With its Kids’ WB! Saturday morning slot on The CW slated to get the axe this fall, Warner Bros. has been working quietly on a new platform for its library of animated programming. The result is KidsWB.com, a premium ad-supported website that launched yesterday and targets kids six to 12 with a wide array of free entertainment offerings based on characters and properties from the Warner Bros. Animation, Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and DC Comics vaults.
Leading the charge is Sam Ades, KidsWB.com GM and VP of digital animation for Warner Bros. Television Group. With more than 100 games, thousands of streaming videos, customization elements on most apps and a robust cache of prizes and rewards for virtually every activity on the site, Ades is confident it will attract a sizeable audience.
The company is devoting resources to commissioning big-name industry talent to produce original made-for-digital programming under its Studio 2.0 banner. In the kids pipeline are shorts based on Plastic Man and The Wizard of Oz. The site will also house a special KidsWBJr. area for preschoolers with age-appropriate video, games, activities and downloads and two planned virtual worlds for older kids – DC HeroZone featuring the comic brand’s top superheroes, and Warner Zone.
Comcast is the site’s inaugural distribution partner, offering free streaming and VOD programming on its Fancast.com hub. Shows that play into this deal include The Flinstones, The Jetson, Smurfs, Batman: the Animated Series and Josie and the Pussycats. AOL will also feature a KidsWB.com broadband channel, streaming a different assortment of toons selected from the catalogue.
Mattel and McDonald’s are on-board as the platform’s first advertisers, with Mattel holding the rights to launch ad and promo partnerships for DC HeroZone, which will showcase a range of products it produces for the superhero franchise. Remaining ad inventory on the site will be handled by WBTVG’s digital media sales team, directed by EVP of media sales Michael Teichler.