With almost a year of air time under its belt, MTV Networks Latin America’s 24-hour dedicated preschool channel Nick Jr. Latin America is inching closer to producing homegrown series. In the meantime it’s working on expanding carriage across the vast territory.
Tatiana Rodriguez, who was recently promoted to SVP of programming and creative strategy for Nick Latin America, says she’d like to replicate the success the mothercorp has had in creating live-action co-productions and animated series that target the preschool audience. Her plan is to eventually have a 70/30 split between original programming and acquisitions, but says the immediate focus on broadening channel distribution is putting original production on the backburner.
Cablevision and satellite broadcaster Sky TV carry Nick Jr. in 22 countries in Latin America via two feeds – a Spanish-language feed for Latin America and a Portuguese one for Brazil. So far the channel has 2.7 million subscribers. The network also has a multi-platform program set up, and offers its top programs on VOD and broadband via Nickelodeon’s channel extension NickTurbo, set up within the Nick Latin America site (www.mundonick.com/nickturbo). The net also has a 2.5-hour Nick Jr. block running on Nickelodeon to serve households in areas where the 24/7 channel is still unavailable.
Taking a page from the launch of its 24-hour Nick Jr. counterparts in the UK and Australia, the channel’s bread-and-butter programming is drawn from the brand’s original slate that includes Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, Blue’s Clues and Wonder Pets! One of its latest productions, Ni Hao, Kai-lan, bowed simultaneously on the full channel and the Nick Jr. block on Nickelodeon Latin America in February. The broadcaster also made its first acquisition with sister net Nick Jr. UK, picking up E1′s Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom.
Though Rodriguez isn’t ready to jump into production waters just yet, she is eyeing more acquisitions and potential future co-productions. She has an open pitch policy and will have her eyes open at MIPTV for preschool shows with humor and music, and ultimately would like to be involved with a series from the development stage.
As for what’s performing right now, Dora is by far the queen of the channel, says Rodriguez, noting somewhat interestingly that the channel never positioned the pint-sized heroine as a Latin girl. ‘We cover 22 territories, and every kid in Latin America thinks that Dora is from their own country.’
In the meantime, the channel is infusing locally produced content gradually via short-format interstitials made in Latin America and hosted segments on each of the feeds that feature localized animated characters.
Notably, the channel extends a bit past the target demo, drawing in older kids. For example, a show that is tailored for kids three to five may still perform really well with kids up to age eight. ‘[Latin American kids] are very protected in the family and remain little kids a bit longer,’ says Rodriguez. KC