VOD's 'Slime' Time for Nick

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Kids and tweens in areas served by Comcast will have the opportunity to “spend time with the slime,” viewing a variety of video-on-demand specials to promote the 20th anniversary of the Kids' Choice Awards on Nickelodeon.

The kidvid kingpin has partnered with the cable provider to leverage the popularity of Comcast's video-on-demand operation to drive viewers to the March 31 awards show, scheduled for UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.

Harnessing the power

“The Kids' Choice Awards is our mini-Oscars,” said Nick senior director of affiliate sales and marketing Lara Salamano. The network went to Comcast with the co-promotion deal, because that multiple-system operator “really knows how to harness the power of VOD.”

Kids' programming has already proven successful on Comcast's VOD platform, said Comcast video services senior vice president and general manager Page Thompson. The company reported 31 million views to kids programming on VOD in February, an “all-time record for us,” he said.

The mark underlines VOD's strength with younger viewers.

Research done in partnership with Nielsen Media Research showed that from June through August 2005, kids aged 2 to 11 comprised 9% of the monthly regular-television audience in Comcast's home market of Philadelphia, but 19% of the on-demand users. Likewise, 12-to-17-year-olds made up 5% of the conventional viewing audience, but 10% of the VOD users, according to the data provided by Comcast.

Thompson said the Kids' Choice programming package is another example of how networks are learning about the strength of video on demand as a marketing vehicle. Nick is also monetizing VOD use, he noted, selling advertising to companies such as Kia Motors and General Mills during the specials.

The tonnage of programming turns into a weeks-long event for Comcast. Retrospective specials from past award shows, a nominee special and specials on Nick-nominated content began appearing on the platform in early March. With a planned post-awards special, Comcast ends up with top programming into April, Thompson noted.

Las incentivves

Comcast's local ad-sales teams will also be selling the ceremony's telecast with a sweepstakes component. Systems in Comcast's 10 largest markets can offer a trip for four to the awards show, plus a trip to Nickelodeon's hotel in Orlando, Fla. Prizes can be used as a consumer sweepstakes or as an advertiser incentive.

The next 10 markets in size can offer an awards show trip and prize pack, while Comcast markets 21 to 56 can give away a prize pack that includes a Nintendo DS Lite game console, games and a Nick.com shopping spree.

Salamano said Comcast has committed to running 250 spots across its 24 million homes, with another 100 spots to appear on broadband. Local systems will supplement that with 200 to 400 promotional spots per market.

The show will also have a digital component. At Nicktropolis, there will be a Kids' Choice-themed world, where computer users can have their avatar stroll down the “orange carpet,” check out the show's control room, sneak backstage and create their own awards-themed room. TurboNick, the broadband portal at Nick.com, will offer KCA programming, quizzes, mash-ups. This will lead up to show night, when portal users can check out back-stage Web cams, among other programming.

As a public affairs initiative, the network has arranged live screenings in Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, Los Angeles and at the Nickelodeon-themed hotel in Orlando. In each market, the local cable operators have opted to invite members of the local Boys and Girls Club to view the show, and will present attendees with Nick-themed goodie bags as they leave.

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