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MaMaMedia hits off-line licensing launchpad

In an effort to expand their profit bases, kids Web sites are increasingly turning to off-line licensing programs as a means for boosting revenues. The latest to go this route is three-year-old indie children's site MaMaMedia, which is aiming to license...
July 1, 2000

In an effort to expand their profit bases, kids Web sites are increasingly turning to off-line licensing programs as a means for boosting revenues. The latest to go this route is three-year-old indie children’s site MaMaMedia, which is aiming to license its two brand logos, as well as some characters and games, in its first-ever licensing program.

Ted Green, president and COO, says the decision to do off-line licensing was a logical progression based upon the growth of the site’s audience. (For first quarter 2000, Media Metrix named MaMaMedia the fourth-busiest kids Web site after Nickelodeon.com, Pokémon.com and CartoonNetwork.com.)

Green says MaMaMedia now has the brand name recognition it needs to compete in the off-line licensing world. The main purpose of the licensing program will be to create revenue, with awareness being the second factor, says Pam Fields, executive VP of business development. ‘Clearly, the market demands sell-through at retail, and you have to be prepared to fight the battle in a meaningful way.’

MaMaMedia has been trying to increase its eyeball tally even more this year by doing an off-line television and print ad campaign with the Geppetto Group and by aligning with big promotional partners, including Minute Maid’s Hi-C.

Besides licensing the MaMaMedia logos, the Webco wants to launch licensed products based on roughly 15 of its games and activities including: Dig Sigs, which lets kids combine 5,000 different game pieces with various heads, legs and torsos to create their own wacky characters; and Flipsticks, a subarea of the site that teaches kid surfers the fundamentals of creating animation for the Web. Card Zappers is an electronic card design activity that lends itself to the off-line stationery and greeting card categories, while Stamps and Stomps, which features a set of noisy virtual stamps, seems perfectly suited to rubber stamp kits.

According to Green and Fields, the biggest nibble so far seems to be coming from the book publishing world, with three top kid publishers expressing interest in creating books based on the site. However, Green and Fields anticipate licensing in a range of other categories including apparel, accessories, toys and games, and music. Most of the products will be aimed at the site’s target audience of kids ages five to 12. It’s hoped that the merchandise, aimed at specialty and mid-tier stores, will debut in fall 2001 in North America.

Because different language versions of the site are available on Spanish portal StarMedia and World On-line Kids Portal in Europe, the licensing program will eventually expand to be international in scope. E-commerce plans are also in the works, as MaMaMedia seeks to align with toy retailers on the Net.

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