CoComelon will soon be celebrating its third anniversary of being on Netflix and just saw a seventh season added to the service globally. More recently, it just celebrated its second anniversary of being featured in the Nielsen top 10s. This piece will look at just how big CoComelon has been on Netflix thus far and what’s next.
The YouTube-originated IP hit Netflix in June 2020 and has now enjoyed two full years of weekly featuring in Nielsen Streaming Content Ratings’ Top 10. In addition, it was one of the top ranking shows overall in both 2021 and 2022. The series celebrated in style by bouncing its biggest week ever, just shy of a billion minutes viewed. Add top place in the US Kids Trending Rankings for 2022 (#2 globally behind PAW Patrol), and CoComelon has plenty to celebrate!
But how did it all start?
CoComelon is the output of a hobby project by a couple based in Southern California. Jay Jeon and his wife, a children’s book illustrator whose identity remains anonymous. Initially, they started creating YouTube animations to help their children learn ABCs. YouTube was providing fertile engagement with this type of kids content, with British IP Little Baby Bum among the first of the animated kids mega brands on the platform. Moonbug Entertainment acquired both titles, a kid’s media company headed by numerous former Disney executives. Their objective was to expand the reach and value of the brands through content and merchandise licensing. A key tenet of this strategy has been establishing distribution on global partners like Netflix.
From a YouTube perspective, CoComelon is a member of an exclusive club: one of only a few YouTube channels that rack up billions of views monthly, per Social Blade data. Its trajectory was set in 2017 when the decision was made to focus the IP on JJ, a 3D-animated toddler, and his family. Recent uploads on the CoComelon YouTube channel have clocked up nearly 13 million views in a fortnight.
CoComelon is the only animated kids IP in this club. Other members are onscreen child YouTubers Kids Diana Show, Vlad and Niki, and Like Nastya. The overtly commercial nature of this competing live-action “unboxing”-style toy content, plus underage talent working requirements, give CoComelon a clearer runway to brand monetization and distribution.
And this has borne fruit. Over the course of the last two years, CoComelon has seen a total of six seasons launch on Netflix. This is alongside distribution on Amazon Prime and Hulu. This content uptake has supported a full-fat consumer product range offering everything from toys to nappies.
Week in, week out, the series has hit the ranking under Nielsen’s “acquired” section, which breaks down non-Original, non-movie acquired content. New seasons definitely gave an obvious uptick in the early days. Eventually the IP simply hit a critical mass of consumption, so the direct impact of new releases was less clear.
The season format doesn’t follow that of your typical series. In an approach that seems to be bedded down as the norm for these types of nursery rhyme IPs. Seasons consist of between one and three episodes, all in an hour-long region. This means the actual volume of content is far below any other Netflix show. Comparing on a ratings per hour of content basis, you can see the value the show drives among streaming series.
CoComelon kept its crown as the king among kids content overall in streaming during 2022. There was more competition among young-skewing shows though. Bluey continues to grow, and Gabby’s Dollhouse is coming through as a true streaming Original franchise.
So what’s the way forward for CoComelon from here? 2023 brings a new Netflix original series, CoComelon Lane, which promises more narrative storylines about JJ and his best friends. This might be a way to keep clear of being positioned beside any criticisms of “dwindling quality”, or that it might be the driving culprit in an excess of screen time for kids.
The producers of popular television shows including Alphablocks and Numberblocks have warned about the declining quality of “dangerous” children’s programming as younger viewers increasingly turn to YouTube https://t.co/c35htqsWt7
— The Times and The Sunday Times (@thetimes) February 6, 2023
It gives every appearance of being an unstoppable force. The launch of Moonbug stablemate Blippi in January certainly didn’t seem to stem any interest. Another Moonbug nursery rhyme IP, Little Angel, came to Netflix in October. Following this, all boats rose with the tide and weekly consumption of CoComelon went up. Where the show has convinced kids that yes, yes, yes they want to eat their peas, even parents might argue for its value, as much as they might reach for the mute button.