Nick block ads rock

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TEENick, the upstart Sunday evening programming block on Viacom's Nickelodeon, is finally making some headway in its quest for the tween-targeted kids' brands.

The joint venture of Procter & Gamble Co. and Coca-Cola Co., along with Sega of America and Jive Records' 'N Sync, are new advertisers who have bought into the block recently. The joint venture's buy is part of the $300 million deal P&G made with Viacom Plus some weeks ago (AA, May 7), and includes sponsorship of a summer TEENick music festival.

"It's tough to crack with something new to market," said Sue Danaher, exec VP-general sales manager for Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite and TVLand. "But we are growing the pie. We are going after tween money, mom's money. We are reshaping Nickelodeon."

Movie companies, too, have bought into Nick's tween block in recent weeks, including Fox Filmed Entertainment, Walt Disney Co.'s Buena Vista Motion Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Miramax Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Pictures. Especially in the summer, teen- and tween-targeted movies become a major push for studios. Nickelodeon, for instance, did a major promotion with DreamWorks' "Shrek."

TEENick is a 2 1/2-hour block, mixing animated and live-action shows. It runs from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and includes programs "Kenan & Kel," "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper," "Taina," "As Told By Ginger" and "Caitlin's Way."

TEENick, launched in March, is the first programming block where Nickelodeon offers ratings guarantees to advertisers for the kids' 9 to 14 demographic. Since the block began in March, ratings in the age 9 to 14 demographic on Sunday evening have risen 14%, said Ms. Danaher. The programming block is now averaging a 3.6 rating/12 share and 690,000 average viewers among tweens in that age group.

"[TEENick] makes great sense," said Doug Seay, senior VP-director of national broadcast at Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, New York. "There is a bigger market for this demo. There are always companies looking for new markets, such as computers and cellphones."

Some TEENick deals were part of the slow-moving kids' upfront, said Ms. Danaher, noting that Nickelodeon as whole is more than 70% sold out of its allotted inventory. Additionally, Nick Jr., the Saturday morning programming block on sister network CBS, is at least 65% sold.

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