CTW Online developing custom content for Excite

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In its first content distribution deal, Children's Television Workshop Online is developing custom content on the Excite and WebCrawler family channels. The CTW Family Workshop will begin in July.

"Yes, we'll continue to have a fantastic site where families can go, but deals like this with Excite and WebCrawler will bring the content to them," said Tina Sharkey, CTW group VP-general manager, online group, of the deal with the search engines both owned by Excite. "CTW Online will have a network--a web of family collaborative entertainment that complements our site."


Features in the new Family Workshop include Daily Celebrations and the Networked Family. Daily Celebrations has a holiday every day (both real and fictional), and includes activities such as printable pages that children can color and activities that families can do together. The Networked Family has family tech tips and recommendations, as well as online storybooks and five to seven site "safaris" to explore based on the theme of the day.

The CTW Family Workshop will appear on Excite on its Lifestyle channel and on WebCrawler on the Kids & Family channel. Excite, a search engine aimed at the more experienced user, already has some content aimed at families and children, but WebCrawler, aimed more at the novice online user, is just now beefing up its content as part of a repositioning and relaunch, which took place in March.

CTW plans to leverage its strength as a place, both online and off-line, where parents and children go for a shared experience.


According to a Find/SVP study with Grunwald Associates, family audience is a large one. About 67% of parents log on to the Internet with their children.

The study also found 83% of people who plan to buy a computer want it for their children's education and 73% of children 8 or younger use the Internet for school-related work.


Chris Charron, analyst with Forrester Research, said as Web search engines like Excite, Yahoo!, Lycos, Netscape and others aggressively pursue the portal model, they want content that will keep users coming back to the site--sometimes referred to as "sticky" content. Portal site builders also are finding out that the Internet audience is beginning to grow more average and away from only highly educated, high-tech, high-income users.

"As the Internet becomes more and more diversified, schools get more wired, PCs become more affordable, these companies are realizing that this broad audience of family and kids will become more important," Mr. Charron said.

The Excite and WebCrawler deals are exclusive for search sites, but CTW Online will continue to expand distribution with other potential partners.

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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