'Wonder Pets’ Get Online, Phone Push

Nickelodeon is tapping all of its platforms to promote its newest preschool series, The Wonder Pets!

The 20-episode animated “mini-operetta” series, which features three classroom pets who sing opera and travel the world, will gain exposure through the Nickjr.com broadband service, as well as Verizon’s V Cast mobile phone offering, before launching March 3 on both Nick Jr. and Noggin.

“We really hope that it just builds the audience and gives our audience a place to see new content where they are,” said Karen Driscoll, senior vice president of Nickelodeon strategic marketing. “So if you’re a Noggin or Nick Jr. person, if you’re online or on the phone, we’re getting the shows to the viewers.”

On Feb. 24, Nick Jr. will offer character and adventure clips from the show, featuring photo-puppetry animation, on Verizon Wireless’ V Cast wireless broadband service, followed by the show’s March 3 one-hour simultaneous premiere on both Nick Jr. and Noggin at 10:30 a.m., Driscoll said. The Wonder Pets! will then air regularly on Nick Jr. weekdays at 11:30 a.m.

The Nick Jr. Video broadband service on Nickjr.com, which last Friday (Feb. 17) began streaming 12-minute “sneak peeks” of the show’s second episode, along with character and adventure clips, will also stream the premiere installment on March 3. Short segments from the series are already airing on Nick’s Parenttv.com site.

The multiplatform launch of The Wonder Pets! follows a similar initiative behind the debut of Go, Diego, Go! last summer.

Along with the various platform launches, Nickelodeon will look to build awareness of the show thorough traditional marketing efforts, including running spots on both cable and broadcast networks and print ads in Parents, Parenting and Scholastic Parent and Child.

“We’re also partnering with Scholastic [Inc.] to run an ad for the show on Scholastic’s Web site, which will reach about 45,000 teachers,” Driscoll said.

Beginning today (Feb. 20), Nick Jr. on-air will ask preschoolers to go online to tell the Wonder Pets that an animal is in trouble and they need to save the day. NickJr.com will then feature a phone game where kids can “call” the pets to rescue the animals, said the network.

On the affiliate side, Comcast Corp., in addition to promoting the show on its video-on-demand service, will team with the programmer on cross-channel spots and ads in 26 malls within the MSO’s markets. The show will also be distributed on an on-demand basis by Cox Communications Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Charter Communications Corp., beginning March 6.

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.