Dr Seuss catalogues and Clangers audio adventures are landing on the Tonies platform

Still fresh from its latest portfolio extension with Disney earlier this week, the children’s audio storytelling platform, Tonies, is continuing to roll out the classics, having welcomed the popular works of Dr Seuss as well as the British preschool sensation Clangers to its content library.

In a new partnership with Dr Seuss Enterprises, Tonies is introducing a series of five bundles showcasing the most beloved Seuss characters and stories, kicking off with The Cat in the Hat in early 2022. The deal arrives as Dr Seuss Enterprises details a new major focus on building more audio-first experiences for children.

In time for its 65th anniversary, The Cat in the Hat will be the first Dr Seuss Tonie to debut, and will feature original audio productions of some of the most iconic characters and stories, including The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, and There’s a Wocket in My Pocket.

Further titles will be unveiled in the coming months.

Susan Brandt, president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said: “Audio continues to be on the rise as parents look for new ways to entertain their kids beyond screen time, whether its audiobooks or podcasts, or something as innovative as tonies.

“The tonies team has created an experience that is verbal, tactile and inspirational for kids’ imaginations. As our team continues to bring our properties further into the world of audio, we see tonies as a cornerstone partnership.”

Christoph Frehsee, president of Tonies USA, added: “The Dr. Seuss library is filled with timeless and universally loved stories that appeal to imaginations of so many youngsters. Beginning with The Cat in the Hatwe are looking forward to bringing this whimsical world of characters to the Tonies universe in 2022 and beyond.”

But the new additions to the Tonies platform don’t end there. The system has also welcomed the popular preschool property, Clangers, to the portfolio. Narrated by Sir Michael Palin, the new Clangers Tonie figurine can be placed on top of the Toniebox to take listeners to the unique and imaginary world on the little blue planet, somewhere out in space.

Billed by the company as ‘a great introduction to the CBeebies TV show for little ones’, the new Tonie plays six adventures that take children on an exploration of the Clangers’ planet under the stars, where they will be joined by Small, Tiny, Mother, Major and Granny Clanger.

As well as encouraging independence, the stories told by the new Clangers Tonie will inspire conversations and the development of emotional bonds with parents.

Jeremy Banks, CEO of Coolabi Group, rights holders to the Clangers IP, said: “We are absolutely over the moon to be announcing this new partnership and the Clangers Tonie release. The partnership celebrates all the fantastic music and sounds that make Clangers so magical and unique.”

Pinky Laing, UK partnerships at Tonies, added: “Tonies is committed to helping children through the power and magic of storytelling. We are delighted to be working with Coolabi Group to release our new the Clangers audio Tonie for families.

“Telling the nostalgic, loveable and iconic tales of the pink, knitted creatures that live together on a little blue planet, we hope that the new Tonie will develop bonds amongst parents and their little ones.

“Fostering a love of narrative and adventure, the launch of our new Tonie continues our commitment to engage the next generation by introducing them to beloved classic stories, such as The Clangers.”

But hold on a minute. The thing about Tonie figurines is – they’re like buses. And indeed there is a whole trail of new releases for the month of August, including the new How to Train Your Dragon Tonie boasting 35 minutes of adventure with the young dragon trainer Hiccup and his loyal dragon Toothless, as well as Trolls, following the adventures of Poppy, Branch, and the residents of Troll Village, and Super Wings – a full 72 minutes of quests with Jett as the plane sets off to deliver packages to children around the world.

Kids’ audio platform Yoto raises $17m funding to fuel European and North American growth

The kids’ audio platform, Yoto – the London-based team behind the award-winning Yoto Player – has raised $17 million in a Series A funding to help facilitate its rapid growth across Europe and North America.

The investment was led by Acton Capital with participation from JamJar Investments, Global Founders Capital, Emerge Education, as well as MPL Ventures.

Controlled using physical cards to play children’s audio content, Yoto Player has been developed to give children full control over their listening with access to entertaining audio – spanning stories and music – designed to encourage learning and imaginative play.

Since launching the new Yoto Player in early 2020, the firm has experienced explosive growth, securing partnerships and content deals with trusted household names such as LEGO and Disney as well as licenses with Penguin Random House, Sony Music, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan and more.

Yoto’s extensive and expanding content library features some of the world’s greatest children’s content including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Gruffalo, The Snowman, and Planet Omar with LEGO Duplo, Frozen, Finding Nemo and many more household names to be released in the coming months.

“In times where kids are growing-up on screens, one of the most important skills they need is to be able to use technology consciously and with balance. Yoto’s proprietary audio platform puts children in full control of how and when they consume audio content,” said Fritz Oidtmann, managing partner at Acton Capital.

“What further convinced us to invest was Yoto’s unique approach to combining native content with carefully curated partnerships. We are very happy to support the team’s vision to make Yoto’s high-quality, kid-centered content available worldwide.”

Richard Reed, JamJar Investments and Innocent Drinks co-founder, said: As a dad of three, I know from first-hand experience what a lifesaver Yoto is – it fires up your kids’ imagination and creativity, so they play independently and safely.

“As an investor, Yoto is everything you could be looking for – a new entertainment format for kids that has limitless potential, loved by its buyers and adored by its users, led by a whip smart, mission-focused team.”

In an effort to offer audio that will inspire the next generation of independent creative minds, Yoto is also investing in content that promotes mindfulness, meditation and sleep. Recently, Yoto launched a series of sleep content cards with Lifescore & Abbey Road Studios.

Leading the industry in audio that inspires children to take creative play into their own hands, Yoto also offers music, audio-based activities, podcasts, radio and sound effects.

In addition, the Yoto Player has a ‘Make Your Own’ function enabling users to link to their favourite radio stations or podcasts and record their very own stories.

“We designed Yoto around our own kids and we’ve seen how amazing it is to give kids control of their own listening. I’ve seen how this really does help with creativity and imagination compared to screen-time and the research backs that up,” said Ben Drury, CEO and co-founder of Yoto.

“I’m thrilled with how far we’ve come and the amount of families we’re getting amazing feedback from, and this new investment from some of the best funds in the UK and Europe that share our vision allows us to continue to fuel the curiosity of this generation of young learners through audio.”