Henwood has been made a member of the board of the platform called Bin Weevils, which competes against Disney’s Club Penguin and to an extent the BBC’s CBBC website.
He is understood to have invested a “significant sum” in the business in return for an undisclosed stake. The company has investors including Viacom-owned Nickelodeon, which is thought to hold a stake of about 10%.
The company has also today announced three-year video-on-demand deals with Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon to offer members of the Bin Weevils virtual community the chance to watch more than 200 hours of TV shows including SpongeBob SquarePants and Ben 10.
Henwood was behind Channel 4’s involvement in Project Kangaroo until he left in late 2007. He later became chief executive of the video on demand venture, which was shutdown last year after falling foul of competition regulators.
He has been instrumental in introducing subscription content to Bin Weevils. The new video-on-demand content will only be made available to subscribers who pay £4.95 per month, or £2.95 per month if they sign for a year, providing access to a virtual cinema multiplex on an island where users’ avatars can interact while watching shows together.
Parents have to pay for kids who want to sign up to the subscription service. Henwood, who will not say how many subscriptions the website has other than that it is “doing well” since launching in May, refers to the interactive element of the TV deals as “social video on demand”.
“The partnerships … will take Bin Weevils to the next stage of development and differentiate it from its competitors,” said Henwood.
Henwood became an investor when Bin Weevils sought a second round of funding and was joined by Richard Watney, now chief executive, and Miles Johnson.
The company was co-founded by Mike Crosby and Amelia Johnson, who are also behind independent children’s TV production company Prism Entertainment.