Viacom’s Nickelodeon has completed sales as part of TV’s annual efforts to secure advertising for the coming season, according to its head of ad sales, and expects to notch gains in volume of advance commitments from sponsors.
“I would say that we saw volume up single digits,” said Jim Perry, who oversees ad sales for Viacom’s Nickelodeon portfolio. He estimated the overall “upfront” market for kids’ TV – typically dominated by Nickelodeon and Time Warner’s Cartoon Network, with Walt Disney’s kids networks and other players also vying for cash – to be down in the “low to mid” single-digit percentage range. Advertisers typically commit around $800 million each year to kids’ TV.
The Nickelodeon network alone snared a little less than $1.04 billion in ad revenue in 2013, according to estimates from market-research firm SNL Kagan. Upfront commitments do not necessarily translate into year-end totals, which also comprise advertising that is sold as “scatter,”or closer to air date.
Perry believes the Nickelodeon networks benefited from interest by movie studios and retailers as well as marketers of technology and telecommunications. Spending by toy marketers was down slightly, he estimated, as was spending by food marketers, who have had to pull back from kids’ networks in the wake of increased regulation. Interest was robust in the unit’s new “Kids Choice Sports” awards as well as networks like Teen Nick and NickToons.
The gains in volume come in what is estimated to be a tepid upfront market for cable overall, with total volume for the sector believed to be down 5% or more – the first time cable upfront volume has slumped in many years. In July, Disney disclosed that it secured a 35% increase in advance ad commitments for its kids’ networks by agreeing to a lesser rate of increase in the CPMs – or price to reach 1,000 viewers – than it had accepted in 2013.