Nickelodeon growing on `tweenagers’

Aug 6, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Nickelodeon wants to make Nick Cannon a household name.
It is a case study in cross-platforming and synergy, and just one part of Nickelodeon’s overarching multimedia campaign to maintain and enhance its dominant position with “tweenagers.”
So says Albie Hecht, president of film and TV entertainment for Nickelodeon, TV Land and TNN, who recently concluded a partnership deal between Nick Records and Jive Records, part of the Zomba Label Group, which has a tween-fave roster that includes Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter and Nivea.
The first result of the Nick-Jive partnership will be the November release of the soundtrack for “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius,” a Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon Movies feature film due out in December. Another early result of the partnership will be Nick Cannon’s debut CD, scheduled for next February.
The multiyear, multirecord Jive deal is not jive by any means: It is potentially big bucks, and so is the plan to make Nick Cannon a tween movie star.
For members of generations other than Y, a definition may be in order:
“Tweens” are 9- to 14-year-olds who make up a once-overlooked demographic discovered in recent years by Madison Avenue and Hollywood and now recognized as a discretionary-income gold mine. According to one recent estimate, the annual economic impact of tweens and teens together is north of $120 billion.
Mr. Cannon is a well-known figure in Nick’s overlapping TV, online and musical worlds, and he may already be tired of hearing that he could be the next Will Smith. In fact, he starred in a recent pilot for The WB that was produced by Mr. Smith’s company.
This fall, Mr. Cannon, who comes from the world of stand-up comedy, will star in and executive-produce his own new Nick series, “The Nick Cannon Show,” a half-hour sketch comedy show.
He is a former cast member of “All That,” a Nick comedy series, and recently toured with a Nick music festival, where he performed his popular brand of family-friendly hip-hop.
“We hope to put him in a movie shortly,” Mr. Hecht said. According to Mr. Hecht, Mr. Cannon has “already got movies he wants to write and be in, and we have ideas for movies [where] we see him in a key role.”
Future Nick-Jive acts also will be more than just musicians, Mr. Hecht said. “From an A&R standpoint, we wouldn’t necessarily just be looking for an artist or a band that only did music. One of our criteria at Nick Records would be someone who can potentially perform in all those other media,” including magazines, online, TV, video games, movies, music and licensed products.
The Nickelodeon-Jive deal foresees Nick-branded compilation albums, soundtracks and artist albums. Jive Records will handle A&R/creation and front-line marketing, promotion and distribution while Nick will support the partnership with on-air campaigns and other marketing and cross-promotional events.
Nickelodeon is home to many tween hits, including “Kenan & Kel,” “Caitlin’s Way,” “Taina,” “As Told by Ginger,” “The Amanda Show” and “Clarissa Explains It All.”