Nickelodeon is eyeing growth in programming, integrated deals with advertisers, franchise products, apps and of course good old fashioned slime, as part of what it expects to be its biggest year yet.
Nickelodeon has three business areas – content programming through Nickelodeon and Nick Jr; consumer products and events; and ad sales. Each business line has reported solid growth, and there are plans to expand product offerings across the board, including digital. The children's STV network has grown its preschool audience by 48% and is launching a new adventure event and feature film to target that audience.
Ad sales for Nick Jr – a channel that targets children up to 4-years-old – has grown by more than 80% on the back of hit new shows such as PAW Patrol, with toy retailers and FMCG companies among the major advertisers.
“We do the traditional spots and dots and we also have integrations,” Nickelodeon's general manager and VP of Australia and New Zealand Jihee Nam tells AdNews at a consumer products event in Melbourne.
"We've also got a multi-platform offering and what differentiates us the most is our on the ground experiences and integrations. It gives us a lot of coverage in terms of brand integration.
“Slimefest is one of the major events in Australia that we've got in Melbourne and Sydney and that is a huge chunk of our integration ad sales revenue. This year we are launching Slime Cup and we hope for big things with that."
Slime Cup, which launches in April, is an obstacle course event in which children aged 9-13 compete against one another. Nam likens it to a children's version American Ninja Warrior with slime and says it will provide sponsors with more touch points than at other events in the past.
ANZ Tennis Hot Shots has recently become a sponsor of the event.
Nickelodeon's other major events are Slimefest and kids tennis day, which precedes the Australian Open grand slam.
“The past four years we've been national with kids tennis day,” Nam adds. “To give you an example of how much it has grown, in Brisbane we started with 5,000 and this year it grew to 12,000 attendance. In Melbourne we got over 15,000 and it was sold out a few weeks before.”
On the content front, Nickelodeon is growing its offering with new programming, including the recently launched educational show Blaze and the Monster Machines, which has a focus on the STEM curriculum, and Shimmer and Shine.
Perhaps the biggest release will be Michael Bey's second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) film, Out of the Shadows, featuring a return of classic characters such as Krang, Casey Jones, Bebop and Rocksteady.
TMNT products are among the most popular for Nickelodeon and have generated more than $1.5 billion over the years.
Mark Kingston, Nickelodeon's general manager and SVP of consumer products across EMEA, says 50 new toys will be launched on the back of the movie.
“We're very excited about the movie and we expect it too provide an overall uplift for the turtles franchise and we expect 2016 to be the biggest year that we've had to date,” he says.
The TMNT property has teamed up with Doc Martin to produce a line of shoes, joining other fashion designers including Moscino and Beatrix Ong to create clothing lines themed with Nickelodeon characters.
“It's quite often fun, it brings a lot of quirkiness to their ranges,” Kingston adds. “In particular, if you look at SpongeBob, he's passionate, enthusiastic, positive and he's bright yellow. If you look at yellow on the catwalk it comes in and out of vogue and what we always say with our properties is that they will come in and out of fashion every couple of years.”
On the digital front, Nickelodeon's Nick Play app, which launched last year, has had 150,000 downloads and a peak audience of 3 million page views per week.
Games are an important part of Nickelodeon's product range and this year the company will explore ways to integrate sponsors into gaming, while launching a new Nick Jr site.
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