MaMaMedia Clicks with Licensees

The Internet is a new frontier for the licensing industry, especially in the kids marketplace. So far, while a variety of kids online properties have taken off, none has established the presence necessary for a successful licensing program.

Ever the pioneer, MaMaMedia is breaking that boundary. The company plans to unveil a variety of licensing deals in several product categories in the coming months.

Selling to Kids recently spoke with MaMaMedia’s Ted Green, president, and Pam Fields, EVP of business development, to get the scoop on the next step in their efforts to build the company into a multimedia kids powerhouse.

S2K: How does licensing fit into MaMaMedia’s overall marketing strategy?

Green: We’re looking to build our brand. We’re very well-known, we have a lot of members, and we’ve had a lot of interest and offers from [prospective] licensees.

Fields: We’re doing a ton to invest in our brand. We began a multimillion dollar national ad campaign, [and we have] sponsorship deals with General Mills and Hi-C.

S2K: So would you say the appeal of MaMaMedia for a licensee is its strength across a variety of media?

Fields: We have the experience to do multi-channel deals, plus we’re available on the Internet wherever kids [go] – AOL, Go, Netscape … We’re also available in Spanish through Star Media. We are well-marketed throughout the Internet, and we’re in midst of a $10 million offline TV and print ad campaign. This ensures to a licensee that the MaMaMedia name and the various products we license will get very significant exposure.

S2K: Do you see this as the beginning of a new trend in which licensed characters and properties will come from kids Internet brands, instead of TV or movies?

Green: Probably the reason one of the other online kids companies haven’t done it is sheer size. You have to have a brand people want and know. For example, before Nick can license a TV character, they have to have the viewership [to justify that step]. We have that traffic and use.

S2K: What categories present the most intriguing possibilities for MaMaMedia properties?

Fields: We’re going into as many categories as we can go into that maintain the brand equity: apparel and fashion, footwear, stationery, books, toys and music.

S2K: Which of your characters and properties are we most likely to see turning up in licensed goods in the near future?

Fields: Our Dig Sigs, [characters kids create using mix-and-match heads, arms and legs] are a homerun across as many categories as we can think of. Kids use them to identify themselves, and they are graphically cool and fun to look at.

Our Flipsticks [game] teaches kids key frame animation. That has tremendous potential in terms of games and other [toys].

MaMaMedia Web Talkers, graphic representations of some of the language kids use to express [themselves online], can be on a T-shirt or part of a comic strip. For example, :-X is “my lips are sealed.”

Finally, our Card Zappers [email cards]. We did half a million Card Zapper transmissions in March alone. It’s animated, musical, great fun, and has stationery written all over it.

S2K: Do you have any licensees lined up at this point?

Green: We have people soliciting us to do deals for toys, books, apparel, accessories. We’re on the verge of signing deals with an agent in some categories, and over the next quarter we will be announcing deals.

(MaMaMedia: Pam Fields, Ted Green, 212/334-3277)

COPYRIGHT 2000 Phillips Publishing International, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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