Chris Williams, Albie Hecht and Jon Moonves are teaming up to launch Pocketwatch, a media brand that creates, acquires, distributes and curates content for kids age 2-11 and presents it across a variety of platforms.
Set to officially launch this summer, with additional brands aimed at pre-school and parents rolling out later this year, Pocketwatch will partner with a small group of prominent kid content creators across all platforms, including those with large audiences on YouTube. It will also grant a significant amount of equity to these creator partners in order to promote alignment between their interests and those of the company.
The company also announced a closing of $6 million in Series A funding led by Third Wave Digital with participation from additional investors and prominent angels including Moonves (Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation), Jon Landau (Academy Award Winning Producer of Avatar & Titanic), United Talent Agency (UTA), Robert Downey Jr. (Downey Ventures) and Chris Jacquemin (Partner, Head of Digital Media, WME).
Pocketwatch’s first round of financing will be used to build out the company’s media channels on platforms including YouTube, develop a slate of new premium franchises and attract creator partners. It brings together a world-class team of studio heads, chief content officers and digital strategists, known for developing and producing IP that has been celebrated by children for years.
Executives include Chris M. Williams (CEO), the former chief audience officer at Maker Studios, GM of Disney Online Originals and one of the first 100 at Yahoo!; Albie Hecht (Chief Content Officer), former head of Nickelodeon, responsible for the development of incredibly popular franchises like SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer; Moonves (Chief Strategy Officer), a leading entertainment dealmaker who has significant experience managing the transition to a digital world representing top creators, as well as Apple and the NFL in some of their digital content initiatives; and David B. Williams, the former chief content and technology strategist at Endemol Beyond USA and an early digital entrepreneur. Consulting exclusively in the kids’ vertical for the company is Matt Geilen, founder of Little Monster Media Co. and the former VP of programming and audience development at Federator Networks.
“Pocketwatch’s mission is to create the ultimate headquarters for kids in a vast entertainment universe, that will celebrate all the stuff kids love,” said Williams, CEO and founder of Pocketwatch. “Having spent five out of the last 10 years at Disney, I’ve seen first-hand how challenging it can be for traditional kids media companies to embrace new business models. By bringing together a team of visionaries responsible for developing and producing some of the most beloved kids franchises in history and combining them with digital natives, creators and experts known for creating short-form videos consumed by millions of kids, Pocketwatch is creating a new blueprint for a multiplatform entertainment company.”
Allen DeBevoise, Third Wave Digital, added: “There is no other founding team or company better positioned to transform the kids’ digital entertainment space than Pocketwatch. With its innovative model and venture capital approach to fundraising, focusing first on content and brand development while growing distribution across all platforms, Pocketwatch is taking a really disruptive approach to attacking the white space in the ever expanding kids’ entertainment marketplace.”