The partners’ newly formed Átomo Network will actively recruit Spanish-language animators, and will provide the same kind of audience-development and programming services available to creators in the Channel Frederator Network on YouTube. Frederator and Ánima Estudios are together pooling $1 million to launch Átomo.
In addition, Átomo Network will provide translation and dubbing services to select Channel Frederator members, to extend their English-language channels and shows to Spanish-speaking audiences.
“As we’ve grown to be the biggest online animation network in the world, we’ve seen more activity in Spanish-language countries,” said Seibert, a longtime animation exec. “But we couldn’t give those channels – and thousands of other Hispanic animation channels – as much attention as they needed.”
Initial content under the Átomo banner is slated to include original cartoons from Ánima Estudios and localized versions of some Channel Frederator shows, including the “107 Facts” series, “Tooned Up” and “Cartoon Conspiracy.”
The pact comes as Channel Frederator has grown its YouTube network from 1,200 to 2,500 channels over the course of 2015, and boosted monthly views from 120 million to 540 million. Seibert said 150 of those channel partners produce Spanish-language content; they can can opt to migrate to Átomo or remain part of the Channel Frederator Network.
“We see the opportunity with Spanish-language animation is greater than is generally perceived,” said Seibert, who is CEO and sole owner of privately held Frederator Networks.
Ánima Estudios exec Enrique Vazquez has been named g.m. of Átomo Network, which will be based in Mexico City with support from Frederator offices in New York City and Burbank, Calif., and an office in Madrid. Átomo will rely on advertising sold by YouTube before eventually selling its own ads and sponsorships.
Founded in 2002, Ánima Estudios has produced feature films including “Top Cat: The Movie” and animated series such as “El Chavo,” Latin America’s most-watched cartoon. The studio is developing Netflix’s first animated original series for Latin America, “Las Leyendas,” scheduled to premiere globally in 2017.
“After building our reputation in feature films and TV series for almost 15 years, we believe it is a natural progression for us to take a leap into the online animation world,” said Fernando de Fuentes, president and CEO of Ánima Estudios. “We could not ask for a better partner than Frederator to make this happen.”
For Frederator, the move into Spanish-language content is prelude to future international expansion plans. Seibert said the company will likely target Germany next. “We know how big the audience is in Germany based on how our English-language content on YouTube performs in the market,” he said.
Frederator, which has 35 employees, makes cartoons for TV, movies and the Internet. Its productions include Butch Hartman’s “The Fairly OddParents” on Nickelodeon and Pendleton Ward’s “Adventure Time” on Cartoon Network. Frederator also has a pact with Sony Pictures Animation to develop and produce animated feature films. Seibert, former president of Hanna-Barbera, formed the company in 1998.