February 21, 2013
After two years of research, asking 9- and 10-year-olds what kind of content they want to watch on an iPad, the results are in: they don’t want to watch very much actual TV. So instead of simply making its programming available on the iPad, Nickelodeon designed its new app as a noisy, colorful collection of animated clips, music videos and more, including actual full-length episodes.
“As fun as it is supposed to be for children, the Nick app has serious implications for its parent company, Viacom, and for the entire television distribution business,” writes The New York Times. “The app represents the first attempt by a Viacom channel at TV Everywhere — the concept that paying customers can stream live and on-demand shows on all devices — that many television executives hope will keep viewers tied to their cable and satellite contracts.”
While Disney already has streaming/interactive apps available for its viewers, Nickelodeon wanted to wait until it better understood how its audience used mobile devices, said Cyma Zarghami, president of the Nickelodeon Group. “Research showed children preferred to play games and watch short clips on apps, rather than catch up on complete episodes. Nickelodeon already has individual branded games available as apps,” according to the article.
“TV Everywhere is a given. It’s not special anymore,” said Zarghami. “Being first wasn’t important to us. We took our time to combine these two ideas” of interactive games and snippets of shows. And based on the app’s level of success, Viacom will better understand how to create apps for more of its channels.
“This is a creative sandbox for kids but it’s also a creative sandbox for the company,” said Steve Youngwood, Nickelodeon’s executive VP for digital.
“Nickelodeon has struck deals with eight cable or satellite providers including Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, Cablevision and DirecTV to make the streaming feature of its Nick app available in nearly 50 million homes,” explains the article. “The nonstreaming offerings will be available to viewers who do not subscribe to those companies.”