Advertiser interest in the kids online market has been low, unlike in other areas of online ad spending, but that may be about to change, according to Mediaweek (via MediaBuyerPlanner). Two recent major moves by Nickelodeon - the purchase of virtual pet site Neopets by parent company Viacom followed by the launch of on-demand channel TurboNick - have swelled interest in the kids online space and are expected to spark advertiser interest.
Kids online ad spending is tough to track, in part because kid-targeted advertising most often takes the form of games and contests built around brands and characters. But according to Nielsen/NetRatings, Nick.com has pulled in $9.6 million in ad revenue in the last 12 months.
Nickelodeon Networks COO Jeffrey Dunn predicts that Nickelodeon will capture more than half of the kids online ad market - just as it has in TV - and that Nick.com ad revenues will double in 2005.
"A lot of advertisers are coming on that weren't doing online in the past," says Jonathan Graff, president of the Kaboose.com kids portal.
Interestingly enough, traditional media companies dominate the marketplace for kids online: according to Nielsen, Nick.com and CartoonNetwork.com rein in more than double the traffic of Yahoo's Yahooligans, perhaps because search isn't much of a factor with kids' brands since they tend to head for recognized brand names.
With Nick.com, CartoonNetwork.com and, of course, Disney playing such a large role with kids, ad-supported TV content such as that now offered on TurboNick is expected to be a particularly large growth area. The move may be slow, says Brooke Goldstein, SVP, managing group director at MediaCom, but the shift will come down the road. For now, TV still dominates.