[Startup Interview] Martijn Broersma, Managing Director, BoekenWurm TV
Martijn Broersma is the Managing Director of BoekenWurm TV, an initiative that packages children story telling through video and placing it on a Netflix kind of app.
Please describe BoekenWurm TV?
BoekenWurm TV (in short BW TV) is a brand new initiative, offering storytelling for kids between 6 months and 12 years old, in the form of video content placed on a Netflix kind of app.
The storytelling is based on reading well-known children's books by famous personalities. Cultural inheritance in a new form. One can subscribe to an all you can eat subscription at 4.99 EURO per month, temporarily with 2 months for free during the introduction phase.
Basic and simple, and focusing on both fun and education.
Who owns BoekenWurm TV?
The team driving BoekenWurm TV, is very experienced and has a large track record when it comes to making video content for and with children.
The general idea came from Vincent Dijkema (previously senior creative at several channels and production companies), and the content director is Paula Deppe (among others at least 16 years of experience making SchoolTV).
The technical part (editing, encoding, development of the apps and platforms etc.) is done by MediaChoice, a leading company in this field owned by Ferry Ouwendijk, and by one of the most experienced broadcast technicians in Europe, Pieter Hornix. The overall management is done by Martijn Broersma. All are involved, also as shareholder.
Why did you start BoekenWurm TV?
Reading stories for your child is an essential part in the education. Sadly, in most households it doesn't occur that often anymore. In The Netherlands, only 27% of the parents with young kids read to them frequently, meaning at least once a week.
And if you keep in mind that kids who do read with their parents more than once a week are performing up to 2 times better in school, in general, you quickly understand that there is a large part of a generation growing up right now with a gap they can hardly overcome later in life.
And someday, we leave the society up to them. Providing them now with video content based on popular books written for their age, read by famous personalities, means that every child can now have access to these wonderful stories and fairytales (including some we all grew up with), and gets stimulated while watching to learn and to understand the language, to fantasize, and to start reading themselves.
Watching BoekenWurm TV helps busy parents in not neglecting an essential part of the education of their own children, but most of all helps kids to get in touch with lovely books in a playful and nowadays used method.
Where are you located?
BoekenWurm TV is based in de Oscar Romero studios in Hilversum, the media capital of the Netherlands. This means we have direct access to technically advanced studios and equipment.
How is BoekenWurm TV financed?
Up till now, BoekenWurm TV is financed by its shareholders. There are do depts, loans or other financial obligations. The production and editing of the content (over 220 episodes right now) and the development of the platform meant a huge investment.
We are open for partners to join us, in ways of smart money. Not only bringing cash to the table, but also knowledge or a network that can directly help us to move to the next level.
What distinguishes BoekenWurm TV, from other businesses in the industry?
Besides the experienced team that we work with, we also work together with some of the most recommended publishers in the Netherlands, insuring us to have access to unique content in terms of books.
Also, we have attracted a large and broad range of celebrities to come and read with kids . These professionals are used to have a camera in front of them, and easily know how to deliver a story.
Reading books to children, with or without camera, results in a natural behavior which makes it very interesting to watch. BoekenWurm TV has a cooperation with RTL, and has provided RTL8/Telekids with several episodes, which have been broadcasted during 9 months last year.
The episodes were a huge success, both in terms of eyeballs and valuation. Last but not least, BoekenWurm TV has made its first steps in the world of merchandising/licensing of the brand into physical products.
What is it clients want from you?
Good question, and besides high quality and diversity, our primary focus is on what the children would like to see. This is way we ask children which books they read, to understand their behavior and needs.
Also, we do our very best to get the finest user experience on every device, whether it's a smartphone from a particular brand, or a digibord at school, or a tablet/iPad, latop or smartTV. BoekenWurm TV wants to be everywhere where the kids are and give the best experience.
BoekenWurm TV is aiming for parents of children between 6 months and 12 years old, resulting in 800.000 households in The Netherlands. Which is a large range, but we have developed 4 different formats in order to be and stay spot on per age level.
Besides parents, BoekenWurm TB also focuses on primary schools and school care. Furthermore, we are looking at narrowcasting to provide hotels, holiday parks, shops etc. with a linear channel.
What does BoekenWurm TV need to grow?
BoekenWurm TV has large ambitions, and large ambitions need money to result in achievements. As mentioned, smart money, a partner with dedication, enthusiasm and tools to directly help in achieving our goal; becoming and staying the #1 provider of educational entertainment for kids between 0 and 12 years old. Also in view of our international ambitions.
What are your international ambitions?
The Netherlands is the testing ground of BoekenWurm TV. Our next step is across the border, aiming for Belgium, Germany, UK and the USA.
The road map is rather simple; creating localized content, with content license agreements with localized publishers, translate the app and upload the content, and from there it is all about marketing. We are already talking to several parties to fulfill these aspects in these countries.
Any recent news you would like to share?
2018 is the year of launching Boekenwurm TV as a webapp, smart TV app and native app in The Netherlands. There are already several distribution deals in place, making sure that these varieties are all easy to find for the consumer.
And the customer will notice that our platform will soon become one of the most enhanced platforms known up till now, including features that are not seen anywhere else before. Lots of things to do in 2018!
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