Syahrizan Mansor | Vice President of Nickelodeon Brand, Asia, Viacom International Media Networks
As the Vice President of a prominent media conglomerate, Syahrizan highlights key facets about Nickelodeon’s activities, and shares about the company’s innovative approaches towards an evolving industry.
In collaboration with the Asian Festival of Children’s content (AFCC), and the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA), Media Connex speaks with Syahrizan Mansor, the Vice President of Nickelodeon Brand, Asia, Viacom International Media Networks.
Image Source: Syahrizan Mansor
Who are Nickelodeon’s target audience, and what kind of shows do you intend to produce for them?
Nickelodeon’s target audience are aged 2 – 15 years old and we break them down into two groups. We offer Nick Jr. as ‘The Smart Place to Play’ for our preschool fans (age 2 – 6 years) and their parents. Our preschool shows are both smart and fun on Nick Jr., powered by great stories, relatable characters, meaningful, character- led curriculum that has been our hallmark. And we offer co-viewing experiences between preschool fans and their parents.With the older age group (age 6 – 10 years), we offer content such as animation and live action series. Our animation series appeal to a broad audience, are long-lasting and are driven by comedy/humour. Think SpongeBob SquarePants. The show was launched in 1999 and is still going strong.
We also have a strong library of live action series and we find that our live action series continues to grow strong in the region. The shows touch on issues that are real and many kids can relate to these issues like sibling rivalry, being open to new ideas, building relationships with friends and families, and surviving school. There are heartwarming moments in the stories and plenty of laughs.
How are Nickelodeon’s products different from its competitors’?
At Nickelodeon, everything we do starts with kids first. Our extensive research shows us that funny rules with kids. Kids like things that are gross and they find it funny. It is about being mischievous and having fun, craziness and surprises. Our content also reflect the honest realities of being a kid (e.g. surviving school, exams, parents) – that it’s not all fairy-tales. Being a kid includes being awkward, silly, and messy and Nickelodeon embraces that.
What current trends can you observe in the Media industry, and how is Nickelodeon addressing these trends?
- From a content perspective, we are seeing several known series in the 80’s, 90’s or early 2000 series being made into a reboot series e.g. Alvinnn & the Chipmunk (currently on Nickelodeon channels worldwide). We are also seeing movies being made into series.
- At Nickelodeon, we are constantly looking for new creative ideas and content that could come from anywhere around the globe – whether this is done in schools, through an individual person, animation studios and more. Over the last few years, we launched a global animated shorts programme, designed to identify and develop new animation talent and provide a platform for new content for our audience. This enables us to also work with individuals, writers, schools, etc.
- Everything that we create or produce, we want to create it once and publish it everywhere – across platforms (channel, VOD, theatrical, live events, etc.) and we want to amplify the presence of these IPs across social media, recreation, partnerships, etc.
- We know kids today are consuming content across multiple platforms and devices. Hence, we are thrilled to debut Nickelodeon Play and Nick Jr. Play apps for the first time in Asia, via our collaboration with Singtel in Singapore. These apps allow kids to connect with the world of Nickelodeon and access content such as shows, short form videos, games and exclusive content at their fingertips.
Image Source: Nickelodeon Studios
What is the difference between the content that is premiered in the West (E.g. USA and UK), Southeast Asia?
A lot of kids’ animation and preschool content from U.S./ U.K. travel into Southeast Asia markets. The stories are universal and relatable to kids everywhere.
Do you use different marketing strategies across these regions?
Yes. It’s very important for us to know our audience well and tailor some of our marketing strategies/ execution to fit in the local audience needs.
What are Nickelodeon’s future plans?
We love the kids business, and want to continue to extend the ways we reach kids across platforms and on ground
- Through great content and characters, which can come from anywhere. We’ll continue to look out for the next big property for Nickelodeon and develop new IPs.
- From there, we bring about big events like Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and on-the-ground events such as Nickelodeon Slime Cup in Singapore, China and the Philippines.
- Through new apps and games like the Nickelodeon Play app, Nick Jr. Play app and gaming apps like SpongeBob Games Station app.
- And, increasingly off-screen. In February 2016, we officially opened our first themed attraction in Asia with Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon at Sunway Lagoon, Malaysia. In December 2015, we announced plans to develop the first Nickelodeon-branded attraction in China, at the Foshan Cultural Eco-coast Project as part of a strategic cooperation agreement between Sanshui New Town Management Committee and Elite Global Group. Last month in April, we launched a partnership with Kidzania Singapore which includes Nickelodeon Acting Academy and Theatre. Kids get to role-play and perform on stage as one of their favourite Nickelodeon characters.
The Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) is an annual festival in Singapore that celebrates and promotes the creation and appreciation of children’s books and content, with a focus on Asian themes.
It will be held on 25 – 29 MAY 2016 at the National Library Building, Singapore.