Connected television (CTV) has become one of the leading entertainment mediums in the past few years, helped by a significant boost in viewers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advertisers have been rapidly pivoting to this new environment as audiences across the world cut cords in favor of streaming content, with eMarketer predicting that ad spend on CTV will jump to $21.4 billion by 2023 – an $8 billion boost over current 2021 ad spend trends. As a result, creators have been eagerly going after the growing audiences on CTV/Over‑the‑top platforms but that path hasn’t always been easy.
Riki Group, a leading animation studio in Russia and China established in St. Petersburg in 2003, has built itself into one of the top kids edutainment brands across the world. With multiple shows being broadcast in 50 languages and 100+ countries, Riki Group’s proven track record of success in new markets has shown that kids animation can be a vibrant and quickly growing genre.
The Fixies, an international hit with 156 episodes and dozens more in production, follows the story of Tom Thomas and his tiny friends Simka, Nolik, and the Fixies classmates, whose hijinks help Tom overcome the challenges involved in growing up and learning about life. Kikoriki has been the most broadcasted animated TV series in Russia for 18 years, spawning numerous spinoffs and even theatrical releases. The show follows the antics of Krash, a blue rabbit, and his friends.
With multiple successful shows under their belt, Riki Group approached VlogBox for help in breaking into the ballooning CTV market, in addition to its already enormous YouTube presence with 2 million views a day for its English-language videos.
CTV is the fastest growing entertainment medium around, and as CTV adoption continues to increase and speed up across the globe, gaining the first-mover advantage will provide a huge boost to anyone getting in early. As a result, choosing VlogBox stands as a sure route to success for content creators looking to branch out of the Google-owned walled garden and diversity into new markets and niches.
In order to build a similarly massive viewership as they had achieved in other mediums, Riki Group faced and overcame multiple challenges.
YouTube’s often-changing policies have left many creators facing restricted revenues, and Riki Group was no different as the brand saw dropping fill rates and lowered CPM. This meant that despite impressive viewer and audience counts for The Fixies and Kikoriki, Riki Group needed a way to translate its success into the revenue that those numbers deserved. Diversification across platforms was a must in order to engage the massive boost in kids’ viewing times caused by the pandemic – according to Parents Together, 49% of kids are spending up to 8 hours a day in front of screens.
With a multitude of OTT and CTV platforms, the nuances of a single one can get overwhelming or lost in the details. Riki Group required a way to quickly and efficiently untangle the peculiarities of major OTT streaming platforms, including Roku, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV, in order to move quickly and have a successful launch. CTV app development doesn’t just represent a considerable up-front development cost, but also ongoing efforts for maintenance and upkeep, meaning that ensuring a problem-free development and post-launch support process was essential.
In 2020, household CTV penetration in the United States reached 72%, and that number has only gone up in 2021. This represents an unmissable opportunity for any growth-oriented brand, and The Riki Group required an experienced marketing approach in order to break into this highly competitive market.
VlogBox, an industry-leading global CTV app development, video content distribution and monetization company, led Riki Group in launching The Fixies and the Kikoriki channels for top streaming devices. The company resolved the problems identified above with the following methods:
Riki Group was able to exceed its YouTube returns with CTV, successfully leveraging VlogBox’s experience to establish high levels of CPM and ad fill rates for its channels.
Riki Group was able to rely on VlogBox’s hard-won experience on OTT platforms, providing a smooth launch for The Fixies and Kikoriki channels. Extensive post-launch support additionally ensured that the channels operate without issues.
Monetization isn’t only about being able to navigate policy, but also about smart segmentation and accurate analytics. The company’s focus on state-of-the-art targeting tools allows VlogBox to ensure that placed inventory is directly aimed at demos with the greatest chance for engagement. On top of that, real-time monitoring allows for adjusting strategies whenever necessary, further improving fill rates.
Animation on CTV has seen average CPM growth rates triple, and with The Fixies and Kikoriki’s captivating child-friendly content, it’s likely that revenues will only continue to grow.
With a painless and transparent CTV adoption process, Riki Group was able to easily enter the CTV market and quickly establish themselves as a leading provider of children’s animation, thanks to:
As the US remains a major CTV market, reaching that market was one of Riki Group’s stated priorities. Following VlogBox’s cooperation, The Fixies and Kikoriki were able to happily share their engaging content with US viewers, with a grand majority of views – around 80% – coming from the United States.
With the two series’ unqualified success as Riki Group’s first foray into CTV, the studio has now set its sights on introducing more branded apps and channels onto CTV platforms.