October 28, 1999
Do Baby Boomers want their very own home on the Internet?
San Francisco startup thinks they do -- and is launching a
Web site, www.myprimetime.com,
to provide it.
is founded by three former journalists from CNNfn, with $4.25
million in backing from Hummer Winblad, one of the more prestigious
venture capital firms.
offers regularly updated sections on jobs, investing, health
and leisure -- topics for which scores of Web sites already
exist. But MyPrimeTime says it brings value by putting all
the topics on one site and by making them relevant for people
between the ages of 35 and 53.
Boomers -- that vast demographic bulge of 81 million people
born after World War II, from 1946 to 1964 -- are not a monolithic
group. Most of them don't even think of themselves as Baby
Boomers, but identify themselves in other ways.
presents a challenge to the MyPrimeTime entrepreneurs.
any kind of community play to work, it's essential that there's
something special that holds the community together,'' said
Andrea Williams, director of equity research at E-Offering
in San Francisco. ``I'm not sure what it would be for Baby
Boomers that they couldn't find at Yahoo or any of the other
of a certain age, another San Francisco company, ThirdAge
Media, offers a specially tailored Web site. Although the
MyPrimeTime folks say ThirdAge is for older folks, ThirdAge
founder and Chairwoman Mary Furlong said, ``We service people
45 and older.''
though Furlong declined to take on MyPrimeTime directly, it's
clear that the ThirdAge site could present MyPrimeTime's most
formidable obstacle. Furlong was reached in New York, where
she was just taping a segment for CBS's ``The Early Show.''
That's the same CBS that in June plunked down $54 million
for roughly one-third of ThirdAge Media, joining other big
backers like Softbank and Si Newhouse's Advance Publications.
an industry veteran who founded SeniorNet, notes her site's
nearly three-year head start and 700,000 registered community
members, and she touts that Time tabbed her as one of the
50 most important people shaping cyberspace today.
MyPrimeTime execs say they're on a fast ramp, and it looks
like it's true. In rehabbed brick-and- glass offices tucked
behind the old U.S. Mint, the company this week announced
a partnership with Fidelity, in which the mutual fund giant
will sponsor its personal finance section.
sorts of partnerships, as well as advertising and unspecified
future e-commerce deals, will form the backbone of MyPrimeTime's
planned revenue stream.
all thanks to the fundamental premise that Baby Boomers are
the biggest, wealthiest generation in U.S. history and therefore
are worth targeting.
never before were able to micro-target an audience as large
as the Boomers,'' said Craig Forman, co-founder and CEO of
MyPrimeTime. ``It's only in this medium that you could tackle
the aggregation of 81 million people because we tackle it
person, by person, by person.''
founders are 38, 40 and 44 years old. ``We look at our lives
as a mirror of the site,'' said Helen Whelan, another co-founder
and the company president.
that neither site wants to offend its readers by implying
that they're old, so instead, they refer to them as ``Third
Agers'' or people hitting ``my prime time.'' Boomers, as MyPrimeTime's
Whelan said, like to think of themselves as 10 years younger
than they really are.
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