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Tween Tidbits September 28, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I couldn’t take notes at the panel I moderated at today’s Ypulse Tween Mashup, but we had a good conversation about what kind of programming works online for traditional media and marketing companies.

I felt Nintendo’s and Lego’s pain in being slow to create share-able content and widgets due to lawyers and complicated rights. (And Nintendo’s honest desire to keep ’em playing Pokemon on their DS’s, not online.) But they’ve got to get around that. Oh, and apparently the card trading Pokemon contingent skews older than tweens, while the TV show fans are younger.

Doing UGC and communications online is brutally difficult if your audience is under 13. A game or one-way information communication is much easier to manage safely. Still, Procter & Gamble’s Beinggirl lets its users communicate with each other in a mostly self-policed environment.

In the keynote, Neopets’ Kyra Reppen reminded us that, in the face of Webkinz and Club Penguin, the original kids’ avatar-world slash social-network hasn’t been completely buried under Viacom. It’s still going strong, and it seems possible that Nickelodeon’s Nicktropolis has learned some tricks from Neopets.

At the same time Neopets characters and themes are migrating to television (while polls of Neopets fans suggest a big interest in featuring their own characters in video — that sounds like Internet video, not TV, to me — and in voting on plot outcomes), the original Neopets site is starting to house user-generated short animated pieces, and building out its alterna-cash economy (750K transactions/day). Look for Neocash gift cards in retail next month. And watch for NeoStudios to create some parallel worlds to the original Neotopia — “like a TV network” of shows — and more TV “convergence.”

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