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Nick, Sony to Collaborate

Taking a page from Disney Channel's songbook, Nickelodeon and Sony will perform together under a four-year partnership that is expected to yield several TV and music projects.

The pact calls for the development and production of projects ranging from series and telefilms that will air on the kids channel, to upward of 14 CDs from Nick on-air talent and content over the life of the deal, according to Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group.

The first project: a fall soundtrack release from the first season of Nickelodeon's tween-targeted The Naked Brothers Band series.

Zarghami also said a number of upcoming musical projects will come from its Nick Jr. preschool-programming block. “Through this deal with Sony, we will have a steady pipeline of creative ideas for great projects relevant to our audience,” she said.

Nickelodeon and Sony have worked together in the past, collaborating since 2004 on several CD releases, including last year's Dora the Explorer-based CD that sold more than 500,000 units.

But Nick's music sales have paled in comparison to those of competitor Disney Channel. Taking aim at 9-to-14-year-olds, the tween-targeted network sold more than 10 million records last year through the combined soundtrack sales from its original movies, The Cheetah Girls 2 and High School Musical, as well as its original series, Hannah Montana.

“Clearly, Disney proved that there's a tween appetite for music, and clearly the music business believes that this is an audience that's interested,” she said. “You can't deny that the success of Disney over that past year has made it feel that it's a business worth being in, but it's a direction that we would have headed in anyway.”

Rob Stringer, chairman of Sony Music Label Group, said in a statement that the company is “looking forward to sharing our music with the innovative creative team at Nickelodeon, and together we will launch new talent that will be featured on their programming.”

The deal follows on the heels of recently announced Nickelodeon partnership deal with Marriott International to develop several Nick-branded hotel resorts around the world (“Nick, Marriott Open a Resort,” June 4, 2007, p. 12).