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Nickelodeon Taking Unique, Kid-Focused Approach to Upfront Event

by Emily Nagle

On March 18 at 4 p.m., Nickelodeon will be hosting its first upfront event since 2018, which will put a fun, fresh twist on the traditional media presentation by appealing to their target audience in addition to media executives.

The half-hour showcase, titled Nickelodeon Virtual Upfront Show: Bring Your Kids!, will feature live-action and animated segments. Contrasting greatly from your average Zoom conference, viewers will hear from some of the channel’s most beloved characters and stars about the network’s plan to flourish, and what the brand states will be their widest content slate in their more than 40 years in children’s television.

President of Nickelodeon Brian Robbins explained in an interview with Variety that this new format was inspired by people spending more time at home and online this past year due to the pandemic. “We thought, ‘Why not do an upfront through the eyes of the audience, as opposed to the eyes of the partners?’” he elaborates. “Since families are home together, and a lot of our partners have children, let’s make something that can be a co-viewing event.”

The virtual upfront show will feature characters and stars from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., including the hit show Paw Patrol and the Blue’s Clues reboot series, Blue’s Clues & You!.

News of this event has broken less than a week after WarnerMedia announced their plans to expand their children’s programming sector, making Cartoon Network the main focus of the media conglomerate’s Children and Family division. Disney, too, is broadening their appeal by adding more to their streaming lineups on Disney+ and Hulu, the former of which recently achieved 86.8 million subscribers after only a year on the market. As for Nickelodeon, its content is set to be available on ViacomCBS’s upcoming streaming service Paramount Plus (launching March 4), including hits like iCarly and a Spongebob Squarepants spin-off series titled Kamp Koral.

Streaming services have revolutionized the media viewing experience, causing the amount of people who watch live programs to plummet, especially for children’s networks. Viewership for Disney, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon over the past year has decreased by more than 30%. As a result, the March 18 showcase will focus on more than just live programming, explaining the significance of children’s content on streaming platforms and revealing more about what is in store for Paramount Plus.

CBS All Access will be rebranding as Paramount+ on March 4, and will boast content from Nickelodeon as well as the company’s other properties, such as CBS, MTV, and Comedy Central.