History Channel Launches Apps In New Effort To Reach Kids

The A&E channel is releasing two games that aim to enliven history as part of a brand extension aimed at 7- to 11-year olds.

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As anyone who has ever taken a history class in junior or senior high school can attest, it’s not really the most interesting subject around.

Now, that’s not necessarily because history, itself, is boring. More likely, it’s just not being presented the right way. A&E’s History Channel has always made its mission to ensure a look back at historical events is just as interesting as a good movie.

Furthering that effort, as part of what it’s calling “Planet H,” the brand — working with RED Games, a division of RED Interactive Agency — is out with two new apps, Empire Run and Frontier Heroes. Both aim to build genuine interest in history and appeal to a younger audience. Empire Run gamifies travel through ancient Egypt, Rome, Maya Civilization, The Ming Dynasty and The Mughal Empire. Frontier Heroes does the same for American history.

A&E previously worked with RED Games to develop the Battle of the Beards game for the Duck Dynasty brand.

Of the new games, A&E Networks’ VP of Digital Media and Brand & Content Licensing Dan Suratt said the company, “felt that there was an opportunity in the marketplace for historically-inspired apps that are fun for kids.”

In addition, the games and the focus on kids are a means of ensuring the brand’s current viewers don’t die off leaving the channel without viewers. Though History has been successful in drawing a good number of viewers, those viewers tend to skew older.

Besides making history enjoyable to the younger generation and working toward retaining them as long-term fans, the apps are also being used as a low-cost means of determining the type of content the brand creates. In an article on Incontext, A&E SVP of Digital Evan Silverman is quoted as saying,“With apps, you get a very fast read on whether something resonates with an audience: Do they like these characters, enjoy these particular historical eras?”

Interestingly, the apps will not be free of charge. They will be available for $2.99 in versions for Android, iOS and the Kindle Fire. The company will release a third game in the series later this year, with additional content expected in 2015.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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Steve Hall
Steve Hall is a marketing professional, publisher, writer, community manager, photographer and all-around lover of advertising.

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