Once upon a pre-pandemic time, Nickelodeon was usually first out of the gate with an Upfront showcase in New York City. Whether staged at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall or The Palace Theater (where the SpongeBobSquarePants Broadway musical held court), Nick set the annual bar for how colorful, creative, informative and entertaining these events can be. Now under Paramount ownership, Nick made its in-person return to the scene this past Thursday at the Palladium Theater on W.44th St.
The Big Message: The era of Nick as a one-trick linear destination for kids is over, replaced by a brand standing on three pillars -- linear cable/satellite channel, mega-content service Paramount+ and multi-channel bundle Pluto TV. What's more, all three pillars draw kids and parent viewership simultaneously in a big way, making them essential campaign destinations for any national advertiser.
Host: Brian Robbins, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures President and Chief Executive Officer, taking time right at the start to ensure attendees that his organization will continue post-pandemic to offer quality content families can watch together. "We strive to continue to be our best selves," he said.
What Worked: A smooth, solid presentation pace, with different Nickelodeon executives introducing segments on live-action content, toons, consumer research and so on. Every segment had plenty of video clips and bright graphics to move the on-stage action along.
What Also Worked: The opening video sequence illustrating special programming and outreach during the last two years, and the impact on children across the country dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
What Didn't Work: Few details about original, brand spanking new content premiering this season and beyond, leaving an impression that what's ahead is just extensions of current popular shows from The Loud House toBlue's Clues and You! Could have used a peek at the more than 60 projects in development at Nick's animation studios alone. Or some insight on other live-action directions from drama to game shows.
Data Points: Eighty-six percent of children responding to a recent Nick research study spend more time watching TV together with their parents, while 75 percent suggest they've developed a closer relationship to their parents under coronavirus pandemic circumstances. "When people watch together, they engage together," noted Makeda Mays Green, Nickelodeon's Vice President of Research and Consumer Insights. Also, kids spent five hours a day watching various media last year, up seven percent from 2020. Near the end of the event, Paramount Advertising Sales chief Jo Ann Ross contributed this tidbit: Kids influence 88 percent of all household purchases.
News: Paramount+ will introduce a live-action series version of The Loud House later this year, featuring many cast members from the live-action holiday Loud House movie that ran on Nick last December. Look for a number of live-action and toon flicks inspired by current series playing on Nick and/or Paramount+ during the 2022-23 season, including Blue's Big City Adventure (NYC being the big city), Monster High (this Halloween) and a trio of SpongeBobSquarePantsmovies. Several new series will premiere on the Nick Jr. preschool block -- Bossy Bear, HexVet and Face's Music Party and a variety program featuring the return of "Face," the TV screen-filling orange Nick Jr. mascot from the 1990s. More episodes are on the way for Kamp Koral, The Patrick Star Show, PAW Patrol, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Middlemost Post and Big Nate, one month into its rookie season. For all the fans of Nick's NFL wild card playoff games, you have a new event to anticipate this summer: Slime Cup, a four-team golf tournament featuring top PGA players and Nick personalities working through a seven-hole course that, for sure, will pump up the green slime somewhere. On the live event scene, expect a two-day NickFest in Los Angeles October 22-23, and a Blue's Clues and You! national tour before the end of the year.
Parting Words: "Welcome back and welcome home." -- Brian Robbins, launching the presentation
"Think of Paramount+ as the new superstar of your marketing plans." -- Makeda Mays Green
"I'm terrible at fantasy football. How ironic." -- Nate Burleson, CBS Mornings Co-Host and Nick NFL Wild Card playoff game analyst
"Have you ever been slimed? It's a proud tradition to be slimed … a rite of passage." -- Jo Ann Ross
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