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ChuChu TV, the company responsible for some of the most widely viewed toddler content on YouTube, has a suitably cute origin story. Vinoth Chandar, the CEO, had always played around on YouTube, making Dating montgomery ward logos pathos ethos triangle devotionals and little videos of his father, a well-known Indian music producer.
To hear more feature stories, see our full list or get the Audm iPhone app. Chu Chu loved it. In a few weeks, it hadviews. After posting just two videos, he had 5, subscribers to his channel. They hired a few animators and started putting out a video a month. With all its decades of episodes, well-known characters, and worldwide brand recognition, Sesame Street has more than 5 billion views on YouTube.
According to ChuChu, its two largest markets are the United States and India, which together generate about one-third of its views. But each month, tens of millions of views also pour in from the U. Roughly 20 million times a day, a caretaker somewhere on Earth fires canada dating sim full extra scene in fantastical beasts movie YouTube and plays a ChuChu video.
Nursery rhymes become music videos, complete with Indian dances and iconography. Kids of all skin tones and hair types ontario with an Indian accent. The algorithm thing is a complete myth. ChuChu does not employ the weird short dating bio examples titles used by lower-rent YouTube channels. Its theory of media is that new york dating clothes stuff wins, which is why its videos have won.
ChuChu says it adds roughly 40, subscribers a day. They are exuberant, cheap, weird, and multicultural. My youngest, who is 2, can rarely sustain her attention to watch the Netflix shows we put on for my 5-year-old son. What was this stuff? Why did it have the effect it did? In the airport I hit a button on my phone, and soon a white sedan pulled up outside. My driver was a student christian teen dating podcast for men had come to Chennai to break into Tollywood.
The driver dropped me off just south of the center of the city, in an area of new high-rises that overlook Srinivasapuram, a fishing village on dating an egyptian girls and ladies quotes Bay of Bengal.
The village hangs on to the edge of dating apps like pof city, which has been modernizing fast; the government has been trying to relocate the village for years.
From my hotel, I watched tiny figures wander over to the Adyar River estuary and squat, staring up at the opulence of the new Chennai. ChuChu says it employs about people. Chandar met best dating app profile tips and led me into a massive conference room. He sent a young man to get me a coffee, and dating we sat down together with his friend B.
It was after Krishnan joined the creative team, Chandar told me, that ChuChu really began to sites global popularity. What if Jack and Jill, after falling down while fetching the pail of water, get back up, learn from the resilience of birds and ants, actually get men seeking women san francisco ca damn pail of water, and give it to their mom?
After Krishnan rewrote a nursery rhyme, Chandar would then take ontario lyrics and compose music around them. The dating cafe gentool company profile are simple, but if you hear them once, you will hear them for the rest of your life.
Krishnan would storyboard the videos, imagining the sequence of shots, as befitting his youthful dream of becoming a movie director. ChuChu productions are essentially music videos for kids, sometimes featuring Tollywood dance moves that Chandar and Krishnan demonstrate for the animators. They were just making videos for fun. As time went on and the staff expanded, the company created a teaching series, called Learning English Is Fun, and worked with a preschool company to develop an app, ChuChu School, that has an explicitly didactic purpose.
But generally speaking, Chandar and Krishnan just wanted their videos to be wholesome—to deliver entertainment that perhaps provided kids with a dose of moral instruction. Krishnan had no experience other than his own parenting. For example, when he taught his kids left from right, he liked to do it in the car, when they were in the back seat.
That way, if he pointed left, it was left for them, too. So when ChuChu made a video teaching the left-right concept, it made sure to always show the characters from behind, not mirrored, so that when a character pointed left, the kids watching would understand. As it became clear that ChuChu videos were being watched by millions of people on six continents, Krishnan and Chandar started branching out into original songs and nursery rhymes, which Krishnan has been writing for the past couple of years.
With 1. In it, a small boy wakes up in the middle of the night and sneaks to the kitchen. To an adult, the appeal of ChuChu videos is not totally obvious. On the one hand, the songs are catchy, the colors are bright, and the characters are cute. On the other, the animation is two-dimensional and kind of choppy, a throwback to the era before Pixar. And there is a lot of movement; sometimes every pixel of the screen seems to be in motion.
Krishnan and Chandar believe that any given shot needs to include many different things a child could notice: A bird flying in the background. Something wiggling. The men know this with quantitative precision. If a video achieves a 60 percent average completion rate, ChuChu knows it has a hit. But what people want changes. ChuChu learns many lessons from parents, who provide the company with constant feedback. It heard from parents who questioned the diversity of its characters, who were all light-skinned; it now has two light-skinned and two dark-skinned main characters.
It heard from parents who wondered about the toy guns in one video; it removed them. ChuChu is largely making things up as it goes, responding—as any young company would—to what its consumers want. Part of the absurdity of the internet is that these questions get asked only after something metastasizes and spreads across the world. It created an unprecedented thing— Sesame Street —with help from a bevy of education experts and Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets.
The cast was integrated. The setting was urban. The show was ultimately broadcast on public television across America, defining a multicultural ideal at a time of racial strife. The s and s saw the growth of cable TV channels targeted at children. With the rise of ubiquitous merchandising deals and niche content, powerful American media companies such as Disney, Turner, and Viacom figured out how to make money off young kids.
Since then, however, little kids have watched less and less television; as of last spring, ratings in were down a full 20 percent from just last year. As analysts like to put it, the industry is in free fall. The cause is obvious: More and more kids are watching videos online. This might not exactly seem like a tragedy. After all, Americans watch a lot of TV. By the time Nielsen began recording how much time Americans spent in front of TV screens in —50, each household was already averaging four hours and 35 minutes a day.
That number kept going up, passing six hours in —71, seven hours in —84, all the way up to eight hours in — Viewing finally peaked at eight hours and 55 minutes in — Considered purely as a medium, television seems to have little to recommend it over YouTube.
The institutions of the 20th century shaped television into a tool for learning. At first, pretty much everybody agrees, television for kids was bad—dumb cartoons, cowboy shows, locally produced slop. Their shallowness of thought and feeling is markedly apparent, and they display a lack of cooperation and inability to finish a task.
But not much happened, and the government and TV networks generally settled into a cycle that has been described by the media scholar Keisha Hoerrner. Absent substantive oversight by regulators, in the late s the calls for change entered a new, more creative phase.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was formed in with government dollars. These shows were tremendously successful in creating genuinely educational television.
Another study found that regular adult TV stunted vocabulary development, while high-quality educational programs accelerated language acquisition. The most fascinating study began in the s, when a University of Massachusetts at Amherst team installed video cameras in more than homes, and had those families and hundreds of others keep a written log of their media diet. The team was unequivocal about the meaning of these results: What kids watched was much more important than how much of it they watched.
S o what message are very young kids receiving from the most popular YouTube videos today? And how are those children being shaped by the videos? A crowd waves its hands in the foreground.
Lights flash and stars spin in the background. Johnson told me all that movement risks distracting kids from any educational work the videos might do. For kids to have the best chance of learning from a video, Johnson told me, it must unfold slowly, the way a book does when it is read to a child. Children under 2 struggle to translate the world of the screen to the one they see around them, with all its complexity and three-dimensionality.
Most important for kids under 2 is rich interaction with humans and their actual environments. Older toddlers are the ones who can get something truly educational from videos, as opposed to just entertainment and the killing of time. If kids watch a lot of fast-paced videos, they come to expect that that is how videos should work, which could make other educational videos less compelling and effective.
ChuChu has changed over time—it has slowed the pacing of its videos, focused on the key elements of scenes, and made more explicitly educational videos. But in the wilds of YouTube, the videos with the most views, not the most educational value, are the ones that rise to the top. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is almost precisely the problem that the rest of the media world finds itself in.
Because quality is hard to measure, the numbers that exist are the ones that describe attention, not effect: views, watch time, completion rate, subscribers. YouTube uses those metrics, ostensibly objectively, when it recommends videos.
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