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VOD Push 'Clues’ In Kids

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

For a monthlong promotion of video-on-demand programming aimed at kids, Nickelodeon will provide the cable operator with exclusive content from such shows as Blue’s Clues and SpongeBob SquarePants, according to Nick vice president of affiliate marketing Juliette Morris.

The special content will be part of a “Summer Camp” video-on-demand campaign that will be waged on television, online and in shopping-mall kiosks across the country.

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

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

The intiatives are designed to help Comcast sell digital-cable box self-installation kits to potential customers.

The kits, sold at 33 kiosk locations around the country, will be wrapped with graphics touting Noggin, Nickelodeon’s digital network for toddlers, and will be loaded with that channel’s 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.

“We know that when we move a customer from having analog service to digital service it cuts the churn in half, and we know when a digital customer uses VOD, the churn falls roughly in half again,” Comcast senior vice president and general manager of video products Page Thompson said. “It’s all about getting an analog customer to get a digital box and to then explain to that customer the great content that’s available.”

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

The Summer Camp campaign starts tomorrow., Aug. 1. Comcast will offer exclusive-for-VOD programming from such Nick hits Dora The Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, Avatar, Zoey 101 and Drake & Josh, as well as SpongeBob SquarePants.

Nick will also place special emphasis on the popular pre-school show Blue’s Clues, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next month. Nickelodeon has created a special category of VOD programming specifically for Blues Clues content, according to director of affiliate marketing Lara Salamano.

The area will feature six episodes featuring former Blue’s Clues host “Steve” and five featuring current host “Joe,” as well as other content. The show’s 10th-anniversary special will also appear on the site immediately after it airs on Nickelodeon.

“It gave us a chance to really leverage Blue’s Clues and to really beef up our VOD offerings,” said Salamano.

In addition, Comcast VOD subscribers will have access to the premiere episode of another Nick Jr. series, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Aug. 21, a week prior to its traditional television debut on Nickelodeon.

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

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