Children’s media company Ruta Ett (Square One) moved “Stadens hjältar” (Heroes of the city) from the TV-screen to YouTube. Today their channels have more views put together than SVT Play. And it is only the beginning. An additional $600.000 will help break digital ground.
Ruta Ett opened its gates already 2004 in Falun. The goal back then was to make DVD-productions for different employers. After two years the company started making DVD’s with publishing house Rabén & Sjögren’s famous characters and collaborations with Disney commenced. The major obstacle was licensing rights since the various rights were issued to different companies.
“In 2008 we changed direction starting developing our own productions and characters instead. If you own all content yourself, you can chose which platforms you want to place that content on”, Pelle Ferner CEO and founder of Ruta Ett, says.
After a while, the success with Stadens hjältar grew forth, the premise being about Palle Polisbil (Palle the Police Car) and Bella Brandbil (Bella the Fire Truck) who in each episode take off for new adventures. The show has so far been sold to TV-channels in 70 different countries.
But sole visibility on the TV-screen is not good enough. More than a year and half ago Pelle Ferner decided that he would allow the heroic vehicles roll out onto the digital market. He figured that YouTube could be a good advertisement window and put up a few episodes there. It would prove to become something significantly more than an advertising channel.
“We were contacted by YouTube a year ago, and they were interested in our content. The TV-companies handle voice-over why we are available in 18 different languages. It show what penetrating power the platform has. We have been able to build our own children’s channel, like a mini-version of Disney”, Pelle Ferner says.
After some time the Heroes of the City grew in popularity and has been sold to TV-networks in 70 countries.
About a year and half ago Ruta Ett launched it’s first Youtube channel. At first they just posted a few episodes of their show to spread the word. But it grew bigger quickly and turned out to be much more than just an advertising opportunity.
“Youtube reached out to us about a year ago and expressed interest in our content. The TV-networks dub the show so it’s available in 18 languages on Youtube so far. That’s a testament to the plattforms enormous penetration. We have built our own mini Disney”, Pelle Ferner says.
The digital development has moved faster than anyone could have ever imagined. Today, Ruta Ett is a strategic partner with the social video giant and part of the app YouTube Kids, which so far has only been available in USA.
“The YouTube-channel had a million views per month a year ago. We have 60 million views now and it is growing every day. As a matter of fact it has more started streams than what SVT Play has every month. YouTube is our primary platform and that is where we invest our resources. TV is simply just another window supplementing the digital”
Ruta Ett recently raised $600.000, all from their pre-existing owners. Among them Almi Invest, Inlandsinnovation and private angel investors coming in with more cash.
The company turned over $370.000 last year. The goal for this fiscal year is at least three times as much.
“We feel that there is so much to be done, and we have only just begun. We will put up all our material; we have approximately 1.250 video clips already produced which are yet to be published there. We only release complete episodes, it is just like using Netflix”, Pelle Ferner says.
All advertisement is being sold by Google and as of yet Ruta Ett’s founder does not have any plans on cooperating with a YouTube network.
“We are happy as things stand right now, but it is something which can be reconsidered in the future”, he says.
Most of Ruta Ett’s TV-series are aimed at children up to the age of five. Pelle Ferner’s own children are too old to be dedicated fans.
“My youngest daughter is six. She is still excited when something new appears but it is not like before. Our most dedicated fans are three year-olds”, Pelle Ferner says.
“It is interesting to notice how YouTube has become the children’s new TV and the apps their new DVD-movies.”