YouTube Originals announces new programming slate for kids and family

As part of a previously announced $100 million commitment to invest in the future of quality kids, family and educational programming, YouTube has announced a huge global slate of original programming for kids and families amid an overhaul of the ways in which young viewers use its platform.

The new slate of programming for YouTube Kids includes Original shows aligned with child development and literacy education, and more diverse representation, along with additional language options. The streaming platform has also announced the premiere of a new animated series, Super Sema, the pick-ups of eight new shows including Book Tube Jr, The Eggventurers, The Guava Juice Show, Kid Correspondent, Lottie Dottie Mini, Millie and Lou, Supa Strikas: Rookie Season, and The Workout Badges, plus 25 projects in development.

Super Sema follows the title character, a young superhero girl, on her adventures through an African-futuristic world. Drawing on science and technology, she defends her village against Tobor, a villain powered by artificial intelligence.

Interestingly, the series is produced by a female-led team. It was written by four-time BAFTA winner Claudia Lloyd (Charlie & Lola, Mr. Bean, Tinga Tinga Tales) and directed by Lynne Southerland, the first female African-American director of an animated feature at Disney (Mulan II). The new series will premiere on Super Sema YouTube channel, which has had its WatchTime hours increase by more than 40 per cent year-over-year in 2020 vs. 2019.

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This new initiative also has twenty-five projects in development, including the titles, Jam Van, a road-tripping, original music series, and Corpse Talk, in which a (living) interviewer will speak to a variety of long-dead historical figures in a late-night talk-show format.

The head of Family, Learning and Impact for YouTube Originals Nadine Zylstra said, “Coming from an incredible caliber of creators, our new roster of shows celebrates the diversity of kids and empowers them to pursue their dreams and care for each other and the world around them. Each of these projects is in lockstep with the tone of the YouTube Originals Kids & Family brand. In essence, shows that are entertaining, compelling, embrace big ideas, have strong takeaways and ultimately bring the positive spirit of YouTube to life for our youngest audience.”

The streamer has developed content goals in collaboration with experts across the globe in areas related to child safety, child development and digital literacy. The result was said to be shows that inspire kids’ learning and discovery of their unique strengths and passions while finding their own voice.

As some of YouTube’s recent kids and family Originals will also be available in additional languages in 2021, the scripted quarantine mystery series Lockdown, produced by Canada’s Sinking Ship Entertainment, will launch Spanish-dubbed versions of its 16 episodes.

From SmartStudy, YouTube Originals’ first Korean animated title Pinkfong Wonderstar, will also roll out several new language versions throughout the year to join its previously released English and Korean editions, which have together captured more than 30 million views since launching in December 2020.

Also coming in 2021 is the previously announced Onyx Family Dinner, which is produced by pocket.watch in association with Shine Global and gathers the stars of the well-known Onyx Family YouTube channel together for open discussions about what’s going on in the world over dinner, with weekly guests joining to broaden the conversation.

YouTube Originals includes worldwide scripted and unscripted series and films across music, personalities, and learning for fans verticals. The service is available in nearly 80 countries worldwide.

This slate is one result of YouTube’s commitment to invest $100 million in original children’s content. The pledge was made in 2019, after the company was fined by the U.S.’s Federal Trade Commission and obliged to stop serving personalized ads on user-generated videos for children. The fund was meant to mitigate the resulting drop in revenue for many kids’ content creators.

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