KidStar, a Seattle-based interactive media network, recently announced partnerships with five new world-wide investors each with a strategic tie to KidStar. They are Bandai America Inc., NTT America Inc. (a subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone), CSK Venture Capital (an affiliate of CSK Corporation), Benesse Corporation (Japan’s largest publisher of educational materials), and Vulcan Ventures (a Washington-based venture capital group).
KidStar, run by Jodell Seagrave, began as a vehicle for targetting children under 12 via major market radio stations. It has since grown into KidStar Interactive Media and now includes two 24-hour AM radio stations (on KKDZ/1250 in Seattle and KDFC/1220 in San Francisco), as well as a supporting magazine, an interactive telephone system and an on-line area on the Microsoft Network. The San Francisco station debut in October 1995 was the start of KidStar’s planned expansion into the top 10 U.S. markets by the third quarter of 1996. Advertising sponsors include Nickelodeon, Nike, the Gap, Microsoft and Nestle USA.
KidStar’s also works at keeping its audience involvement high with regular contests offering some spectacular prizes. The latest effort is a collaboration between KidStar and Klasky/Csupo with its animated series Santo Bugito. Kids invent their own bug character, animators at Klasy/Csupo choose a winning insect and the kid-artist is flown down to the studios to watch his or her creation come to life.