SuperAwesome, the U.K. discovery platform for kids and teens that grew out of the recent acquisition of Swapit by Dylan Collins’ newest venture Box Of Awesome, is launching a mobile ad network aimed at — yes, you’ve guessed it — “premium” kids content creators. Dubbed Kids Mobile Network (KMN), it’s being positioned as a way to help mobile content creators that target kids, such as mobile free-to-play games, move away from (or at least have an alternative to) funding their wares with controversial in-app purchases.
Claiming that its existing properties — the online ad network, Kids Network, Box Of Awesome, its “free Birchbox for kids,” and Swapit, the site that lets kids and teens trade unwanted items — already means the company has a reach of 8 million U.K. kids per-month, SuperAwesome seems extremely well-positioned to launch a mobile ad network targeting the same hard-to-reach demographic. It also comes at a time when, says SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins, content creators are looking for alternative ways to generate revenue beyond the tried and tested method of in-app purchases, which is seeing a backlash, not least on its home turf.
“There has been a huge amount of criticism and scrutiny about monetizing mobile kids content via IAP,” says Collins. “Everyone has read a story about parents getting £1000+ iTunes bills after their child started playing a free-to-play game. Unfortunately there is little viable alternative in the market. After repeated requests from many of our clients, we have launched a premium mobile network to help approved kids content creators generate revenue as an alternative/complement to IAP.”
To that end, SuperAwesome already works with some of the biggest kids entertainment brands, including Hasbro, Warner Bros, Disney, and Topps, though it isn’t able to say which advertisers are already signed up to use KMN. In terms of the types of mobile content or apps that will monetize via KMN, Collins says that the company has “about 20 clients” already live on the ad network ranging across games, education, quizzes and magazine content. “We’re expecting game content to become a leading category for us,” he says.
Meanwhile, citing its own research — the company has a well-regarded research arm called Swapit Research — SuperAwesome says that 55% of UK kids aged 8-16 have smartphones. It therefore seems apt to launch a dedicated niche mobile ad network to serve up that demographic.
Also of note, SuperAwesome hasn’t raised any external financing to date. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change as it scales.