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Until Paw Patrol first aired five years ago, there were only a few TV shows for kids that could rival the popularity of Sesame Street – they included Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer.

But nothing completely dominated the kids’ TV landscape – which gave Ryder and his pups the opportunity to step in and fill the void, as analyst Jim Silver says in this Bloomberg article.

paw patrol on showmax
Image: Nickelodeon

A global phenomenon

Created by Keith Chapman (he’s the guy behind Bob the Builder) in 2011, Paw Patrol is about 10-year-old technological whizz-kid Ryder, who has equipped a group of pups with various skills and the gadgets and vehicles they need to carry out their community service and rescue missions.

It now airs in 160 countries, and has been translated into 30 languages. But it’s not just the royalties from the show that are making Chapman rich.

He also gets a share of the profits from licensing and merchandising – which, in the case of Paw Patrol, are massive. Paw Patrol has become a brand that earned over $7 billion in the retail of its merchandise – from cereal boxes to backpacks, from stationery to clothing to action figures to toothpaste. In the last quarter of last year, a research group found that Paw Patrol took the lion’s share of children’s merchandise sales, even topping Disney’s Frozen and Star Wars.

As evidence of this, there are videos on YouTube of Paw Patrol toys being played with that have racked up literally millions of views, such as this one, on the Genevieve’s Playhouse channel (currently sitting at over 43 million views):

And Paw Patrol is consistently the most-watched kids’ show right here on Showmax.

Magic ingredients

So what makes it so popular? There are a few key factors that differentiate Paw Patrol from rival kids’ shows.

A broad appeal: Unlike other pre-school shows like Peppa Pig or Dora, Paw Patrol has fans that are as old as seven, thanks to its more complex storylines, which tend to appeal to slightly older children.

Attention to detail: Since each pup is a different breed, it was important to the show’s creative team that they captured them as realistically as possible. Marshall the Dalmatian has a very different build to stocky bulldog Rubble, for example.

Puppies: This is an obvious one. Every child wants a puppy. You can’t go wrong.

Fresh storylines: While most of the action takes place in Adventure Bay, the show’s writers come up with different angles to keep things interesting, such as the spy theme that introduced new villains and vehicles.

Appeals to both genders: This one might be up for debate, but one of the core team of pups is a girl, the mayor of Adventure Bay is a woman, and one of the pups on the fringe of the action is a girl as well, which means the show doesn’t only appeal to boys.

The last of its breed

But, for a number of reasons, industry experts predict that the chances of another kids’ show becoming a global phenomenon like Paw Patrol has done are slim, at least for a while. Here’s why.

More than just a great idea: Creating a successful kids’ show goes way beyond coming up with a concept that kids will love. It means putting a huge team together, and getting buy-in from industry players. You need animators, voice artists, producers, writers and directors, and then need to get retailers to commit to putting your toys on the shelves.

So many platforms, so little time: Thanks to streaming services now offering so many different shows on so many different platforms, children’s time and attention are being competed for by a whole lot more players than in the days before SVOD. Which is why the ratings for traditional children’s TV platforms are dropping, and why a new show would have to work extremely hard, and be extremely lucky, to get anywhere close to the size of Paw Patrol.

More binge-watching means less channel hopping: Another way streaming has limited the ability of a new kids’ show to compete with Paw Patrol is that it lets kids watch episode after episode of a show they love, for as long as they like, without ads. This means they’re not exposed to new content and have little incentive to try something new. They’d rather watch the same episode of Paw Patrol again, because they can, than take a chance on a whole new series with a new set of characters.

It’s highly unlikely that another children’s show will come along in the next 10 or so years that will be able to overcome all of these obstacles.

In the meantime, let your children binge on all 52 episodes of Paw Patrol on Showmax.

Start watching now »


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