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Scatter matters for Nick Jr./CBS

Mar 5, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Nickelodeon didn’t take long to line up takers for scatter ad spots on its Nick Jr./CBS Saturday morning block. It signed three major companies to first-quarter scatter deals last week.
Scatter advertisers include Tootsie Roll, Disney Home Video and toy maker Microgames. They join Ford Motor Co., which Nickelodeon signed as its first Nick Jr./CBS sponsor in early February.
Disney and Microgames, first-time advertisers on CBS, bought first-quarter and second-quarter scatter spots. Tootsie Roll has signed a full calendar-year deal that also includes spots on Nickelodeon.
Nick Jr. on CBS is selling four minutes per hour, identical to Nick Jr. on Nickelodeon’s weekday inventory load. Also identical to Nick Jr. on Nickelodeon, spots will run at the top or bottom of every half-hour on a rotating basis.
Ford last month added scatter spots on Nick Jr./CBS, which will consist of sponsor IDs and 30-second commercials featuring Ford’s minivan.
Last summer the carmaker signed a long-term, multiplatform ad package with Nickelodeon.
Ford’s deal is anchored around the Nick Jr. series “Blues Clues.” It includes a licensing agreement that gives Ford rights to the series’ animated dog character “Blue,” who will serve as Ford’s official “spokespuppy” for safety.
Nickelodeon executives said demand for scatter spots on Nick Jr./CBS has been strong, and the network has already sold more than 50 percent of its scatter inventory.
“Based on our conversations with advertisers, we’d like to think there’s a pent-up demand for Nick Jr. on CBS,” said Susan Danaher, executive vice president and general sales manager for Nickelodeon. “Advertisers have been watching the numbers and saying, `You have a hit on your hands-can we get in?”’
Ms. Danaher said Nickelodeon’s overall scatter billings for the first quarter are up 60 percent over a year ago.
Nickelodeon declined to give dollar or CPM (cost-per-thousand) figures for its Nick Jr. scatter sales but said the block is selling even better than expected.
Since its arrival last fall Nick Jr. has increased CBS’s Saturday morning ratings over 270 percent in its core kids 2 to 5 demo.
More Nick Jr. scatter deals are in the works that could be closed as early as next week. “We’re still open for sale for the first and second quarters,” Ms. Danaher aid.
Some market observers said some of that Nick Jr. on CBS scatter money is coming out of broadcasters’ pockets.
“Options are available, and ABC’s ratings are down,” said one kids expert. “So some advertisers are looking at what options they have in the market.”
But some media buyers aren’t buying into Nickelodeon’s strategy of selling CBS’s Nick Jr. block on an a la carte basis and would prefer for Nickelodeon to sell it as part of its overall Nick Jr. package.
They’re just trying to isolate Nick Jr.,” said Shelly Hirsch, a leading kids buyer and president of Summit Media Group. “They’re saying, `You can buy Nick Jr. [on CBS] on its own, but you pay us a premium.’ I don’t mind being in it as long as its part of the [Nick Jr.] rotation. To isolate a specific budget, that’s not for me or my clients.”
Since its September launch, Nickelodeon has run CBS’s Nick Jr. block free of national ads and local advertising time, instead airing longer running times, interstitial wraparounds and on-air promotional spots to fill in the usual ad space time.
An outgrowth of last year’s Viacom-CBS merger, Nick Jr. on CBS is a three-hour Saturday morning block that features several of the same young kids’ series seen on Nickelodeon’s weekday Nick Jr. block. Series include “Dora the Explorer,” “Little Bear” and Bill Cosby’s “Little Bill.”