WorldNow Taps KickApps For Niche Social Web Sites

logoTechnology and sales company WorldNow has tapped white-label widget maker KickApps in an effort drum up new online revenue opportunities for local TV stations.

Per the deal, WorldNow will create and help manage custom deployments of KickApps social media applications for its more than 320 media clients, including ABC, Cox Enterprises, Time Warner Cable, and Tribune.

"The creation of niche social media Web sites offers an opportunity for local TV stations to tap into a broad group of advertisers that may or may not already be advertising on TV," said KickApps CEO Alex Blum.

As broadcast TV growth ebbs, local TV stations are increasingly looking to their Web sites for new sources of revenue. WorldNow is presently one of three top vendors these stations are using to more effectively sell video ads on their sites, along with Internet Broadcasting Systems and Broadcast Interactive Media.

The KickApps tools add to WorldNow's suite of existing online products, consulting services and revenue programs. The idea is that by adding photo and video sharing, blogs, message boards and viral syndication of content using widgets, broadcasters can increase engagement on their sites and in turn create highly targeted incremental advertising inventory.

"Sponsorships and promotions based on user-generated contests are a tremendous opportunity for local broadcasters to offer targeted sales programs to national and local advertisers," said Todd Randak, executive vice president of business development at WorldNow.

Other WorldNow customers include Raycom Media, Young Broadcasting, Dispatch, Fisher, Gray, LIN Television, Media General, News Press & Gazette, and The New York Times.

Each with their own twist on the platform business, KickApps is one among an estimated 40 white-label social service providers--including ONEsite, Userplane, LiveWorld, SixApart, Ning, CrowdVine, Dave Networks, CollectiveX,, iBelong, and Haystack, to name a few.

Amid rapid consolidation in the space, rumors recently surfaced that AOL is closely eyeing KickApps for a reported price of $90 million.

The Web software maker--which makes widgets for companies, which it helps them monetize--has so far raised $17 million in two rounds of venture capital financing, the most recent in August 2007.

KickApps clients include ABC Family, CW Television, Scripps Network Interactive, HBO, and Cinemax, to name a few.

Last month, KickApps launched a new feature on its community-building platform Yuku for members to search, play and share video online. The service was the result of a partnership with Web video-search platform maker ClipBlast, which is providing the one-click video embedding feature.

Yuku--which presently is drawing 7 million unique monthly visitors, according to Compete--differs from the average social network in that it invites consumers to create their own micro-communities.

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