Is there strength in numbers? Kidflix.com certainly hopes there is. The recently launched on-line video store, which is hailing itself as the first site dedicated to the family genre, has inked a marketing agreement with retail chain West Coast Video’s parent company West Coast Entertainment. Under the terms of the deal, West Coast Video will promote Kidflix in its 500-plus stores through in-store signage and by maintaining a section that highlights KidFlix’s lists of top-ten family titles. Additionally, @moviebuff.com-WCV’s own on-line video store, scheduled to begin operations on the Web this week-will feature a Kidflix.com subsection, allowing users to go directly to the KF site. In return, Kidflix.com will keep a store locator on its site, pointing consumers to the closest West Coast Video store in their neighborhoods. KF will also make its database of articles, reviews and essays on family entertainment available to WCV to post on @moviebuff.com.
The exposure it receives from the partnership will further enhance KF’s position as the leading provider of family videos on the Internet, says Jonathon Kaplan, CEO of MovieStreet, parent company of KidFlix.
‘If you want to get a video for your kid, you can go to Blockbuster or Wal-Mart. But when you go to one of these places and you ask the 15-year-old behind the counter what’s the best video for your child, you’re not going to get the right answer. When you go to KidFlix.com and ask our editors the same question, you’re going to get the answer you want. We have the best guidance and the best selection,’ says Kaplan.
KidFlix.com boasts a start-up inventory of 50,000 titles, and is selling most of its videos with a markup 20% below the suggested retail price. It is also licensed to use all the editorial from tomes such as Mary Turck’s A Parent’s Guide to the Best Children’s Videos and Where to Find Them and Catherine Cella’s Great Videos: A Parent’s Guide to Choosing the Best. Cella has also signed on to write twice-weekly columns for the site. Other strategic relationships include prominent placement on search engine/portal HotBot, and a deal to donate videos to the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a U.S.-based charity that provides free entertainment for hospitalized children.
Consumers expecting heavily discounted prices on new family releases, like Reel.com selling Titanic as a loss leader for US$9.99 last summer, however, will have to look elsewhere.
‘We feel the editorial aspect and our wide selection will be enough to bring people to our site,’ says Kaplan.
One possible cross-promotion would see the company give away vouchers good for one free rental at participating WCV stores for every five videos purchased from KidFlix.com.
With the @moviebuff.com site also selling some family titles, though, the potential that the two companies will be competing for the same customer becomes a real possibility.
‘We agree there will be some crossover conflict,’ says Steve Apple, VP of corporate communications at West Coast Entertainment, ‘but we will address those problems as we go along.’ Initially, Apple says, WCV’s site will be targeting the cinema buff, not families. Both companies have entered into an affiliate program, in which they’ve agreed to pay each other a percentage of sales for each referral that results in a transaction.