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How 'CoComelon' owner Moonbug plans to grow under Candle Media

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Moonbug Entertainment, owner of popular children's series like "CoComelon," plans to grow its international business and push into gaming, its managing director Andy Yeatman tells Axios.

Why it matters: Moonbug is a closely watched entity in the space given that Candle Media — backed by Blackstone and Kevin Mayer — bought the company last year in a deal that valued the business at $3 billion.

  • "We're a franchise company. Our plan is to have five global franchises. Today, we consider that we have one," Yeatman says.

Yeatman says Moonbug's growth will come via three main pillars:

1. Expanding global presence: Moonbug's popularity is primarily restricted to North America and Europe. "We think there's a big opportunity to expand our presence in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East," Yeatman says.

  • In May, Moonbug acquired Singapore-based studio One Animation. "Singapore is our new Asian headquarters," he says.

2. Catering to (slightly) older kids: While Moonbug is the leading programming for the preschool-and-under crowd, Yeatman says they're eyeing kids as old as 8.

  • Just don't expect them to go after teens: "We really believe in focus. We want to be the best at what we do, which is making content, distributing it and building franchises for young kids."

3. Gaming push: Yeatman told VidCon attendees last month that gaming was their next big content expansion, though he says the approach will be measured.

  • "We're not going to launch a 'CoComelon' Fortnite. But we do think that there's a market for games, interactive experiences for our IP, and potentially IP that starts as a game."

The big picture: The children's entertainment space has become a new battleground in the streaming era and factors heavily into parents' decisions on which of the ever-growing streaming services to pay for.

  • "We still think there's a lot of untapped opportunity between content, brands, video, gaming and products and linking them all together," he says.
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