Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) held its annual Australian upfront event at Studio 3 at Crown Melbourne earlier this month for retailers, buyers and licensees from across Australia and New Zealand.
Even though the presentation included updates and plans for Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., MTV and Viacom’s other brands and properties on TV, online, at retail and in recreation, Claire O’Connor, vice president of consumer products and retail marketing for Asia Pacific, told Mediaweek the Nickelodeon brands account for the major part of revenues.
O’Connor and her team are on the road quite a bit each year visiting the world’s biggest toy fairs in addition to several Australian showcases including this annual March upfront. In May she will be in Las Vegas to keep up with what will be trending through 2018 and into 2019.
While many of the properties have universal appeal, O’Connor noted some are stronger in particular countries, particularly Shimmer & Shine which is very popular in Indonesia and Malaysia.
When asked about the biggest-ever property, O’Connor said: “That also changes region by region. In Asia we do fantastic business with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
She added that a hit TV show doesn’t necessarily translate into hit merchandise.
Although the toy and gift market works well in advance, it is not quite time yet to start selling the Christmas stock of licensed product.
Key properties this year were linked to PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Shimmer & Shine, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, SpongeBob SquarePants and the perennial MTV brand.
O’Connor noted 2017 could be the company’s largest ever with the launch of new properties Rusty Rivets and Nella the Princess Knight and new offerings surrounding its library of existing properties.
Senior VP and GM of Viacom International Media Networks Australia and New Zealand, Ben Richardson, said: “In 2016 we worked hard to be everywhere our audiences were and this is only going to grow in 2017. As a fans-first company, we are committed to creating content, consumer products, events and experiences that connect in exciting and meaningful ways. Our goal is for fans to watch it, play with it, wear it and share it with everyone they can.
“Our success is due to the combination of a strong content pipeline and the partnerships we form to create experiences for fans. We could not achieve this without our incredible partners who have been instrumental in building and maintaining our key properties.”
Ben Cox, the new general manager and vice president of Nickelodeon Networks Australia and New Zealand, said: “Last year, we launched more animated and live action content than ever before and continued to grow share of viewing audiences across broadcast and digital.” Cox added, “21 of the top 25 shows watched by kids 0-4 were on Nick Jr., Nickelodeon reached over 2.8 million viewers on subscription television alone, we attracted over 2.1 million page views across nick.com.au and nickjr.com.au and the Australian Nick Play app has been downloaded onto 245,000 devices.”
New pre-school properties
O’Connor explained the pre-school market for children aged 0-4 is expanding faster than any others. Highlights for that market include:
• Nickelodeon has partnered with Spin Master to co-produce Rusty Rivets. Rooted in the Maker Movement, Rusty Rivets encourages kids to use their imagination to design and create new inventions. The series premiered on Nick Jr. on Monday March 13 with toys planned for release within the next year.
• Nella the Princess Knight is a brand-new animated pre-school series following Nella, an unconventional 8-year-old who possesses the royal qualities of a princess such as compassion and grace, while also embodying the courage and determination of a brave knight. Nella the Princess Knight features a social-emotional curriculum promoting self-confidence, inclusiveness and compassion for others and premieres on Nick Jr. on May 1, with products launching in 2018.
What’s next for TMNT
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to build a strong profile through extensive reach across TV, online, apps and, last year, in cinema. In 2016 the characters connected with Australian fans via collaborations with the AFL, Kinder Surprise Eggs, McDonald’s Happy Meals, The Langham Hotel Melbourne, Peter Alexander sleepwear and Kellogg’s cereal. Season five of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will launch on Nickelodeon Australia in May 2017. Nickelodeon will re-imagine Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with an all-new 26-episode 2D-animated series launching in the US in 2018 (Australian debut to be announced). Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (working title) will follow the brothers as they encounter new allies and villains beneath the streets of New York City.
Photo: Front Row [L-R] – Cassandra Chan, senior manager, retail marketing and licensing ANZ; Yvonne King, director, Haven Global; Claire O’Connor, VP, consumer products and retail marketing APAC; Back Row [L-R] – Ben Cox, VP & GM, Nickelodeon Networks ANZ; Tom Punch, MD, Haven Global; Ben Richardson, SVP & GM, Viacom International Media Networks ANZ