Nickelodeon’s TurboNick to Surround Viewers with Video

Advertisers are showing interest in the new ad-supported broadband channel from Nickelodeon, called TurboNick. The site offers exclusive video content and teasers for upcoming TV programs, but analysts describe it as light on interactivity.

Separately, sister channel VH1 introduced VSpot, a “hybrid” broadband offering with three content channels. Both are units of Viacom’s MTV Networks.

Available through the Nick.com Web site, TurboNick will divide content into six channels with video segments ranging from :30 clips to 22-minute segments. Programming will consist of shows brought over from the TV channel and original content totaling up to 20 hours of new video material each week. VH1’s Vspot, meanwhile, will offer up interviews and sneak peaks of on-air shows.

At launch, Nickelodeon has commitments from Topps, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Activision and Sony Pictures. TurboNick is using Nick’s existing sales force to sell the advertising, consisting of pre-roll :15 and :30 spots appearing no more than once within a five-minute period.

“The advertising we are seeing is a digital version of on-air creative,” said Kevin Arrix, vice president of ad sales for Nickelodeon. “But I think the market will go to ads specifically created for the online environment. There is opportunity to think beyond the television commercial.”

The site will be heavily promoted on Nickelodeon, and will in turn be used to promote new shows on the TV channel. For instance, an 11-minute clip from the show “Catscratch,” entitled “Go, Gomez, Go,” will be viewable on the site until the July 9 broadcast premiere of the show.

“We know that kids are on different platforms, even at the same time,” said Nickelodeon Online SVP and GM Mike Skagerlind. “We are following the audience, creating a mosaic of offerings in the TV, broadband and mobile space.”

New content on TurboNick suffers a bit from a lack of interactivity, according to JupiterResearch Senior Analyst David Card, who noted a striking contrast to the highly interactive Nick.com.

“[Nickelodeon] needs to surround video with interactive stuff. I suspect that in the future there will be less distinction between Nick.com and TurboNick,” he said.

Skagerlind said that would change over time. “We are still figuring out how kids will use this. One plan is to allow kids to vote on what they see.”

The launch of TurboNick and VSpot demonstrate parent company Viacom’s commitment to creating an online presence in recent months. Viacom purchased Neopets last month, and April saw the launch of MTV’s Overdrive broadband channel.

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