I talked about my recent investment* in Encantos on TWiStartups (episode 892), but I want to dive a little deeper into the digital media and consumer products opportunity and why I invested in a media company for kids.
Encantos is a West Coast-based digital media and consumer products company that designs and develops family brands and brings them to life via animated films, apps, books, toys and other play experiences — all with a multicultural lens. They are building a portfolio of new consumer brands that resonate with multicultural families — starting first with a bilingual baby brand inspired by LatinX culture.
LatinX families are the big beachhead market for Encantos, but this is a cross-cultural opportunity that will capture parents of many backgrounds who are interested in teaching their kids secondary language skills.
The first brand in the Encantos family is Canticos (“little songs”) — a series of bilingual singalong videos in English and Spanish targeting children 5 and under. Canticos is already taking advantage of the cross channel opportunity and merging the physical and the digital. The apps can be found in the Google Play and Apple App Store, physical books are being sold online and are available at retailers including Barnes & Noble, Target and more. In addition, Encantos entered into a licensing and consumer products partnership with Nickelodeon for Canticos. Canticos Season 1 is live across Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. platforms and they will be launching Canticos consumer products this year.
Production on Canticos Season 2 is underway and this first round of outside funding will allow the team to expand into new product lines and consumer goods as well as help launch new brands.
But they’re not stopping there. The multiculti kid’s market is a big blue ocean.
The future of kid’s media is multicultural
In 2015, one-in-seven U.S. infants were born to a multiracial or multiethnic family¹. American families are more multicultural than ever before, but kid’s serial media has been largely unchanged.
Dora the Explorer is the most recognizable kid’s series that features LatinX primary characters, but in addition to being terrestrial TV-first, it is an 18 year old brand that is now being rebooted to capture a slightly older audience.
Other prominent bilingual kids shows are also dated or no longer in production and can be found on terrestrial and streaming services but have not achieved the full online distribution or development of a true D2C kid’s brand.
Today, YouTube is the biggest competitor for the under 5 set’s time and attention against more established family brands like Disney and Nickelodeon.
Some of YouTube’s biggest kid’s media publishers are created outside of the US, giving them a somewhat global nature. They’re able to churn out out content that gets kids to view, but their algorithm-driven consumption doesn’t extend beyond the mobile device.
Encantos’ combination of apps, videos, and owned-IP around characters allows them to spread across D2C categories into books, clothing, toys, experiences, and a host of other products.
A market that has already emerged
The LatinX population is one of the biggest consumer groups that is often overlooked by technology, media, and direct-to-consumer product companies.
- The LatinX population accounts for most of the population growth in the US, making them the second fastest growing demographic; and US-born Latinos account for the majority of this population growth.
- 50 million people in the US speak Spanish and the US is the #2 Spanish-speaking nation in the world behind only Mexico
- Babies of color (1 year or younger) now outnumber non-Hispanic white babies.
- The yearly spending power of the Hispanic consumer is $1.7 trillion — more than the GDP of Canada, Russia, Spain, or Australia — and up 203% since 2000
- Nearly half of the total US Hispanic population is Millennial and more than 4 in 10 Latina moms are Millennial.
Moms — and Latina Millennial moms in particular — are the key differentiator and most important customer in family media.
Babies in Generation Alpha (born 2010 and beyond) are the first generation where more American-born children are ‘of color’ or non-white at every age from zero to nine.² Young children simply experience the world from a different cultural point of view than they ever have before.
The tanning of America is changing consumers
The continued tanning of America — especially in the Millennial and post-Millennial generations that drive technology consumption — is one of the demographic shifts that will continue to change the internet. This is one of the major themes that I’ve been writing about and investing around (see: Mented Cosmetics, Blavity, etc) for a while, but consumer internet, especially direct-to-consumer beauty, media and content are just the beginning of the opportunity in this space.
I’m excited to now work with the founders of Encantos who have the cultural competency to build a brand that families love.
If you have kids in your life and want them to experience media that reflects our increasingly multicultural world while also teaching them bilingual language skills, then go explore encantosmedia.com and canticosworld.com
*Investment via Lightspeed Venture Partners Scout Fund