KOL will be concentrating on growing its website, while production and IP acquisitions take a back seat for now, says Jacquie Moen, VP and GM of kids entertainment for the site’s parentco AOL.
Moen confirmed that in the wake of SVP of kids and teens Malcolm Bird’s departure, the company will pull back from investing in proprietary IPs. So development plans for last year’s big pick-up Scary Fairies, which was to be spun out into an animated series and consumer products line, are on hold, and no new acquisitions are in the offing.
And unlike last year’s MIPTV and MIPCOM markets, where KOL held down a premier spot at the front of the Palais, KOL will not be sending a contingent to Cannes next month.’I think we are going to invest in certain properties where it makes sense, but we won’t be as aggressive in that area,’ Moen says.
For the time being, however, KOL will continue to co-sponsor the Saturday morning CBS Slumber Party block with L.A.’s DIC Entertainment and maintain the block’s online presence. ‘We are going to focus on developing sticky applications and things that drive kids’ engagement on the website,’ says Moen. ‘We are looking at things they can do around the content like gaming and community; really using content in creative ways.’
To that end, the company has introduced a kids e-mail application for all KOL members, complete with parental controls and easily-set security options; a similar instant messaging app will follow later this year.
Moen also reiterates KOL’s commitment to an ad-based revenue model, with the caveat that the ads be appropriate for a kids audience, and she says the site will be ramping up its promotional and marketing activities in 2007 to drive traffic to the online portal. One such move will be the debut this month of popular Taiwanese puppet series Wulin Warriors: Legend of the Seven Stars, an action series that already has its own dedicated channel in Taiwan, a feature film and a line of licensed products.
‘AOL is very committed to the kids and teens audience; it’s a critical part of the business,’ says Moen. ‘I think there are huge growth opportunities now that we have emerged on the web.’