On the heels of its management-led buyout last fall, London, England-based IP owner Chorion’s is getting ready to transition its portfolio of properties to rich online environments to help sate the click-happy kids audience.
Jeff Norton, director of brand development, says along with Chorion’s preschool staple Noddy, relative newcomer Mr. Men, which is being made into a 2-D series targeting kids four to seven, will get an online makeover throughout 2007.
‘We are really looking to take it to a new level in terms interactivity,’ says Norton. ‘We want the consumers to engage with the brands in a way they couldn’t do on television.’
For example, on the Mr. Men site Norton foresees an online community where customers could pay for a Mr. Men avatar, and then interact with others visitors and customize their experience by manipulating digital assets provided by Chorion.
The same interactivity and community-building idea will also be at the center of a Famous Five website for the TV series targeting core kids when it is launched at the end of 2007. The traditionally animated show is expected to be delivered in 2008 and is based on Noddy author Enid Blyton’s book series that has a following in the UK, France and Germany. The corresponding site will focus on the themes of adventure, exploration and teamwork using features common to established sites such as Myspace.
Chorion got the ball rolling by beta testing a Noddy online media player in the UK and US in October 2006 at www.noddy.com. The official launch is expected in Q1 this year and will allow episodes of the show to be downloaded via broadband internet with a subscription which will be free in the US, and carry a US$19 price tag in the UK. A Mr. Men media player will also be launched this year.
As for a business model, expect the Famous Five website to be revenue neutral when it launches, focusing on promotion of the brand before the company explores how best to monetize the traffic.
‘Instead of selling banner ads, what might be more interesting is selling exclusive content, or an experience that you can only have online,’ says Norton.