Max & Moon, Out of this Word, nxTOONS

Feature

New channel kicks off Taiwan's Next Animation Studio kids originals strategy

Taiwanese animation house Next Animation Studio (NAS) launches its nxTOONS channel this Friday (30 June), moving into original digital edu-tainment content for kids for the first time. 

The debut original series for the YouTube channel is Out of this Word, which follows two characters – adopted siblings Max the cat and Moon the rabbit – as they explore the meaning of commonly used words and idioms such as “sleep tight” and “big wig”. 

Out of this Word season one consists of 52 one-minute episodes. Three will be uploaded to launch the channel. This will be followed by two new episodes a week. 

The series is being produced using NAS’s news animation pipeline, which can create one episode every two days. Max is voiced by Nathan Sung and Moon is voiced by Sonia Fan, both out of Taiwan. The channel will be advertising supported. 

Additional shows are in development, along with a series of social media stickers to test characters ahead of new show roll-outs. 

Driving expansion into kids content takes the studio to where young audiences are consuming content and adds an educational, long-tail element with timeless content to NAS’s business, says chief executive, Indra Suharjono. 

nxTOONS launch coincides with the arrival of veteran kids creative exec, Matthew Duntemann, who was most recently senior vice president/creative director of Nickelodeon brand design based in New York.  

Duntemann relocated to Taipei this month to become NAS’s chief creative officer, reporting to Suharjono.

Part of Star TV’s original creative team in the 1990s, Duntemann returns to direct and develop the nxTOONS platform, as well as oversee the development of NAS’s four-year-old online news initiative, TOMONEWS creative and other projects for the Taipei-based studio.  

The studio currently operates 25 TOMONEWS channels in five active languages (English, Japanese, Indonesian, Thai and Korean). These include the one-year-old Indonesian channel and the U.S. service, which has 1.74 million YouTube subscribers. 

Suharjono is determined to ramp up original content creation rather than prioritise OEM projects. 

The focus is on “creating value through our own IP,” she says. 

“The beauty of the digital platform is that we can create and operate our own channel and work with YouTube to grow and interact directly with our audience and respond to their demands quickly,” she adds. 

NAS’s ultimate goal is to be able to produce 500 episodes of animated shorts a year targetting kids. NAS also has its first manga series, Karen Senki, in production with a target release date at end 2018.