The Zig & Sharko channel by Xilam Animation has received the Diamond Play Button awarded by YouTube. With more than 10 million subscribers, it is the first French animation channel to be honored by the platform. We talk to Morgann Favennec about this French success.

The Interview

TV France: Zig & Sharko by Xilam Animation is the first French animation channel to receive the prestigious Diamond Play Button. This is wonderful recognition of a fantastic animation program. How do you explain its success?  

Morgann Favennec: The prize is indeed an amazing reward for the Xilam digital team: 10 million subscribers, 6 billion views, it’s extraordinary! Our success can be explained by a few different things. Zig & Sharko is a comic cartoon without any dialog, watched all over the world, on broadcast television and on platforms. It is already quite famous, and its truly entertaining seven-minute format is ideal for digital viewing. It’s important to note that these exceptional viewing figures cannot be attributed to France – the main consumers are in India, Brazil and the USA!

TV France: It’s also recognition forfive years of presence and work on YouTube.

Morgann Favennec: Absolutely. It is the result of a very innovative strategy as the Zig & Sharko channel was launched in 2015, following hot on the heels of its “big sister” Oggy & the Cockroaches. At the time, nobody was really interested in the advertising-based video-on-demand (AVOD) rights, and Xilam was lucky enough to have several seasons all ready. That was the ideal amount to arrive on the market with a rapid programming schedule. It’s also important to remember that the series features no dialog and is known internationally. We couldn’t have hoped for better circumstances – the stars really aligned!

We now manage more than 40 YouTube channels with a total of nearly 40 million subscribers. One of the latest gems to join our catalog is Chicky, which gets 100 million views per month all on its own!

TV France: In early2020, YouTube’s advertising policy changed. What are the consequences for your digital activity?

Morgann Favennec: That’s where we’re hit hard… our YouTube revenues are now heartbreaking! We have never had as much traffic on our channels (+70% in video views in 2020 compared to 2019) while revenues have shrunk dramatically.  

Until last year, we retained exclusive management of our AVOD rights. However, because of this loss of revenues, we have decided to open up to other partnerships (Rakuten, Tubi, Moonbug, etc.) to diversify our portfolio and compensate for our losses.

TV France: And the new year brings new projects…

Morgann Favennec: Definitely. While we continue to add content to existing channels and create new ones, we are also producing new content that is 100% intended for digital viewing. Under the leadership of Charles Courcier, we have launched season 2 of Chicky, a new series called Boon & Pimento, and we are working on a Zig & Sharko spin-off. Our next goals are to reach 50 million subscribers and get the Ruby Play Button.

Zig & Sharko