7:29am PT by Carolyn Giardina
Leslie Moonves, Jon Landau Among Investors in Kids' Entertainment Startup Pocketwatch
Kids-oriented content startup Pocketwatch has closed $6 million in Series A funding. Led by Allen DeBevoise’s Third Wave Digital, investors include CBS chairman Les Moonves, Academy Award-winning producer Jon Landau (Avatar, Titanic), Robert Downey Jr. and WME partner and head of digital media Chris Jacquemin.
The Culver City-headquartered multiplatform entertainment company was started to create, acquire, distribute and curate content for kids age 2-11. It's led by CEO Chris M. Williams, a former chief audience officer at Maker Studios and general manager of Disney Online Originals; chief content officer Albie Hecht, former head of Nickelodeon; and chief strategy officer, Jon Moonves, a Hollywood attorney (and Les Moonves' brother).
Initially, the company will focus on digital streaming, including social media, YouTube and “premium” services such as Netflix. This first round of financing is intended to be used to build out the company's media channels on such platforms and to develop a slate of new franchises and attract content creation partners, whose deals may include equity in the company.
The plan is to launch to consumers this summer under the Pocketwatch brand targeting kids age 5-11, with additional brands aimed at pre-school and parents rolling out later this year.
“Pocketwatch’s mission is to create the ultimate headquarters for kids in a vast entertainment universe,” said Williams. “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. [Pocketwatch is] 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 shortform videos consumed by millions of kids.”