Nickelodeon Plans a Kids Upfront That Really is For Children

Many children love to observe TV, however have little need to study the intricacies of the enterprise behind it. Nickelodeon goals to alter that dynamic.

The ViacomCBS kids-media large will host a showcase on March 18 at 4 p.m., all a part of the advertising-sales session referred to as TV’s “upfront” market. The presentation goals to lure lots of the promoting and media-buying executives Nickelodeon must gas its operations. But it is also one thing kids also can take pleasure in.

“Everyone has been residing in a digital world for a 12 months, so we needed to do one thing completely different,” explains Brian Robbins, Nickelodeon’s president, to Variety in an interview. “We thought, ‘Why not do an upfront by the eyes of the viewers, versus the eyes of the companions?’ Since households are residence collectively, and a lot of our companions have kids, let’s make one thing that may be a co-viewing occasion.”

Nickelodeon’s confab will characteristic each animation and live-action segments, Robbins says. A big selection of stars and characters from the corporate’s packages will clarify to each children and advertisers how the community plans to broaden its attain and launch extra authentic animation productions than at some other time in its four-decade-plus historical past The presentation will embody a screening room with full episodes of Nickelodeon sequence in addition to sneak peeks from new packages. It will even characteristic sweepstakes, photograph ops and interactive meet-and-greets with Nickelodeon animators, artists, actors and characters.

The show will begin out like a typical Zoom assembly, Robbins says, then “veer off into this Nickelodeon wonderland, and this digital world.” The program is simply half an hour — the size of a typical Nickelodeon episode of “Dora the Explorer” or “Danger Force,” says Robbins, however “with out the commercials.” He likens the idea to “a little little bit of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ meets “The Wizard of Oz’.”

Nickelodeon sometimes vies with WarnerMedia’s Cartoon Network and Disney’s suite of kids-focused cable properties as a part of the “children’ upfront,” throughout which the media corporations hope to promote round $800 million prematurely promoting commitments. In 2021, nonetheless, there’s considerably extra at stake.

ViacomCBS is about to launch Paramount Plus, a streaming-video service constructed out of CBS All Access. WarnerMedia is anticipated to debut an ad-supported model of its HBO Max by June of this 12 months, and has unveiled a new push to collect pre-school audiences and feminine viewers. And Disney is placing considerably extra assets into its streaming shops, which embody Disney Plus and Hulu. Kids’ programming is seen by many executives as a “must-have” providing for which folks will preserve a subscription over a number of months, fairly than opening and canceling relying on content material choices.

This 12 months’s upfront takes place because the transfer in direction of streaming video is spurring new declines in conventional linear viewership. Nickelodeon noticed its common viewers between 6 and 11 fall by 36% in 2020, in response to figures from Nielsen, whereas Cartoon Network’s viewership in that class was off by 37% and Disney Channel’s tumbled 34%. Nickelodeon’s flagship community remained probably the most watched by that pivotal young-viewer class, in response to Nielsen, snaring a mean viewers of 145,000 of children between 6 and 11, in contrast with 124,000 for Disney Channel and 64,000 for Cartoon Network.

With a few of these traits in thoughts, TV corporations are now not simply speaking to advertisers about conventional TV. The Nickelodeon show will clarify Nickelodeon’s contribution to Paramount Plus, says Robbins, and “how vital children’ content material is to streaming.” Nickelodeon has already introduced that Paramount Plus will characteristic a revival of the favored sequence “iCarly,” and function the house of “Kamp Koral,” a spin off of the favored “SpongeBob SquarePants.”



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