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Moonbug's Nicolas Eglau on prioritizing YouTube and acquiring IP

Kerry Flynn
Sep 11, 2023
Photo illustration of Nicolas Eglau surrounded by abstract shapes and the Moonbug logo.

Photo illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios. Photo: courtesy of Moonbug

Moonbug Entertainment has been outgrowing its London office space as it aims to grow the 29 brands within its portfolio and acquire more intellectual property, managing director of EMEA and APAC Nicolas Eglau tells Axios.

Why it matters: Owned by Blackstone-backed Candle Media, the media startup has become a powerhouse of children's programming and a top acquirer of YouTube channels serving that demographic.

Catch up quick: Founded in 2018, Moonbug owns several popular franchises like CoComelon, Little Baby Bum and Blippi. Eglau joined in 2019 after working at ProSiebenSat.1 Group, A+E Networks and RTL Group. Candle Media acquired Moonbug for reportedly $3 billion in 2021.

  • Moonbug has more than 500 employees, with main offices in London, Los Angeles and Singapore and a small one in New York.

Details: Moonbug's office in Camden is bustling with about 300 workers — the majority of whom are 20-something — who spend their days analyzing and creating kids' programming. Some design YouTube thumbnails. Others record songs in a music studio. Another team localizes videos into different markets.

  • Eglau's mandate when he joined was to scale IPs beyond YouTube and into other channels, including ad-supported and subscription streaming platforms and linear TV, he says. Moonbug is now on 150 platforms.
  • But YouTube is still king. "Every piece of content — except originals, exclusives — it starts on YouTube. It's really important for us. We believe that YouTube is the one platform in the world where you can really build fan bases and audiences," Eglau says.
  • "We start on YouTube. We expand to other platforms, but it never goes at the cost of YouTube or another platform," Eglau adds.
Seiji Lim, a character artist at Moonbug, draws at his desk
Seiji Lim, a character artist at Moonbug. Photo: Kerry Flynn/Axios

What's next: Eglau says he doesn't operate under a mandate of acquiring a certain number of IPs in a set time period but his team is always monitoring YouTube for potential acquisitions and taking calls.

  • "We're not jumping on anything," Eglau says. "A lot of people know we are acquiring so they come to us, but not every IP makes sense. We're very selective."
  • Moonbug is interested in IP that expands its portfolio to a slightly older demographic (ages 6 to 8) or adds a new genre. Its most recent acquisition, Singapore-based One Animation, filled the "gap of non-dialogue" content with the series "Oddbods," Eglau says.
  • Its prior acquisition, Little Angel, met Moonbug's checklist of having a massive audience on YouTube but with untapped potential for expanding to other platforms. It's now on Netflix and has made it into its Top 10. "It has the potential to become another CoComelon," Eglau says.
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