Nick’s iTunes ‘Anubis’ Freebie Pays Off

1/16/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

Nickelodeon’s bold experiment to offer
free on iTunes the 20-episode first season of its drama/
mystery series House of Anubis helped the channel draw
2 million viewers in its second-
season debut last week
(Jan. 9).

The daily strip, which
chronicles the strange happenings
at a U.K. boarding
school, was aided by an
eye-catching iTunes offer
in which the network uploaded
every episode of the
teen drama/mystery series
on iTunes last month.

Since its Dec. 19 debut in
Apple’s iTunes Store, the series has generated more than
1.2 million downloads, according to network officials.

Steve Youngwood, executive vice president and general
manager, digital, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group,
said the unusually long six-month gap between the end
of the serialized series’ season one
finale and Jan. 9’s sophomore-season
launch prompted the network
to look for unique ways to not only
reintroduce the series to fans but
to draw more of its core 12-to-18
audience to sample the show.

“In the multiplatform, closestavailable-
screen world that everyone
lives in, we are seeking
ubiquitous exposure ... the best
way to market House of Anubis
is to let people watch House of
,” he said. “The content serves as a more effective
marketing tool than any kind of specific commercial

Along with the free downloads from iTunes, Youngwood
said series episodes are also available on Netflix
and the network’s website.

Once new, daily episodes of the series launch next
week, all House of Anubis episodes will be available on
iTunes at the traditional $1.99 price for standard-definition
downloads. Youngwood said the network will offer
weekly video recaps via throughout the series’
second season to help viewers keep up with the show’s

Youngwood said the network will consider using the
iTunes free-season marketing strategy for other new
shows in the future. For now, Nick will offer free on
iTunes the premiere episode of its new music-themed
series How to Rock two weeks before the show’s Feb. 4
debut on Nickelodeon.

“Every show is unique, but ultimately the best way to
market a show is to let people see it,” Youngwood said.