19 May 2017

It’s Like, Totally Awesome, Dude!

Kids’ content gets delivered from evil
By Lunita S V Mendoza

A few months off the back of leading kids digital platform, TotallyAwesome, raising $2 million from UK Investor Nigel Wray to support its rapid growth to accelerate safe digital advertising and content for kids and families in Asia Pacific, the largest kid-safe advertising and content platform announced its CreationHub and ‘Kidfluencer’ Network. In partnership with the best creators, kids’ influencers and production houses, the company gives brands a way to entertain and engage kids with safe and COPPA-compliant content.

This comes just in time as short-form digital content creeps into the lives of APAC kids in a big way. 

The latest TotallyAwesome research on APAC kids’ digital behaviour shows that short-form digital content, such as online videos and short cartoons, now rivals long-form content in the battle for kids’ attention. 2016—2017 saw increased numbers of kids watching clips online - the percentage has grown from 61% to 65% in a year.

Fascinated by the move into APAC, iNSiGHTS chatted with ‎Quan Nguyen, CEO at TotallyAwesome & General Partner at Inspire Ventures on what makes this new platform totally awesome.

Quan Nguyen

iNSiGHTS: There is stress on “safe” in the push for TotallyAwesome. Can you elaborate on the importance of this operative word?

Quan: TotallyAwesome is all about "kid-safe and compliant" digital advertising and content. This is what makes us unique. It’s important that kids’ privacy and safety are protected online. Our technology is built in-house to be fully compliant to COPPA, in the USA and GDPR in EU to assure kids' data privacy is protected to the highest regulations. 

It’s also important that the content they enjoy and have access to be appropriate and safe. You've seen recently in the news how kids are able to find inappropriate fake versions of Pepper Pig on YouTube. It’s important that kids only access apps and websites that are curated just for them. 

iNSiGHTS: Can you expound on what it took to attain this funding and what is expected from this investment? 

Quan: A pioneer for kids-safe advertising and content in APAC, it’s a clear niche in a growing segment globally and currently has little competition. Our experienced management team has been able to quickly grow our footprint in ASEAN and Australia in a short amount of time and monetize early. We'll of course be expected to continue this momentum. Simply put, a great product and roadmap, a strong business plan, an experienced team and good traction.

iNSiGHTS: How is this different from the other fintech VC investments within the M&E industry? 

Quan: There are many types of investors and each investor will put focus on different things. A VC or financial investor would likely go deep into the financials and model the business to fully understand the many possible outcomes and returns they'll get. I'm sure ours was a combination of all, especially with how early stage our company is.

iNSiGHTS: How will TotallyAwesome affect current offerings? It’s an aggregator, but will content be exclusive? Original? What will TotallyAwesome’s strategy be going forward?  

Quan: Everything TotallyAwesome does and will continue to do will be around building a safe and compliant platform for kids advertising and content. We will be launching PopJam in ASEAN and Australia soon. Content creators have an opportunity to distribute their content on this kid-safe social content platform. Content will not be expected to be exclusive at this pioneering stage. Down the road, we'll have more exciting announcements on how PopJam will grow in the region.

iNSiGHTS: Can you provide a case of why such safety is so important?

Quan: Safe content has been a massive issue and recently very prevalent in the news. Kids are going onto adult sites like YouTube and Facebook, where content is not curated and coming across inappropriate versions of content. It’s not just about creating safe content, but also about the platforms kids are viewing them on. 

iNSiGHTS: Asian behaviour is different in various ways. Is TotallyAwesome progressive across devices?

Quan: From a device stand point, PopJam is a mobile app that is available on Android and iOS. In terms of behaviour in Asia, it’s very diverse for sure. We have many cultures, language and political and economic differences in the region to consider, including different regulations in each country, most still evolving when it comes to kid-safe and compliance. TotallyAwesome is very progressive and you can say even early to Asia when it comes to this as we'll stick to international standards that are expected by brands, businesses and audiences. 

iNSiGHTS: What would be the biggest difference in terms of behaviour, preference and mind-set of kids in Europe/US and Asia? 

Quan: In the recent research we did for ASEAN kids digital consumption (TotallyAwesome research APAC 2016—2017), we came up with a few great East and West comparisons.  

For example, parents in APAC who are co-viewing are higher than in the USA:

Behind the Scenes

The technology behind TotallyAwesome was developed specifically for the needs and requirements of the under-13 industry to ensure that all brand engagement follows global kid-safe advertising guidelines and kids’ privacy laws, including COPPA and GDPR.

Over the last year, TotallyAwesome has built a hub of kids’ influencers, content producers and production houses to work alongside their existing ad experts, to provide a complete digital media solution for kids’ brands in APAC. CreationHub services vary from advertising, branded and sponsored content and kids’ influencers, to the creation of full digital series that build an emotional connection with kids.  

After identifying the right creators and production houses to work with, CreationHub’s team runs KidAware training and certification for all its partners to ensure that every piece of content they create takes into account the under-13 industry’s regulations and guidelines.

The creation process goes through a number of expert reviews to make sure that all content is appropriate and suitable for kids and distributed to the most effective digital destinations for this audience. Every approved campaign is given a SAFE AD watermark as an industry guarantee that it complies to kids’ industry standards.

Well, this certainly allows parents to sleep better at night… right?

For any inquiries, including partnerships, email

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