By Elizabeth Jensen
Special to TelevisionWeek
When Nick Jr. launched its animated preschool show “Go, Diego, Go!” last fall, it was hard to find a media platform that didn’t have a glimpse of intrepid 8-year-old animal rescuer Diego Marquez, who got his own show after appearing as a character on “Dora the Explorer.” The new program was the first Nickelodeon premiere to be seen on every one of the Nick platforms, including the basic and digital cable channels and online.
Free video-on-demand was a major component of the launch as well, given Nick’s already strong presence there.
Nick Jr.’s challenge was to break through the clutter bombarding consumers and grab their attention at a time when viewing options are multiplying rapidly, leading to a splintering in viewing. “We really wanted to get `Diego’ out there in a big way,” said Lara Salamano, director of affiliate marketing. Also credited on the award is BethAnn Meier, who was manager of affiliate marketing at the time. She left Nick in June.
With so many options clamoring for viewer attention, “It’s up to us to make our content accessible,” said Ms. Salamano. “So we have now gone to a strategy of rolling this out in a multiplatform way.”
Nickelodeon’s free video-on-demand service is regularly top-ranked, so VOD was the first component of the “Diego” launch. On Aug. 1, 2005, five weeks before the series joined the Nick Jr. weekday lineup on Sept. 7, a full episode of the new series was made available on VOD, in both English and Spanish, on the Comcast, Charter and Cablevision systems. Cable affiliates also got some exclusive behind-the-scenes material on the series, such as interviews with the creators and talent, including Rosie Perez, the voice of Click the Camera. The full episode was available for three weeks.
Cross-channel spots helped promote the offering. On the Web, Charter and Cablevision launched microsites with games and activities to download; and Web banners promoted the sites. Nick Jr. helped create a print ad for Cablevision’s August channel guide featuring “Diego” and promoting the VOD premiere.
Ten days after the VOD launch, Nickjr.com streamed the same episode-in which Diego saved a mother sloth and her baby-which was its first stream of a full-length show. The episode was made available on the digital preschool service Noggin on Aug. 22, and a week later Nick released ringtones and video clips for cellphone and wireless devices. The Nickelodeon network televised a prime-time preview of the series the night before it joined Nick Jr.’s morning programming.
The barrage of promotion paid off. The series was the fourth-most-ordered Nick play of August, with 287,000 orders. “Diego” content was No. 2 on Cablevision’s Free on Demand offerings in August and No. 4 on Comcast. No Charter information was available because the systems were in a trial period.
By comparison, on the Nick Jr. Web site the episode was No. 1, with 104,000 video streams. On cable, 1.4 million total viewers watched on Noggin and 2.26 million watched the Nickelodeon premiere.
Within six weeks, on the linear Nick Jr. channel, “Go, Diego, Go!” was the second-most-watched show, behind “Dora the Explorer.” It has since passed “Dora” to take the top spot.