- Nickelodeon has partnered with child YouTube star Ryan of Ryan ToysReview on a new live-action series titled "Ryan's Mystery Playdate" that targets pre-schoolers, according to a news release.
- The 20-episode series, created and produced by kids entertainment platform Pocket.watch, premieres later this year and follows seven-year-old Ryan, his parents and their animated friends Gus the Gummy Gator and Combo Panda as they work together on a series of physical challenges and solve mysteries.
- Ryan ToysReview launched in 2015 and features videos showing Ryan and his family playing with toys. The YouTube channel averages more than 1 billion views per month and has more than 18 million subscribers. It netted an estimated $11 million in pretax income for 2017, according to Forbes data cited in Business Insider.
By partnering with one of YouTube's biggest, most lucrative stars, Nickelodeon is aiming to spark an emotional connection with a new generation of digitally native, preschool-age viewers, who are being dubbed Generation Alpha by some.
The entertainment brand is likely also looking to position itself as more of a competitor to digital platforms like YouTube, which has frequently been ranked one of the most loved brands by kids. Children under eight reportedly spend 65% of their online time on YouTube, according to research from Family Zone, which has put pressure on traditionally TV-focused companies like Nickelodeon.
"Ryan's Mystery Playdate" could expand Nickeolodeon's reach to Ryan's millions of social media followers, attract advertisers familiar with his YouTube work and grow viewership. The news also points to how longtime TV networks are vying to remain relevant in the digital age by incorporating more digital elements into their programming. Last year, Nickelodeon updated its Screens Up app with augmented reality features and stickers that allow kids to interact with content on mobile devices while watching live shows on the network.
Ryan is becoming a sought-after partner for brands aiming to connect with families in an authentic way. In December, Wonderful Halos teamed up with Ryan on a five-minute video showing Ryan and his parents visiting the mandarin brand's orchards in California. The campaign also included a contest to win a play date with Ryan.