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Viacom?s Nickelodeon discloses mobile strategy

An executive at kids television giant Nickelodeon discussed the entertainment brand?s mobile applications strategy in an exclusive interview with Mobile Marketer.

Nickelodeon recently launched several new applications for Apple?s iPhone and iPod touch based on its subsidiary AddictingGames? online games and its most popular television properties, including the first-ever application themed to the Nickelodeon's 23rd Annual Kids' Choice Awards, which aired on March 27. Nickelodeon has both pay-per-download and free, ad-supported applications.

?We know one of the things our audiences are doing is using mobile, in addition to watching our content on television, and we want to provide them with relevant content on all platforms that they are using for entertainment,? said Steve Youngwood, executive vice president of digital media for the kids and family group at Nickelodeon, New York.

?With our big television events, we program mobile as a complementary experience,? he said. ?An example of how we're doing this is the Kids' Choice Awards app?it's one of several ways that our audience can interact with the show.?

Nickelodeon, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. now in its 30th year, claims to be the No. 1 entertainment brand for kids. The company includes television programming and production, plus online and mobile consumer products, recreation, books and feature films.

Nickelodeon?s expanding applications portfolio
For now, Nickelodeon is focusing on the iPhone and iPod touch. The company has not announced plans to launch applications for other platforms such as Google's Android or Research In Motion's BlackBerry.

Nickelodeon's 23rd Annual Kids' Choice Awards application provides fans with a new level of interactivity, including live streams of the Orange Carpet star arrivals and the backstage action of the Awards show, as well as the ability to cast their votes using their handset?s touchscreen.

The Kids' Choice Awards application was designed to promote voting and the application links users into Nickelodeon?s mobile Web site, which has led to a significant increase in traffic and votes.

The Kids? Choice Awards application is available as a free download in the App Store.

New applications to join Nickelodeon's full suite of applications, which have generated almost 5 million downloads over the past year, include a gaming application based on the Nick Jr. characters Moose and Zee, AddictingGames' Sky Storm and High School Cheerleader, as well as Diego Snowboard Rescue.

The A to Z with Moose and Zee application, available for $1.99 in the App Store, helps kids learn the letters of the alphabet.

The Diego Snowboard Rescue application, also $1.99, asks kids to help Diego snowboard down the mountain so he can save animals.

The Sky Storm mobile game, available for $0.99 in the App Store, lets kids fly multiple aircrafts on a variety of missions and use airports and carriers to resupply. Users can unlock bigger and better  aircrafts as they level up and prepare to battle sophisticated enemies.

AddictingGames' High School Cheerleader, a multi-player game that costs $1.99 per download, lets players tilt their devices to dance like a cheerleader.

Free versions of fan favorites Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom and Go, Diego, Go: Musical Missions will also be available soon, as Nickelodeon looks to expand its ad-supported applications.

The Nick Jr. applications such as Dora and Diego are geared more towards parents with preschoolers. A lot of parents are ?handing back? their phones to their kids during car trips or vacations, for example.

The AddictingGames and Kids' Choice applications will appeal to older kids, tweens and teens. 

The free products will have sponsorship opportunities.

?We're currently running banner media in the Kids' Choice Awards app, for example,? Mr. Youngwood said.

The Kids' Choice Award application was promoted from the Kids' Choice Awards Web site at http://www.nick.com/kca10.

Nickelodeon also has bottom banners that the company puts on our applications such as Kids' Choice Awards that have buttons to urging users to check out other Nickelodeon applications.

?Because of this effort, we've seen a more than a 300 percent increase in daily downloads with some of our apps,? Mr. Youngwood said. ?Depending on the app, we'll link it to our promotional efforts for the on-air programming, as we did with Kids' Choice Awards.

?With just a little amount of promotion, Kids' Choice Awards jumped to the number-12 spot on the iTunes App Store,? he said.