AOL Targets Kids With Niche Service

NEW YORK America Online yesterday unveiled a niche service for 6- to 12-year-olds that features educational resources, enhanced safety controls and content from brands such as Cartoon Network, DC Comics and Sports Illustrated for Kids.

Called KOL, the new service also offers original programming, including online games, cartoon shorts and a daily radio show.

The move is part of AOL’s effort to appeal to different audiences by tapping into their unique interests with distinct programming. The Dulles, Va.-based Time Warner Internet unit is also preparing to roll out an audience-specific service for teenagers, called Red, and another for Hispanics, named AOL Latino, this fall, according to a company representative [IQ Daily Briefing, Sept. 11].

AOL also is launching a KOL Jr. service aimed at preschoolers and parents. The introduction of KOL coincides with a new survey released today from AOL and Digital Marketing Services, a Lewisville, Texas, AOL subsidiary. The results, based on responses from more than 2,000 7- to 12-year-olds and parents, showed that 46 percent of kids log on to the Internet at least four times a week, and nearly 20 percent go online every day.

Other research findings indicate that children are increasingly adopting the Internet. Jupiter Research, for one, recently predicted that 57 percent of kids age 11 and younger would be online by 2007.