For a locally based business, babies and moms come first -- on TV and online.
BabyFirst, a TV channel dedicated to mothers and children, has recently become a $1.99 a month premium channel on YouTube, and the Century City-based company intends to get onto mobile platforms too.
“Our general aim is to be available to as many parents that need us,” said Chief Executive Guy Oranim. “When you’re on the go, other platforms can be a great solution.”
BabyFirst includes segments designed to teach children vocabulary, colors and more. The company was founded on Mother's Day in 2006 by Oranim and Sharon Rechter, the executive vice president of business development, and became a YouTube channel a year later.
The business expanded by partnering with cable providers including Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV. BabyFirst is available in 35 million homes through basic cable packages, Rechter said. By the end of the year she expects that number to reach 50 million. BabyFirst is in 80 million homes worldwide.
“On cable, if you want to meet a mass audience, converting your channel to basic distribution is the way to go,” Rechter said. “We want to be the platform for babies and moms to connect.”
BabyFirst’s niche and high viewer engagement attract advertisers and investors, Oranim said.
The company also has a new investor. Steven McPherson, former president of the ABC network, joined the board at BabyFirst in January, bringing what he called a “very significant amount” of capital.
“I’m not a gambler,” he said. “I’m very conservative with my money [and] I felt personally connected to the idea.”
As an equity investor, McPherson joins Regency Entertainment, Kardan and Bellco Capital.
Future plans for BabyFirst include the creation of more apps, which have 4 million users across all BabyFirst apps. More programming is in the works. Oranim said the company hopes to create something similar to the long-running Nickelodeon kids show, “Dora the Explorer.”
“We’re excited about the potential frontiers,” Oranim said. “Now, with digital media, it’s much more flexible [and] we have more ways to reach people.”
Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times