Thursday, May 04, 2017

Nickelodeon Announces Plans For "Henry Danger" Movie; Confirms "SpongeBob SquarePants" And "The Loud House" Movies

Cyma Zarghami, the President of Viacom's Nickelodeon Group, has announced that Nickelodeon is currently developing plans for a Henry Danger theatrical movie that will be based on Nickelodeon's number-one live-action series! Zarghami announced the super news during Viacom's 2Q17 financial results conference call.

The news follows Nickelodeon recently announcing plans for The Adventures of Kid Danger and Captain Man (working title), a brand-new animated series inspired by the superhero-themed comedy series. The half-hour series has been picked up for an initial order of 10 episodes and follows the heroic Kid Danger and Captain Man as they face new adventures—battling bizarre criminals and super villains with their sharp wit and amazing crime-fighting skills.

The original Henry Danger live-action cast will continue their roles, now as voice talent, on the new animated show: Jace Norman as “Henry Hart/Kid Danger;” Cooper Barnes as “Ray/Captain Man;” Riele Downs as “Charlotte;” Sean Ryan Fox as “Jasper;” Ella Anderson as “Piper Hart;” Michael D. Cohen as “Schwoz;” and Jeffrey Nicholas Brown as “Mr. Hart.”

During the conference call, Zarghami also confirmed plans for a third brand-new SpongeBob SquarePants theatrical movie, and a brand-new The Loud House theatrical movie.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Nickelodeon President Confirms New SpongeBob Film

Cyma Zarghami discussed the success of the conglomerate's biggest business, with Viacom CEO Bob Bakish saying it provides a strategic blueprint for all of the company's brands.

Cyma Zarghami, president of Viacom's Nickelodeon Group, made a guest appearance on the entertainment conglomerate's quarterly earnings conference call on Thursday to discuss the success of Nickelodeon, which is the entertainment company's biggest business.

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish introduced her by highlighting that Nickelodeon has been a great example for the new strategy the company has started pursuing under him. That includes focusing on flagship brands, making them international players, pursuing an aggressive programming strategy, developing branded movies with Paramount, as well as building out licensing, merchandise and retail opportunities.

As such, Bakish suggested that Nickelodeon's approach provides a blueprint for the rest of Viacom's businesses, saying it has set itself up to do what the company wants all its core brands to do. "Under Cyma Zarghami, Nickelodeon has already built a strong foundation for what we’re trying to achieve with all our flagship brands," he said.

Nickelodeon has been such rivals as the Disney Channel after several years ago being viewed by Wall Street as ratings and growth challenged.

Zarghami shared some of her strategies and insights into the success, including highlighting that the brand has been able to create more content via a centralized approach to international production.

She lauded her Nickelodeon team for continuously rolling out fresh content and using cross-platform marketing efforts to support programming.

Highlighting key brands, she mentioned Paw Patrol as the no. 1 preschool property. And she said that "we are also laying the groundwork for the launch next year of an all-new animated series for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

She also confirmed that there would be another SpongeBob movie with Paramount, saying "there will definitely be another SpongeBob movie."

Zarghami said they are developing film projects for Nickelodeon series Henry Danger and The Loud House.

Bakish said before the development of new hit brands, the network was often sees as the SpongeBob channel.

Merchandising products and in-person experiences, such as in theme parks, are also continuously being developed at Nickelodeon, she said. And she mentioned the recent creation of an entertainment lab, a technology incubator for experimenting with virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

And she vowed: "We will continue to be laser-focused on cementing our brand position in the hearts and minds of the next generation of kids and families."

It wasn't immediately clear if other top executives from different parts of Viacom could appear on future earnings calls. But the company's decision to let Wall Street hear from a key executive and get a better understanding of her strategy is in contrast to former CEO Philippe Dauman who tended not to share the spotlight much.

Bakish has made clear that the success of Viacom will not all depend on him, but a broader leadership team and staff across the company.

Tweeted BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield: "#interesting $VIAB Head of @Nickelodeon is on the @Viacom earnings call – believe that has never happened before#."


Also, from Deadline:

Viacom: New ‘SpongeBob’ Movie In Works, And China Film Financing Deal “On Track”

Viacom shares nosedived more than 8.5% in early trading this morning despite some news nuggets in its quarterly call with analysts designed to excite investors about CEO Bob Bakish’s effort to revive the company.

Nickelodeon chief Cyma Zarghami says that “there will definitely be another SpongeBob movie.”

And the company says that its deal with Shanghai Film Group and Hua Hua Media to invest $1 billion in Paramount’s movie slate is done with execution “on track.” It could be raised to cover 30% of expenses instead of 25%. The three year deal that begins with the 2017 slate has an option for a fourth year.

“Despite everything that’s been written, we’ve never really had concerns about payment,” CFO Wade Davis says. If the commitment is raised to 30%, then that would represent “upside” for Viacom’s finances this year, he adds. “There may or not be impact in the forward years.”

Still, Bakish fed the growing belief that the pay TV business is weakening by acknowledging that “we’re seeing some softness, too” in pay TV subscriptions — a trend that has also appeared in recent reports from cable and satellite distributors.

He says that should be “a rallying cry for the industry.” He remains optimistic about the possibility — that Viacom, Discovery and AMC Networks are talking to distributors about — to create a no-news, no-sports entertainment package of channels “as a low priced entry point for people not participating in the [pay TV] ecosystem.”

Viacom is trying to mend fences with distributors after a few — led by Suddenlink and Cable One — dropped the company, saying its networks are too expensive. To that end, the company will license some shows, but not a “high volume,” to subscription VOD services such as Netflix.

The CEO says he’s “optimistic” about the upfront ad sales market calling Viacom “well positioned.”

For example, the company is offering some advertisers opportunities to participate in the rebranding of Spike into the Paramount Network. “That’s absolutely part of the dialogue,” he says.

Bakish lauded recently named Paramount chief Jim Gianopoulis as “smart, seasoned with the operating experience” to lead the studio along with his “strong creative relationships.”

The CEO says that MTV — which has had “some bumps in the road” — will have a “renewed focus on unscripted” programming, including eight new shows and a live afternoon programming block.

“This thing is going somewhere,” he says.

Zarghami talked up her network’s efforts to build its businesses. The network now has on-air talent that’s “smart, relatable and diverse,” she says.

Nick will boost its programming to about 700 episodes of new and returning series that “delivers results across platforms and geographies” and involves “only modest increases in production budgets.”

One series, The Loud House, has “SpongeBob-sized ratings in the U.S.,” she says.

At Comedy Central, Bakish says that The Daily Show With Trevor Noah is “starting to hit it.”


Also, from Kidscreen:

As Nickelodeon ratings rise, new SpongeBob movie is a go

The continuing strength of Nickelodeon, which helped Viacom's revenue jump 8% in Q2, has given way to a newly ramped-up kids movie slate from Paramount.

Despite a 60% profit decline, Viacom reported strong Q2 performances for kidsnet Nickelodeon and the company’s Filmed Entertainment business.

Driven by hit series like The Loud House and PAW Patrol, Nickelodeon delivered 6% year-over-year ratings growth with kids ages six to 11, and 5% growth among two- to 11-year-olds.

The network also claimed to have all of top 10 television programs in Q2 with both of the aforementioned demos, and four of the top five preschool shows.

And according to Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami, who sat in on the media conglomerate’s second quarter Thursday conference call, a new SpongeBob SquarePants theatrical feature with Paramount is in the works, along with film adaptations of The Loud House and Henry Danger.

The film announcements come on the heels of a new Viacom strategy that will see Paramount’s film slate include co-branded releases from each of Viacom’s flagship brands, as well as Paramount-branded films. A slate of four Nick/Paramount theatrical films was announced in February, with the first, Amusement Park, set to premiere in summer 2018. It will be followed by a Nick TV series adaptation in 2019. (Paramount Pictures is now under the leadership of industry vet Jim Gianopulos, who took the reins in March.)

According to movie database IMDb, a third SpongeBob movie following 2015′s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (pictured) and 2004′s The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is expected to launch in 2019.

Looking at Viacom’s overall Q2 results, revenue increased 8% to US$3.26 billion, driven by rises in Filmed Entertainment (37% to US$895 million), Worldwide Affiliate revenue (1% domestic, 10% international) and the ongoing strength of its International Media Networks division (2% bump).

Advertising revenues, however, fell 1% to US$1.11 billion. A 4% drop in domestic advertising revenue was attributed to higher pricing and lower ratings at certain networks. The company’s 43% drop in operating income. meanwhile, related to US$280 million in restructuring and programming charges.


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