times the value of its initial investment in 2004.
The company has been profitable “since summer 2009” according to its founder, and is expected to generate about £62m from merchandise in 2011.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.