Pinkfong is a subsidiary of the global children’s entertainment company SmartStudy, and its programming is represented by a pink fox. The Pinkfong brand is home to more than 2,200 children’s videos, songs, games and apps. Its videos are available on YouTube and Amazon Prime.
The Savvy Screener recently spoke with its CEO, Bin Jeong (pictured above, with friend), about the company’s founding and the challenges involved with developing videos that appeal to very young children from different cultures around the world. (Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)
TSS: When did Pinkfong start and when did it come to the US? How many employees does Pinkfong have in the US and globally? How did you come up with the name ‘Pinkfong’?
Jeong: Pinkfong started in Korea in 2010 and opened its doors to the US in 2016. We currently have a couple of employees in the US, but as a subsidiary of SmartStudy, there are about 150 employees.
For the name, we thought “fong” is a fun word. Also, we were born on mobile and “fong” sounds somewhat similar to “phone” and, as you can tell, our character is pink.
TSS: What is SmartStudy?
Jeong: Founded in June 2010, SmartStudy is a global entertainment company specializing in developing animated and gaming content to deliver high-quality entertainment.
“For us, it’s not always about getting the highest number of views. We have an obligation to produce quality, educational content for kids.”
TSS: What is Pinkfong’s relationship with Amazon Prime and YouTube?
Jeong: Pinkfong’s videos are available with an Amazon Prime membership and also on YouTube in multiple languages – Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. Additionally, Pinkfong recently collaborated with YouTube Kids for the #ReadAlong campaign launched back in June, and created an exclusive series for the initiative.
TSS: What are some of the challenges involved in creating videos for small children? What type of experts do you consult when developing content?
Jeong: YouTube is flooded with content. Some of it isn’t always the most appropriate for kids; some is heavily commercialized with the sole purpose of getting as many views as possible. For us, it’s not always about getting the highest number of views. We have an obligation to produce quality, educational content for kids.
Also, because we deliver our content worldwide, we have to consider the cultural differences between countries. What is considered appropriate for kids in one country might not be in another. They all have different standards and sensitivities towards kids’ content.
Our in-house content creators are experienced experts from the kids’ publishing industry, with in-depth knowledge in childhood development and education. We also consult with educators and professors.
“Because we deliver our content worldwide, we have to consider the cultural differences between countries. What is considered appropriate for kids in one country might not be in another.”
TSS: What other types of content and products does Pinkfong produce?
Jeong: Aside from fun learning videos, Pinkfong also produces apps, games, songbooks and toys.
TSS: What are some of Pinkfong’s most popular videos?
TSS: What are some new series you plan to introduce in the next 12 months?
Jeong: Live-action puppet videos, through which we will introduce short stories; and long-form animation series based on our character Pinkfong, which will be in CGI.
TSS: Where do you see Pinkfong five years from now?
Jeong: Our biggest challenge is to successfully produce our first long-form animation series and build licensing arms around it. Also, we want to diversify our library by developing and adding new IPs (intellectual properties). Currently, we have one main IP, Pinkfong, focusing on preschool education and entertainment. We plan to develop and add new character based properties, and expand age groups.
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