If you have spent much time with children, you probably feel that you cannot escape Paw Patrol, the cartoon about a heroic team of rescue dogs. Well, just FYI, while Paw Patrol toys litter the floor of your home, the show’s creator is driving around Monaco (where he lives) in one of his Aston Martins, like James goddamn Bond.
Bloomberg has a piece on the total cultural dominance of this cartoon that will resonate with anyone who knows the tune that goes with the words, “PAW Patrol! PAW Patrol!” The man responsible for this is Keith Chapman, who also created Bob the Builder. The show itself is huge, spreading to 160 countries and 30 languages. Then there’s all the merch: “There are dozens of Paw Patrol licensing categories, from live theater to fruit snacks to birthday cakes to a theme park debuting this week in the Mall of America,” said Bloomberg. Chapman alone makes millions in royalties, hence the glamorous life in Monaco. Even better, he’s not even personally all that well known, so he can just enjoy his money in peace! Sounds great!
But if you are thinking you will take a simple idea and spend the rest of your living literally rolling around in your royalties, some bad news:
The chances of a hit are already slim. Success in kids TV requires more than just a great idea—you need talented producers, animators, voice artists, writers and directors, as well as retailers committed to putting toys on its shelves. Now the prospect of a mega-hit has become even slimmer because there are so many shows on multiple platforms, like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, diluting preschoolers’ attentions. The ratings for kids TV networks like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel are in steep decline. That means fewer kids to sell toys to—and, with the death of Toys “R” Us, fewer places to sell those toys.
“It’s going to get harder and harder because of all the fragmentation,” said Peter Robinson, head of research at Dubit Ltd., which tracks children’s entertainment habits. “I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing gets to Paw Patrol’s size in the next 10 years.”
Bad news for aspiring creators of children’s cartoons; great news for parents who’d appreciate the occasional break from the same theme song over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.