With almost three months of air time under its belt, new cabsat net Nick Jr. France is building an audience with the country’s three- to seven-year-olds largely with programming drawn from the brand’s original offerings.
The ad-supported channel debuted on satellite platform CanalSat as part of its family package on January 26 and currently reaches three million households through cable, satellite and IPTV. In comparison, sister net Nickelodeon France, which targets the seven to 14 set, boasts 5.5 million French subscribers via CanalSat’s basic tier channels.
The channel recently appointed Pierre Hergaut as director of programming for Nick and Nick Jr. Hergaut joined Nickelodeon from Orange TV and Canal+, where he worked specifically on children’s programming.
Hergaut says so far Dora the Explorer, whose French iteration teaches English basics, is hands down the channel’s most popular show. He adds that Nick staples Go, Diego, Go!, The Backyardigans and Ni Hao, Kai- Lan are also popular due to their exposure on various FTA channels in the region. Additionally, he expects soon-to-debut The Wonder Pets! (Little Airplane Productions), Olivia (Chorion) and Nick newcomer Team Umizoomi to hit it big with his growing audience.
So for the time being, Nick content will be what sets the channel apart from its main competitors, which include longtime French outlets Tiji, Piwi and Playhouse Disney. Hergaut says it’s still too early to talk about original programming for Nick Jr. France and he won’t be commissioning anything in 2010. In terms of local content that’s working, he points to acquired French animated series Pablo the Little Red Fox (Millimages), which airs daily.
Beyond relying on Nick’s bread-and-butter hit properties, the channel has invested in picking up proven series like Postman Pat (Classic Media) and Pocoyo (ITV/Zinkia) to round out the schedule. In terms of future acquisitions, Hergaut says he’s open to all types of formats and will look for programming that allows kids to learn through playful, interactive and stimulating concepts.
Nick Jr. France has tailored the sked to fit with the local educational custom of schools granting kids Wednesdays off or scheduling a partial day’s classes. Thus it offers alternate programming on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. As for key dayparts, Hergaut says they are before school, lunch time and after school.
As for cross-platform programming, the Nick Jr. website, as well as iPhone apps, are up and running, and some of the more popular series such as Dora and Go, Diego, Go! are available on iTunes France. Hergaut says his team has also created an exclusive Dora web-TV portal for broadcast partner CanalSat, which includes a three-hour loop of the series that gets refreshed on a regular basis.