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“Biebermania” at Nick Upfront

Nickelodeon’s upfront presentation at
New York’s Manhattan Center last
week featured network research
and a strong sales pitch from network president
Cyma Zarghami. But for many in the
crowd, it was all about The Bieber.

Justin Bieber, that is. The 16-year-old
Canadian pop singer (who has appeared
on Nick’s True Jackson, VP)
was the finale at the presentation,
and he had many attendees—
including some who looked to be at
least 10 years older than his target demo—
swooning and occasionally screaming.

Even Philippe Dauman couldn’t escape
the Biebermania. Standing onstage after
the presentation was concluded, the Viacom
CEO was pushed aside by a photographer
rushing to grab a shot of the teen star,
eliciting a laugh from the executive.

With Discovery and Syfy making their
own plays for kids this season, the kids upfront
market is about to become more competitive.
But Nick and its related brands are
poised to take the lion’s share of a market
said to be valued in the region of $1 billion.

In the crowd at last week’s upfront
were Viacom’s Paramount unit, Fox Studios,
Hasbro, Kraft, Sketchers, Kmart and
Sears, among others. And the ad sales staff
hit the VIP room immediately after the
presentation to start getting deals done. Spin
Master, a children’s entertainment company,
wrapped an exclusive deal with Nick for the
pre-Easter period.

Jim Perry, executive VP of 360 Brand
Sales at Nick and the MTV Kids and Family
Group, tells ADverse that Nick is emphasizing
the older-kids demos and says ad sales
have been picking up since
October. The division finished
fourth quarter up 20% in dollar
volume on the previous year’s quarter.
Perry adds that the momentum is continuing
in the first quarter as the pre-Easter sales
period gets underway.

Among the growing categories on the
kid-focused networks is theatrical films,
which is the No. 2 spender with the group
and expected to remain buoyant with Shrek
, Toy Story 3 and another Harry Potter
movie on the horizon.

“In new business,” Perry says, “we’ve
got the wireless and tech category finally
targeting kids for the first time.” Dell, Kodak
and HP have all been on-air in recent
months broadening out the segment.

Also on hand at the presentation were
iCarly’s Miranda Cosgrove, Victorious’ Victoria
Justice and M. Night Shyamalan, who
“Biebermania” at Nick Upfront wrote, directed and produced the upcoming
Nick film The Last Airbender.

Justice was particularly psyched about
her new show, which getting one of the
network’s top premiere time slots: right after
the 2010 Kids Choice Awards on March
27. Said Justice: “Best. Time Slot. Ever!”