Before launching ZooMoo in 2012, David lived in LA and was the president and COO of Fox Networks Group where he was responsible for Fox, National Geographic and all other global NewsCorp-owned channels around the world.
Through his work, he developed a phenomenal global network and many of his former colleagues share his passion for animal and nature conservation. He’s also the chairman of WildAid, a non-proﬁt that uses TV to raise awareness around products made from endangered animal species.
He’s asked me to meet him at Sean’s Panorama Restaurant overlooking North Bondi Beach and after we find that perfect ocean-view table in the shade, I start off by asking him what motivated him to set up an animal edutainment channel.
“I’ve always felt that people who have had exposure to animals and nature while growing up have a better shot at being empathetic and understanding our relationship with nature,” says David, adding that growing up on farm played a big role in his own love of animals and of the outdoors.
“Recent early learning scholarship has underscored this connection. It also shows that kids have an innate affection for animals and nature when they are young, but lose it unless they have adequate exposure to either animals or nature, or both.”
“So what makes ZooMoo different from other kids’ learning channels though?”
“There are several things that set us miles apart from any other channel,” says David.
“First of all we are the only destination where it’s animals all the time – 24 hours a day.
“Second, all our content is entirely original, created by ZooMoo for ZooMoo viewers. Many of the original shows are built around the world’s best natural history footage from the BBC, National Geographic, and NHNZ libraries. And finally, the ZooMoo channel was developed completely in tandem with the ZooMoo App, which listens to, grows, expands and feeds off the content from the TV channel.”
“It sounds pretty cool,” I say. “But why introduce kids to the animal world through television? Why not take them out to see the real thing?”
“My work with groups like WildAid has shown me that media can be a very powerful force in learning and conservation,” says David. “And the explosion of the availability of multi-channel TV around globe in the last 20 years means people now have access to places and animals from around the world that they have never seen before. TV can now reach people all over the world – from the favelas of Rio to the cobbled streets of Kyoto. What’s more, the spread of smart phones and other internet-connected devices is transforming how we watch. While TV viewing has remained a ‘lean back passive’ experience, smart phones and tablets are fully interactive and highly versatile. Here, ZooMoo sets itself apart, as it is the first channel to offer an app that works synchronously with the channel, thus constantly expanding the child’s fascination in a ‘lean in and interact’ experience.
“This means they are more suited to learning experiences I suppose?”
“That’s right. The ZooMoo App uses subsonic sound waves inaudible to the human ear but easily detected by the microphone on a smart phone or tablet. When a child is watching the TV channel and the app is open, an animal flies off the TV screen and into the app. There, you can feed, breed and play with the animals you collect, while also learning facts about each animal’s behaviour and habitat. It is the complete package for parents desperate for educational entertainment for their children in the digital age.”
“Sounds like a relevant and contemporary concept,” I say. “It would be great if you manage to involve kids and their parents in such a way that we all learn to be more careful with nature.”
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