The History Channel is looking to expand its reach to an audience that has not historically been a prime focus--youngsters and teens.

And it's not launching typical programming to make it happen. Instead the A&E network plans to lure the younger demographic with entertainment apps, something that today's youth is very familiar with.

"The idea to bring a younger audience to the History brand has been kicking around for years, but up until recently there's been nowhere for it to live," says Dan Suratt, executive VP of digital media and brand and content licensing at A&E. "Now we have all of these other platforms and devices that appeal to younger demos like tablets and smartphones that make it easy to reach these demos without making huge financial commitment."

The apps cost $2.99 and are targeted at children ages 7  through 11. They games are branded under an extension of the History Channel called "Planet H." Evan Silverman, senior VP-digital at A&E, says that the apps will first be about entertainment, with educational elements weaved in as a secondary focus.

The initial first two apps are called "Frontier Heroes" and "Empire Run."

"Frontier Heroes" follows five eras of American history through a total of 25 mini games. As kids advance through the game they collect coins called "Did You Know" coins, which reveal historical facts and unlock new levels.

"Empire Run" involves players taking the role of a high school track star and running through some of the world's great empires such as ancient Egypt, while also collecting coins and defeating enemies.

"In Empire Run, take on the role of a local high school track star when he falls asleep cramming for a history test. Now, trapped in the dream world of history, he must use his quick reflexes to sprint across, over, and under obstacles in dynamic courses from five historical empires," says the Planet H website.

It is important to note that Planet H is not aiming to make children watch the History Channel, but provides an expansion of its programming content.

The apps will be promoted both online and on the History Channel, and were developed in partnership with Red Interactive Agency, maker of the popular "Duck Dynasty" app which has been downloaded over 2 million times.

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