What does it take to become one of the must-see children’s TV shows on popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV Plus? Cyma Zarghami knows what sticks when making great kids’ content.
Following a 33-year career at Nickelodeon, Zarghami launched MIMO Studios to create the kind of franchises that have been lacking in the kids’ TV space in recent years. SpongeBob SquarePants and Peppa Pig are at least seven to eight years-old, and nothing new has resonated. Zarghami goes on to say that the mandate has changed – today, it’s quantity over quality – there are too many choices and not enough marketing.
At MIMO, Zarghami plans to take properties built on preexisting stories and characters and turn them into a franchise. MIMO projects will be developed as 45-60-minute films or pilots of sorts. If they catch on and attract an audience, the plan is to make more. Zarghami believes this is a cheaper and more efficient way to have more at-bats.
MIMO is a female-run company whose goal is to make content that reflects the world we live in. Everything doesn’t have to be funny anymore. Rather, there is an opportunity to pursue great content that comes from a different set of values and fundamentals. MIMO is putting a higher premium on these core values with upcoming projects Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort, The Pout-Pout Fish and The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian.
“If you think about the Charlie Brown Christmas episode, or the big Paw Patrol TV-sized movies, that’s the way I want to build out franchises. You start from the tail-end and you get to market faster, you learn more about the IP, and you fully develop the story and the characters. You test the waters… I’m just trying to find a more efficient way to have more at-bats.”
“Coming out of COVID-19, one of the things that seems to be emerging are new sets of values with kids. There are different words that seem obvious now but weren’t so obvious in the past—empathy, kindness, resilience, perseverance. Also, kids are fully exposed now to what’s going on in their parents’ lives, because they’ve spent so much time together. I think escapism and feel-good content is going to be a premium moving forward.”