Magazine Targets Young Internet Users

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CyberActive Media Group, Wilton, CT, will launch a new magazine in September that seeks to help parents understand and evaluate their children's interactive media activities.


Interactive Kids is a monthly magazine that will focus on educational and entertainment-based interactive products for children. It will target families with children in the 6- to 11-year-old range who exhibit above-average Internet usage, according to CyberActive Media.


Karen Jones, chief editor of Interactive Kids, said there is a strong need for a publication that helps to steer parents through the crush of interactive media directed at their children.


"Very often, children in U.S. households know much more than their parents do about computers, software, the Internet, video games, smart toys, etc.," Jones said. "There has been much discussion, both positive and negative, about the impact of the interactive industry on children's lives. We plan to be the definitive resource for parents to help guide their children through the ever-changing interactive age."


Editorially, Interactive Kids will offer news and reviews of children's software, games, Web sites, e-mail clubs, electronic "smart" toys and more. It will also focus on age-specific software, examining the level of violence in online and console video games, Jones said. The format will include news, features, regular departments and columns and a different theme for each issue. In the September debut, for instance, the Interactive Kids cover story will be "Back to School." For October, the theme will be "Halloween Fun."


The company admits that it faces a challenge in trying to catch the attention of adult readers who have a limited amount of time to read magazines on their own interests, let alone their children's, but parents will make the commitment if the editorial content is geared toward adult readers, Jones said.


"Despite the fact that there is very little time in today's world to devote to pleasurable activities like reading, it comes down to a question of priorities," Jones said. "I believe that Interactive Kids will provide a beneficial service to parents who wish to participate more closely in their children's interactive activities."


CyberActive Media created an audience profile of its potential readers based on fall 1999 MRI information on existing print media serving the combined family, parenting, elementary learning and technology fields. According to this profile, Interactive Kids' target audience has a median age of 36.8 years, a combined household income of $49,071 and a household Internet access rate of 65 percent.


The publication will launch with a 150,000-rate base and attempt over the next three years to grow its circulation to 500,000. Promotions include Internet marketing initiatives, a direct mail campaign, traditional media ads and newsstand promotions, said Hal Halpin, president and publisher of CyberActive Media. The company refused to divulge any additional details about its marketing efforts. CyberActive Media also publishes GameWEEK, a weekly trade publication, and operates GameWEEK.com, a business-to-business Web site.


While Interactive Kids has identified a core focus -- evaluating children's multimedia -- it will still find itself going head-to-head with a well-established, strongly branded publication, Ziff-Davis' FamilyPC.


On its Web site, FamilyPC claims a paid circulation base of more than 423,600, a median age of 39, an average household income of $52,000 and a household Internet access rate of 94 percent. Ziff-Davis said its FamilyPC publication "connects real families to real answers" and focuses on technology and Internet issues that "touch the lives of parents."


Halpin credits FamilyPC for its coverage of the PC platform but said Interactive Kids will provide a broader examination of the children's technology industry.


"In passing, [FamilyPC] also covers software and, in part, games, but it's clearly not the focus of FamilyPC," Halpin noted. "Our magazine is committed to and clearly focused on entertainment software, not just on the PC but across all platforms."


On its Web site, however, FamilyPC does offer a comprehensive guide to online safety and filtering and security software products.
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