Inside the business of children's digital media

Search engine KidZui gets into original programming


KidZui

San Diego-based startup KidZui, which launched its kid-friendly search engine Zui.com in August, is now moving into original content development thanks to an additional US$2.4 million in funding.

Zui Studios will create original video content that will live on Zui.com, which currently houses a library of more than five million parent and teacher-approved websites, videos and images aimed at kids ages three to 14. The first production out of the new studio is Buzz, a daily update for kids that spotlights the most popular videos, sites and games on the net that will air on the Zui.com homepage. Buzz is hosted by YouTube personalities Lia Marie Johnson and Ty Desharnais, and the goal is to take more kids with massive YouTube draw and feature them as ‘Zui Stars’ on the website.

Adam Jacobs has been tapped to head up the new Zui Studios as executive producer. Jacobs, who headed on-air promotions for Time Warner Cable and wrote for the HBO series Tales From the Dark Side, will oversee all content creation for the studio. Plans for additional original content include on-location segments.

The additional US$2.4 million came from existing investors Mission Ventures and Costella Kirsch and is timed with kids’ ongoing penchant for watching web-based TV content.

The funds have also gone toward new features on Zui.com, which include content delivery based on age and gender, and a free membership program. The latter encourages kids to enjoy their favorite sites within the Zui.com platform by giving them points to win prizes such as iPads and gaming systems.

The number of kids visiting KidZui properties has been on a steady rise – last month saw a total of 1.8 million unique users.

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