The first of August 2023 was a big day for Paramount ANZ, as multichannel 10 Shake officially rebranded to the Nickelodeon channel. The new offering brought families across Australia a free suite of Nickelodeon content for the first time on free-to-air linear television.
Previously being shown in Australia through a long-term partnership with Foxtel, the move saw Nickelodeon content move completely in-house within Paramount ANZ’s content portfolio.
To chat more about the transition and what comes next, Mediaweek sat down with Jules Borkent (managing director and executive vice president, international kids and family brands, Paramount International) and Beverley McGarvey (executive vice president, chief content officer, and head of Paramount+, Paramount ANZ).
“I love Australia,” Borkent said, speaking both about visiting the country and how the market performs on the global stage when it comes to kids’ content.
Borkent: “It’s almost 30 years that we’ve been in this market, we launched in 1995. It’s like unbelievable how beloved the Nickelodeon brand is in this market – for a brand that has been behind a paywall for so many years, there is such a love and connectivity for the brand and our content.”
It’s been a little over seven weeks since 10 Shake was switched over to Nickelodeon, making Australia one of the few markets internationally where the brand has been brought to free-to-air.
Since the switch, Nickelodeon is up 14% in prime time, 38% in daytime, and has landed the top spot for commercial multi-channels in kids 0-12 in daytime.
“It’s it’s a testament to the love of the brand,” Borkent said of the results.
Borkent: “It really starts with the content. 10 Shake was a great platform, and it really laid the groundwork for our foray into free TV for Nickelodeon. We’ve worked over the last couple of years to really bring kid’s content into the open, but I think what this has allowed us to do is bring even more content to a wider audience in Australia.
“We’re super excited about the initial results, kudos to the local team. I wish I could say this about all markets, it’s very nice!”
McGarvey: “Nickelodeon is a much-loved brand, people love working on it, it’s got great content. It is great for the brand to switch over and for people to embrace it.
“It’s good for kids to have access to that quality and that depth of content in front of the paywall, which they don’t have in any other commercial sense.”
It’s not the first time that Nickelodeon has been accessible to audiences – Nickelodeon content has been shown on competing networks before – but the switch from 10 Shake brings the brand completely in-house for Paramount.
Borkent: “The brand has always been out there and the content has been out there, but what’s beautiful about this is that we are really now managing the ecosystem ourselves. We have Paramount+ in SVOD which has exclusive content, we have the broader reach on the Nickelodeon free-to-air channels, and kids’ content is really performing super well on FAST channels – not surprisingly, because it’s that’s a theme that we see outside of Australia as well.
“It’s lovely to be able to bring a library of content and curate the viewer experience across the different platforms.”
In the long term, McGarvey said that the team’s goals for Nickelodeon in Australia involve bringing audiences the content they love in a way that makes good business sense.
McGarvey: “What we want is for the Nickelodeon brand to live across multiple Paramount platforms, get the content to where the audiences want to find it, and make it effective from a monetisation point of view. We’re utilising that great Nickelodeon content across the market in a way that supports our Paramount business strategy.
“We also want to continue for people to respect and love the brand. There are other kids’ brands out there, but I think the really interesting thing about Nickelodeon is that kids love it. It’s not something you’re telling them they have to watch, they want to watch it for themselves – and that’s an incredibly valuable asset.”
Reaching Kids Where They Are
With the way that people consume content constantly evolving and changing, Borkent said that Paramount are making sure that “we are everywhere that kids are.”
Borkent: “In Australia, linear viewing is still very popular, and parents love the safe environment Nickelodeon provides as a free-to-air channel. It’s a trusted brand, they know they can put their kids in front of it. What we’ve also seen is that there is a lot more co-viewing and family viewing happening in every market since Covid. We’re focusing heavily on that, as far as platforms are concerned.
“As we mentioned, we have FAST channels, SVOD, and linear, but also we do a lot on YouTube. We have channels around our famous IPs on YouTube that are also incredibly popular.”
What Comes Next?
With 2024 on the horizon, Borkent said that there are already a number of projects in the works for next year and beyond.
Borkent: “Animation takes a long time to make, so we’re already planning for 2025 and 2026. In the immediate future, looking at 2024, we’re focusing heavily on the launch of Dora the Explorer and the new reimagining of that series. It’s SpongeBob’s 25th anniversary next year, so there’s going to be a big global celebration of that.
“With my international hat on, we’re really focusing on new content out there that we can find. Rock Island Mysteries is a great example of something that we did locally and made in Australia, but it’s for a global audience. That’s what I always look for, because for every great franchise we have, it’s also important to start building new franchises.”
Top Image: Jules Borkent and Beverley McGarvey
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