Nick Bullish on Kids’ Market

New York— Jim Perry foresees a solid kids’ upfront marketplace.

Nickelodeon’s senior vice president of integrated advertising sales anticipates that kids’ upfront volume will grow in the mid-single digits, up from the $800 million to $850 million generated a year ago.

“There are a lot of similarities to last year, but there’s a difference because [gross ratings points] are down about 10% overall. That should mean a quick-moving market,” said Perry, who likes Nick’s position. He said the network has registered a 2-point share gain and now controls 53% of kids GRPs. Nick also has laid in about a third of its upfront base via multiyear deals with studios, toy and food marketers.

Conversely, the pace of deal-making could slow because buyers and sellers are both placing more emphasis on multiplatform deals, which often take longer to negotiate.

That’s a position Perry wants to be in.

“No one else has the unified brand we do on so many platforms. Kids and marketers are not only interested in online and broadband, but video-on-demand, podcasting and the gaming space,” he said.

Nick has plenty to peddle, too, as the Madison Avenue community found out at its presentation at the Nokia Theatre Thursday morning.

Launching this week are video podcasts for various TEENick shows, starting with Zoey 101. They will be available on iTunes and The latter, over the course of 2006-07, also will be home to a “New Game of the Week” titles.

On the small screen, Nick and Nick Jr. will premiere 254 new episodes of original programming during the next TV season, including pickups from such ongoing series as Drake & Josh, LazyTown, SpongeBob SquarePants and Go, Diego, Go!

Upcoming new series include: the live-action The Lil’ JJ Show, featuring the actor/comedian; Tak and the Power of JuJu, a CGI adventure comedy developed from the video game series. Also coming is Mr. Meaty — developed from shorts on the TurboNick broadband platform — which set in a fast-food franchise and focuses on the exploits of teen-age slackers, Josh and Parker.