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How Nickelodeon’s new iPad app tries to tie families to cable TV

Published: Saturday, Feb. 23 2013 10:45 a.m. MST

Nickelodeon Launches The "Nick App" New Interactive Platform For iPad.

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The cable network Nickelodeon plans to release its new, much-anticipated iPad app on Thursday. An article in Wednesday’s New York Times gives the lay of the land for the new app — including why the media giant Viacom has such a vested interest in how this particular venture fares.

“Instead of simply making its programs available on tablets,” Amy Chozick wrote for the Times, “Nickelodeon designed its first app as a noisy, colorful smorgasbord of animated clips, irreverent music videos and the occasional deluge of the network’s trademark green slime. … As fun as it is supposed to be for children, the Nick app has serious implications for its parent company, Viacom, and for the entire television distribution business. The app represents the first attempt by a Viacom channel at TV Everywhere — the concept that paying customers can stream live and on-demand shows on all devices — that many television executives hope will keep viewers tied to their cable and satellite contracts.”

In a Jan. 31 conference call with business analysts, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman touted the forthcoming Nickelodeon app as the centerpiece of a strategy to stanch Nick’s ongoing ratings slide. As David Liebermann reported that same day for Deadline.com, Dauman decalred the new app will “allow us to grow in the future and will be different from anything you’ve seen in the marketplace. … (We’ve made) an unprecedented investment in content.”

Writing about the same conference call, the media news website C21Media’s Andrew McDonald quoted Dauman as saying, “Nickelodeon’s long-term strategy is to refine its programming filter for an audience that is purely post-millennial.”

A year ago, a Deseret News article reported about the curious case of Nickelodeon’s ratings slide: “Two months ago, with the release of the Nielsen ratings for November, the entertainment industry started taking note of Nickelodeon's unexpected ratings slide. … The Nielsen ratings for January show that Nickelodeon now stands on the brink of losing its long-held title as ‘the most-watched television network among children ages 2 to 11’ to the upstart Disney Channel.”

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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