Online Kids Playground Gets Rough


Kids brands are shifting dollars into their digital ad buckets, say industry insiders, which is good news for category leaders, and

But at the same time, per buyers, the digital kids space is far more competitive than just a few years ago, as virtual worlds and kids-oriented ad nets attempt to corner market share. Also, non-ad-supported outlets like the iPhone and the Nintendo Wii continue to siphon away kid hours.

Unlike the general market, the online kids ad segment has been historically dominated by TV players Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network. But according to sources, between 50 percent to 75 percent of dollars being spent on kids Web properties these days are not part of integrated TV packages, a significant shift from recent years.

Most believe that shift is simply a result of kids’ heavy usage of digital media. In fact most of the major sites in the category claim consistent increases in audience, time spent and video viewing. Per Nielsen Online, reached 3.6 million unique kids 2-11 in January, while hit 1.7 million and 1.4 million.

“The usage numbers continue to grow and grow,” said Walker Jacobs, senior vp, digital ad sales, Turner Sports and Entertainment. “That’s really what’s driving clients’ decisions. It’s not some philosophical shift.”

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