They are in the children’s backpacks and school supplies, at children’s parties, in the joy trains that make tours of the cities with costumed entertainers dancing to the rhythm of hits, in toy stores, in books, and even in the Theater of the emblematic Corrientes Avenue in the City of Buenos Aires.
They are Bartolito, the rooster, Zenn, the owner of the farm, Perchern the horse, Beto the wolf, Susanita and her mouse, and several more characters who conquered the market withthe children’s kingdom.
The success that was born in Argentina, but crossed borders and expanded even beyond the Latin American continent, is the Spanish-speaking YouTube channel that has the most subscribers and views on the platform worldwide, defeating competitors such as Disney and Nickelodeon.
The channel outperforms even the most popular streamers like Ibai, and some songs were sung by Hollywood actors like Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.
Yes, as he presciently said in 1980 theone hit wonder of The Buggles, video killed the radio stars the same could be said with the growth of the Internet and the recording industry. In the United States, in 1999, music CDs generated revenues of US$ 18,000 million, maximum sales for that entire decade, and seemed to predict a more than promising future for record companies.
But only a few were able to glimpse the change that that year, with the arrival of Napster, an audio streaming service with P2P technology, was going to mean to change the world paradigm. Users could exchange audio at no cost.
As dramatized in the movie Social Network, Napster and its founder, Sean Parker, lost a court battle in 2002 when they were taken to the Supreme Court for violating copyright licenses. But they won the battle in the long run, because they opened the floodgates of what music would mean in the world of virtuality.
By that same time, CD sales had dropped $5 million. When, a year later, paid services such as iTunes and platforms to watch free videos, such as YouTube, were added, the beginning of the end began for the reign of compact discs.
Accompanied by programs such as Ares or BitTorrent, which allow the illegal downloading of entire discographies with just a few clicks, record sales began to decline in each release.
If you can’t beat them…
In 2011, with the launch of Spotify, CD sales generated revenues of less than US$3 billion. In this context, Roberto Kuky Pumar, the Argentine who had founded Leader Music in 1982, the record company that had released artists such as Rfaga, Yerba Brava, Gilda and Ricky Maravilla, was able to understand the change in the spirit of the times.
As it happens with movies: it is not that streaming (reproduced by illegal means or not) has better quality than the physical format. Just as Blu Ray discs are still the best option to enjoy a movie outside the cinema, compact discs (not to mention vinyl discs, which are still superior) sounded better than any musical theme in MP3 format, played in YouTube or wherever.
Teenagers were the first to get into the networks, mainly to download music, Pumar says in an interview. But, as he makes clear, the music business couldn’t monetize the millions of online downloads or YouTube views. As a visionary, he was one of the few in his industry who realized that the digital world that affected his business, who had been the leader of the Argentine recording market for more than 30 years, was not the enemy he wanted. destroy.
In 2011, Pumar decided to create the YouTube channel known as El Reino Infantil. With computer animation, the farm animals dance to different rhythms that accompany the changes of the times. Cumbia, quartet, pop, disco, techno, there is no genre that is not a success when it is tackled by the little animals of Zenn.
El Gallo y la Pata, sung by Ricky Maravilla, has more than 1,600 million views, followed by another of the oldest on the channel, La Vaca Lola, which exceeds 1,400 million views.
The first videos of El Reino Infantil opted for more classic songs for the little ones, such as the Manuelita turtle by María Elena Walsh. Although the reproductions are considerable (more than 10 million some of the most popular), their numbers are far from those achieved by the other songs.
With more than 50 million subscribers, El Reino Infantil generated revenue beyond the video platform. The boys like to consume everything, not only watch videos on the networks, but also have storybooks to paint, have towels, or collectibles with the characters, says Pumar, in a presentation for the landing of his characters in theaters Europeans.
The reflection of Pumar, who does not stop seeing his animated empire grow, is not very far from that of Walt Disney when he discovered, in 1927, that releasing an animated feature film did not mean only the sale of movie tickets for a family group, or that of George Lucas when he decided to keep the rights for the sale of the Star Wars toys, in 1977.
In all three cases, the audiovisual world was not an end in itself but rather a means to reach other markets.
The multiplier effect of the smallest
We are convinced that the Internet is the ocean where one wants to consume is there. Instead, on Netflix or any television channel, that is segmented or curated by an art director who decides what is going to be programmed. It seems very democratic to me that digital natives dedicate themselves to viewing content on the Internet, where they have millions of options for millions of tastes. That, I think, is diversity. It does not decide a streaming programmer or movie theaters. The new generations decide, and our commitment is to educate them, to give limits to these digital forms, says the creator of Bartolito.
Most of its audience is made up of children from 1 to 5 years old, whose first approach to the digital world is given by the songs of the animated farm. From there, it is understood that his vision expanded further, even to the adults who accompany the cultural consumption of the boys.
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The virtual conquest also reached traditional television, with cable channels that program the songs that are also available on the Internet. A successful example of symbiosis that proves that different media can do more than coexist.