Nick characters move from the living room to the bedroom
Kids can get a little closer to actually living in SpongeBob’s Bikini Bottom digs next month, when Nickelodeon dives into the realm of home décor. Hooking up with Lowe’s chain of home improvement stores, Nick will launch a line of paint to coordinate with decorating kits based on SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues, Oswald, Jimmy Neutron and Rugrats. The decorating kits (US$14.99 each) are made by Borders Unlimited and come with paint stamps and removable wall appliques, and the paint (US$22.97 to US$26.97) comes in colors like Rugrats Reptar Green and Oswald Octopus Marshmallow Yellow.
Sherice Guillory, VP of home, gift and packaged goods for Nickelodeon Consumer Products, says the partnership with Lowe’s marks the beginning of a comprehensive program to further entrench Nick’s brands in the up-and-coming category. Guillory cites the popularity of kids lines at houseware meccas like Pottery Barn, as well as the kidification of adult remodeling shows à la Discovery Kids’ fall-launching Trading Spaces Kids: Boys vs. Girls, as evidence that the home décor category is heating up.
Pocket PC and GBA raise the portable entertainment bar
Kids on the go will soon be able to take their favorite movies and TV shows with them using technology they already own. Pocket PC Films, a Sherman Oaks, California-based company that distributes movies designed to play on a handheld computer, has teamed up with Abrams Gentile Entertainment’s just-formed New York subsidiary Pocketainment Entertainment to bring digital video to Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP through the Pocket Pix Cartridge. The cartridge connects the GBA to a PC, where kids can download up to 75 minutes of video from Pocket PC Films disks.
The Pocket Pix Cartridge (US$59.95) debuts at E3 in L.A. this month before hitting shelves later in May. The cartridge will be bundled with headphones, an SD media card, a sample movie and a code to download another free film from the Internet. The package (minus the SD card) will also be available for purchase on-line at www.filminhand.com for US$39.95.
‘We were a bit surprised when we discovered how well our kids titles were selling,’ says Darrell Griffin, president of Pocket PC Films, He adds that with an installed base in the tens of millions, the GBA seemed to be the ideal platform from which to segue Pocket PC’s services into the lucrative kids market. Two of the company’s top-selling titles last year (moving 2,000 units in Q1 alone) were Sing-a-Long Around the World With Madeline (US$14.99) and Kids Picks (US$9.99), a compilation of three classic movies. Griffin says Pocket PC’s series of extreme sports titles (US$12.99) was popular with tween boys, as was the campy classic Hercules in New York (US$14.99).
Pocket PC currently has distribution deals with several companies in place (including Lions Gate Entertainment) and is in discussions with three studios and a few TV property owners to add more films and kids series to its roster. ‘The mobile entertainment market is a whole new area for most content producers,’ Griffin says. ‘A couple of companies like Intel and RCA are producing video-only sets with the same size of screen. What we’re doing is selling to a platform that the family already has.’