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Facebook for kids? – JAM ages down social networking with MyPicme

JAM Media's preschool show Picme is migrating from the small screen to the online realm this month with the launch of a new interactive web hub. The Irish prodco plans to roll out its own dedicated MyPicme domain by year's end, but first it will debut as a page on www.nickjr.co.uk, and the goal is to convince the show's other international broadcasters (including S4C in Wales, US HD channel Animania and France's TPS Jeunesse) to do the same.
May 1, 2007

JAM Media’s preschool show Picme is migrating from the small screen to the online realm this month with the launch of a new interactive web hub. The Irish prodco plans to roll out its own dedicated MyPicme domain by year’s end, but first it will debut as a page on www.nickjr.co.uk, and the goal is to convince the show’s other international broadcasters (including S4C in Wales, US HD channel Animania and France’s TPS Jeunesse) to do the same.

The MyPicme site borrows some of the same social networking elements that make MySpace and Facebook so popular. Parents can use these tools to help their kids create profile pages by listing personal details like their friends, fave TV shows and desserts, as well as compositing mash-up pictures that put the wee ones’ photo-real heads on animated bodies. This feature employs JAM’s proprietary Headhunter software, the same engine that makes the photo/cartoon hybrid characters in the TV show.

CEO John Rice expects the photo studio to be the biggest draw for kids, who get a huge kick out of seeing themselves in the media they spend time in, while the networking features should hold more appeal for parents. He adds that his team was very careful to create a safe and secure place where kids can share news and digital stuff with friends without the threat of web predators.

The site will also incorporate personalized wallpapers and screen savers, plus about a dozen games in which kids can play as their Picme avatar with the show’s five main animal characters. These include a dress-up game, a version of card-matching staple Memory, virtual jigsaw puzzles and a mix-and-match game that charges kids with putting together body parts to make an original animal.

But JAM isn’t stopping there. Rice and his team have plans to roll out a second, more global community interface by the end of the year that will let kids in different countries network and play real-time games with each other.

And to encourage more interactivity between parents and kids, MyPicme will eventually feature an area where parents can make their own personalized avatars and play games alongside their children. The site will also house a screening room and editing suite to let parents create mini-clips starring their whole family’s hybrid characters, which can then be downloaded to mobile phones and portable devices.

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