March 22, 2017 / 1:12 PM / 5 months ago

New kids media company aims for mobile audiences

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former executives from Walt Disney Co and Viacom Inc's Nickelodeon network will lead a new media company created to provide video content for children ages 2 to 11, executives announced on Wednesday.

The company called Pocketwatch aims to reach kids who are growing up watching more video on mobile platforms than on traditional television, said founder and CEO Chris Williams, a former executive at Disney's Maker Studios unit.

Pocketwatch will create and distribute short videos for platforms such as Alphabet Inc's YouTube as well as long-format series or movies intended for streaming services and other outlets, Williams said in an interview.

Albie Hecht, who developed hits such as "Dora the Explorer" and "SpongeBob Squarepants" at Nickelodeon, joined Pocketwatch as chief content officer. The company aims to produce new franchises for the "click and swipe generation," a group that discovers characters through digital videos or online viral trends such as memes and gifs, Hecht said.

Third Wave Digital led a $6 million funding round to launch Pocketwatch. Investors include prominent Hollywood figures such as CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves and actor Robert Downey Jr.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sandra Maler

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