The secret of CoComelon: How one dad's hobby turned into America's most-watched YouTube channel

Author: Hurst Digital | | Categories: #CoComelon

The secret of CoComelon: How one dad's hobby turned into America's most-watched YouTube channel

A Youtube channel aimed at preschool-aged viewers has built its streaming empire on catchy nursery rhymes and colorful animations, as it now aims to launch beyond the screen into merchandise and other products.

CoComelon started out as a hobby for one Orange County, California couple fifteen years ago after they decided to make short animated videos as a way to entertain their sons.

Jay Jeon, founder of Treasure Studio, Inc. that creates CoComelon, had experience as a filmmaker and storyteller. His wife worked as a children’s book illustrator.

Together, their talents combined to produce Youtube’s most-viewed channel in the US with more than 3.5 billion views in the average month. The only YouTube channel to beat CoComelon in views is T-Series, an India-based music streaming channel.

Besides surpassing others in views, CoComelon is also the most-subscribed YouTube channel in the US with 92 million subscribers. T-Series and PewDiePie, a gamer who is based in the UK, are the only other channels to surpass it globally in subscribers.

“We never imagined our channel could grow this big, or that it could attract such a large and loyal following,” Mr Jeon said when speaking to The Independent. “We’re so amazed each month, each year, and we’re so grateful.”

The couple uploaded their first video in 2006 under the name ABCkidTV after discovering how much their children enjoyed the animated shorts.

“Our kids’ reaction gave us the confidence to keep going, and so we pursued it as a hobby,” Mr Jeon said.


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Later, the company changed to CoComelon because the original name felt “limiting” on YouTube. CoComelon, to the founders, felt “universal and fun for children”, so the name was changed and popularity grew.

“We’ve tried to create characters that are adorable, likeable and universally relatable. We began to think of JJ, YoYo, and TomTom as our imaginary kids, and over time, we built a family around them -- parents, grandparents, animal friends, school classmates,” Mr Jeon said. “And we think a lot about our audience and what they’re going through: growing up, daily challenges, learning new things. Life! We hope they share experiences similar to those of our characters.”

As the channel’s viewership has grown, the founders paid attention to what resonated with their audience. They also took on timely topics like the coronavirus pandemic to create teachable videos like how a child should wash their hands.

“The CoComelon tagline is ‘Be happy and smart,’” Mr Jeon said. “As content creators, we’ve always tried to keep our stories relevant to our audience, and we’ve created some themed videos -- including a washing hands video as well as videos more centered around activities that can be done at home."

The formula has worked, as CoComelon makes an estimated $120m each year through its animated shorts, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But YouTube advertisement’s alone can’t give a brand lasting success. That success requires expansion in the form of merchandise, live events, albums, and themed parks.

Enter Moonbug, a global entertainment company that has raised more than $250m to purchase kid channels that focus on engaging children with teachable content. The company recently acquired CoComelon for an undisclosed amount.

“CoComelon has the potential to be the biggest property in the world when it comes to kids,” Rene Rechtman, Moonbug’s chief executive officer, told Bloomberg. “In terms of viewership, it is.”

He called the CoComelon the next “Peppa Pig“, a British preschool animated series that has become so popular that Hasbro paid $3.8bn to acquire the franchise in 2019 from Entertainment One. Peppa Pig now involves merchandise and even has its own theme park.

“Our goal is to create toys and other products that extend the positive CoComelon experience beyond the screen, helping to make kids happy and giving the whole family great ways to play, imagine and have fun together,” Mr Jeon said about the upcoming opportunities for the brand.

“With everything we do, we want families all across the globe to look to CoComelon as a supporting partner to them as parents and in their kids’ learning and growing,” he added.

Mr Jeon and his wife, whose identity remains anonymous, have stayed mostly out of the public eye while building YouTube’s top children’s channel. Instead of being publicly outspoken, they’ve let their channel speak for itself by creating videos to stick to the brand’s DNA.

“We prefer to let the content we create speak for itself,” Mr Jeon said. “The most important thing for us has always been making videos, stories and characters that resonate strongly with our audiences. It’s not about us, it’s about serving them.”

That DNA includes making sure each video is original, genuine, and provides enriching educational content that parents will want to play for their children.

“We’re so focused day-to-day on the quality of our content and ensuring its enriching for our audience, it’s become a key part of the company’s DNA,” Mr Jeon added.

Moonbug is wasting no time with its newly acquired brand, as it was now anticipated a toy line could drop in the coming weeks of popular CoComelon characters.