CANNES — Mipcom Junior wrapped Sunday with a pledge from Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group prexy Cyma Zarghami that program budgets for next year would not be cut.
Zarghami’s comment followed an upbeat keynote address and was validated with two thumbs up from Viacom prexy-CEO Philippe Dauman, who was in the audience.
Zarghami said recent research commissioned by the company had challenged some commonly held assumptions about kids’ viewing habits, causing the company to adjust its product.
It showed that kids were watching the same number of hours on traditional TV as 10 years ago, but their expectations and needs had changed.
Children are now watching more TV with their parents and are more interested in the world of work.
This knowledge had prompted the launch of comedy “True Jackson, VP,” in which a 15-year-old girl becomes a senior exec in a fashion company. The show launches in the U.S. in November and globally next year.
“What kids told us after testing the pilot was how they loved the idea of a kid in a job in the grownup world. So what started as an idea centered around fashion becomes something much richer and more relevant to what kids want,” Zarghami said.
Then there’s “iCarly,” a comedy about an Internet show run by kids. The series incorporates user-generated content into the storylines in a way that seems natural and unforced. Nick has launched website iCarly.com in 15 markets so far.
“What’s so innovative about this show is the organic connection between the Web and TV build into the narrative conceit of the series,” she said.
Zarghami cited Nick’s partnerships with Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation on “The Penguins of Madagascar,” which preems in March, and with Michael Eisner on “Glenn Martin, DDS” as examples of collaborative efforts that are paying off.
MTV Networks Intl. unveiled a number of sales on Nick shows at Mipcom Junior.
It has inked 13 deals for its Asian-inspired animated series “Avatar,” including for TV2 in Denmark, 2×2 in Russia and ETB in Spain.
Preschool series “Dora the Explorer” has been sold to NRK Norway, TV2 Denmark and SABC South Africa.