CEO Philippe Dauman announced the plan, but wouldn’t say much more about it. “I’m going to let Nickelodeon announce all the features of the app,” he said in response to a question in a conference call with analysts this morning. But the app — due in the “very near future” — will include streamed programming for people who can demonstrate that they subscribe to pay TV. It “will allow us to grow in the future and will be different from anything you’ve seen in the marketplace,” Dauman says. He’s eager to persuade investors that Nickelodeon is back on offense after a dramatic downturn in ratings that became evident at the end of 2011. The total day audience this month has been down 8% vs. the month last year. The CEO says he has made “an unprecedented investment in content” to reach an audience that is “purely post-millennial.” In about a month Nick will introduce a live afternoon block. Dauman doesn’t believe that the channel depends too much on SpongeBob SquarePants. “He is one of the great enduring characters not just for us but in the entertainment world generally,” he says adding that the character is “also a driver of our consumer products business.” Execs add that SpongeBob helps them to launch new shows. The new app would be part of a broader strategy to expand programming on non-traditional venues. “Our audiences overindex in use of non-television platforms,” Dauman says. For example, it’s testing ad sales strategies for VOD showings, and is working with Nielsen and others to find ways to measure those who stream shows. Dauman says it’s “way too early” to estimate how much Viacom might make from its multi-platform initiatives.
By DAVID LIEBERMAN, Executive Editor | Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 9:36am ESTTags: Nickelodeon, Viacom
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