Radio Disney, as part of shifting from primarily a terrestrial-radio service to a digital outlet, will develop music and entertainment video series aimed at tween and teen girls in a deal with startup Sweety High.
Under the terms of the two-year pact, the companies will co-produce and distribute shows across Sweety High and Radio Disney platforms, as well as work together to integrate talent into audio and video content and jointly pursue marketing and sales deals. Program episodes will be distributed on SweetyHigh.com and its Sweetivity app, and on RadioDisney.com and Radio Disney apps.
The deal will let Radio Disney — which already produces some original video in-house — expand content aimed at its large user base of young girls, a demo that meshes with Sweety High’s target audience of femmes 10 to 16.
The goal is to produce up to 100 episodes per year with Radio Disney, said Sweety High CEO Frank Simonetti, starting with two initial series. The startup, founded in 2009, has produced 500 original episodes aimed at young girls to date.
“It’s a good fit because Radio Disney wants to do something special for this audience,” Simonetti said. “We’re going to try and do higher-end programming than anyone else for this demo.”
The first two planned series are: “Sweet Beat TV/Radio Disney Insider,” pairing talent from Sweety High’s existing “Sweet Beat TV” show with Radio Disney celebrity interviews; and “Revealed/Next Big Thing” (pictured above), billed as providing a behind-the-scenes look at rising young artists. The first season of “Revealed” is slated to feature pop singer Becky G — who signed a record deal with RCA after posting music videos to YouTube — among other performers and DJs.
The deal comes after Radio Disney last year announced that it would sell 23 of its 24 radio stations, with the exception of KDIS-AM in L.A., to focus efforts on digital distribution and content.
Teaming with Sweety High “really speaks to our ongoing efforts to build out our digital reach and really target the audience that has an insatiable appetite for music, artists and entertainment,” said Phil Guerini, VP of programming and G.M. at Radio Disney. “Their focus for supporting and developing content that targets that girl audience is very well aligned with our vision.”
Sweety High manages Sweet Suspense, a girl band that competed on “The X Factor,” which has been on Radio Disney. That’s how the two parties first started to work together, Simonetti said.
As for how the new video series will be monetized, that’s still to be determined, Guerini said. The companies expect to look at both advertising and branded content.
Privately funded Sweety High has 30 employees based in Marina del Rey. It reaches about 1.5 million girls monthly across its website and on social-media channels, according to Simonetti. The Radio Disney pact will give the company access to significant resources, he said: “We’re a speedboat to their ocean liner.”
The deal isn’t exclusive. Radio Disney develops content with other digital-media companies, including AwesomenessTV, and is “constantly looking for partners,” Guerini said. Down the road, Radio Disney is looking to co-develop video with Maker Studios, the multichannel network Disney acquired last year.
Radio Disney’s digital outlets include RadioDisney.com and iOS and Android apps; Sirius XM; iBiquity HD Radio; Slacker; TuneIn; and Apple’s iTunes Radio. It also has a YouTube channel with about 360,000 followers.