In the next step in its software strategy, Nickelodeon has signed an exclusive five-year worldwide deal with Humongous Entertainment to create a line of CD-ROMs based on the preschool program Blue’s Clues.
Earlier this year, Nickelodeon announced an exclusive five-year agreement with Br¿derbund Software for Rugrats (see KidScreen’s June 1997 issue, ‘Nickelodeon and Br¿derbund team up for Rugrats,’ page 79). THQ holds the license for Rugrats video games.
Three Nickelodeon CD-ROMs and three Nintendo titles have previously been released by now-defunct Viacom New Media.
Tom Ascheim, vice president of business development, publishing and multimedia at Nickelodeon, acknowledges the high level of competition for shelf space and consumer attention in the kids software business. For that reason, the cable channel is focusing on a few hit properties. ‘It’s very important that we go out and establish ourselves as a success in the market. And we’re very confident that Rugrats and Blue’s Clues will do that for us,’ he says. ‘We’ll use that to drive the success of our [other] properties.’
For its part, Humongous Entertainment is becoming a licensee for the first time. While Ralph Giuffre, executive vice president of marketing and licensing, says the company does not plan to veer away from its history of creating original characters such as Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish and Pajama Sam, the show’s play-along nature makes for a simple transition to an interactive CD-ROM.
Giuffre also admits that the Nickelodeon name goes a long way with kids, and this helped to win them over as a licensee.
The first title is planned for release in late summer or early fall 1998, and will feature the actors and character voices from the series. The deal calls for at least four titles to be produced.