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Comcast, Nick Team Up on VOD

Comcast is hoping an animated blue dog and yellow sponge will sell digital boxes and increase video-on-demand usage in August.

For a multimillion-dollar, monthlong promotion of VOD programming aimed at kids, Nickelodeon will provide the cable operator with exclusive content from such shows as Blues Clues and SpongeBob SquarePants, according to Nick vice president of affiliate marketing Juliette Morris.

The special content will be part of a Summer Camp VOD campaign that will be waged on television, online and in kiosks at malls across the country.

Online, Nickelodeon is already providing a Blues Clues retrospective and “favorite moments” content to Comcast’s broadband-video highlights service, The Fan.

Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob and other Nickelodeon characters will appear in Comcast kiosks in malls in Philadelphia, Denver, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Chicago beginning Aug. 15.

The moves are designed to help Comcast sell self-install kits for digital-cable boxes to potential customers.

The kits -- which are sold at 33 kiosks around the country -- will be wrapped with graphics for Nick’s toddler network, Noggin, and will be loaded with Noggin programming. This is designed to encourage consumers to upgrade to the digital service from analog.

Comcast will also send out direct-mail pieces touting the Noggin on-demand content to homes within 50 miles of the kiosks to help push the digital upgrades.

The campaign will also tout programming from several kids-targeted networks, including Comcast’s own PBS Sprout toddler-targeted service. But the main attraction will be the exclusive-for-VOD content from Nick.

Thompson said Nickelodeon shows such as Dora, SpongeBob and teen-targeted live-action show Drake & Josh are among the top 10 most-requested shows within Comcast’s existing on-demand programming for kids.

Nick will also place special emphasis on popular preschool show Blues Clues, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next month.

The network created a special category of VOD programming specifically for Blues Clues content.

In addition, Comcast VOD subscribers will have access to the premiere episode of another Nick Jr. series, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, one week prior to its television premiere on Nick.

To help promote its on-demand offerings, the network will for the first time make costumed characters from Dora, Fairly OddParents, SpongeBob and Franklin available to Comcast to film barker channel spots for Nick’s on-demand content.

In return, Comcast will run cross-channel spots promoting Nick content, including the network’s Blues Clues 10th-anniversary special and other linear-network programming.

R. Thomas Umstead
R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.