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Tween tech firm takes to licenses

Tweens and teens seem to be riding the curve these days when it comes to haute tech, and if you're looking to engage this demo in a new way, you might get a few ideas from Atlanta, Georgia's Digital Blue. The three-year-old company made waves early on with a Digital Movie Creator suite that made the art of filmmaking accessible for budding young Speilbergs. But it's turning to licenses to amp up its latest lines.
August 1, 2005

Tweens and teens seem to be riding the curve these days when it comes to haute tech, and if you’re looking to engage this demo in a new way, you might get a few ideas from Atlanta, Georgia’s Digital Blue. The three-year-old company made waves early on with a Digital Movie Creator suite that made the art of filmmaking accessible for budding young Speilbergs. But it’s turning to licenses to amp up its latest lines.

The American Idol Digital Camcorder (US$99), based on a license from FremantleMedia, debuted in April at Toys ‘R’ Us and on-line at www.playdigitalblue.com. The handycam is designed to let the popstar format’s tween/teen girl fans sing their hearts out in the privacy of their own bedrooms and then superimpose those recorded performances onto the real Idol stage. The musical numbers can be glitzed up even more with cheering crowds, flashy stage lighting and animated judges. So far, sales of the camcorder are eight times higher than expected, and this success may have warmed Digital Blue CEO Tim Hall up to the bottom-line potential that licenses offer.

The same in-house research indicating that girls use camcorders primarily to shoot music videos (making the American Idol license a very good fit) led to another insight on the boys side of the market and a second license. Along with making mini-movies, boys use camcorders to make sports videos, sometimes taping the camera to their bikes or helmets to capture the action, says Hall.

Keying into this gonzo filmmaking trend, the company is gearing up to launch the Tony Hawk Helmet Cam (US$99), which straps onto a standard kids safety helmet. Powered by just two AAA batteries, the gizmo records up to a half hour of video and sound and has a mounted laser guide that shows the user where the lens is pointing. Working with the raw footage, boys can then use effects and editing software to show themselves skating alongside Hawk. Talk about the ultimate in interactivity.

Moving forward, Hall is on the hunt for tween/teen licenses with a heavy music element to complement Digital Blue’s newest MP3-enabled Digital Music Mixer, coming out this fall.

About The Author
Lana Castleman is the Editor & Content Director of Kidscreen and oversees all content for Kidscreen magazine, kidscreen.com and related kidscreen events. lcastleman@brunico.com

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