You may have noticed that we have been getting some good press lately from a new website called www.virtualgranny.com and last week I got in touch with the founders to find out a bit more about what had inspired them to set up the site and what they are planning. Here’s what I found out.
VirtualGranny was set up last summer to provide a space for entertaining, informing and offering support to lively over 50’s grandparents by Marrisse Whittaker with the help of her business partner and husband Bob Whittaker.
Marrisse and Bob are TV producers (www.oriontv.co.uk). Bob’s background is as an onscreen TV Journalist and Marrisse was a TV/Film makeup artist for years before becoming a TV scriptwriter. They make TV programmes for all of the major broadcasters.
However, time and time again they find that TV commissioners request that programmes be targeted at the 18-34 age group, despite the fact that it is the over 50’s who have the money, watch TV and have the ability to buy the products advertisers want to sell around the programmes.
Marrisse and Bob often found hugely talented people over the age of 50 to appear on screen, with great stories to tell, all to no avail. So one day they decided to set up a website dedicated to over 50’s grandparents, “to help give them a voice as well as a place to chill out”.
As they are TV makers, VirtualGranny has video on site and eventually they are hoping to launch a regular on-site soap series. They also have more celebrity interviews in the offing and video series planned on consumerism, grandchild care, gardening, books and more. They currently have sections for discounts and competitions and a shopping mall.
Most of all, Marrisse and Bob want to develop the social networking area of the site, with visitors logging on to tell them what they think about issues and what they would like to see on the site. VirtualGranny are about to launch a search for 50Grand – 50 grandparents who will group together via the website to speak out as a group, road test products and give honest reviews and insights on a huge range of issues as they come up in the media.
Marrisse says:”Think Mumsnet for lively minded grandparents, with lots more TV footage, eventually giving the site the feel of a glossy magazine and TV channel rolled in to one”.
Marrisse and Bob’s plans sound very promising and we particularly like the upscale, intelligent and funky feel of the website and the interesting, good quality videos. There are several other websites out there vying for the attention of grandparents but we think VirtualGranny looks set to stand out from the crowd.
Have a look around and tell us what you think www.virtualgranny.com