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Commissioner Conversation: Nickelodeon – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 10:43am by Danny Stack

Tim Patterson is responsible for programme acquisition and development, content strategy, planning and scheduling, media planning, multi-platform content and broadcast operations for Nickelodeon’s portfolio of channels including its on-demand and multi-platform offering.

Takeaway

Tim’s favourite word during the Q&A was ‘opportunity’. He sees lots of opportunity to commission UK-centric programmes that fit Nickelodeon’s core brand values. It’s key to understand the brand before pitching ideas, whether it be short-form for the award-winning Nickelodeon app or setting foundations for something bigger.

 

Session Details

How Tim Works:

When Tim hears an idea he likes, he’ll share it with his international and US colleagues to get their feedback and approval. If he gets a resounding thumbs up from everyone, then – great! – he can take the idea forward. However, he does have the option of commissioning himself, collaborating with his team.

Examples of UK-centric shows include ‘Lily’s Driftwood Bay’ (just commissioned for a second series) and ‘Digby Dragon’. It’s not about competing against the US shows, it’s more about the quality of the idea, characters and story, and if they support the Nickelodeon brand. Audiences don’t differentiate between US and UK shows. ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom’ are good examples of quality local shows that have become global. Tim: “Peppa’s done a Downton in the States!”

What is the brand?

Kid/family driven but kids come first. Kids rules! Comedy. “If a show is a stick of rock, humour runs through it”. Humour is particularly important in a pitch. Fun and funny is what it’s all about!

Funding Models

Opportunities for international co-production. Tax breaks for animation in the UK are a big help. Sometimes shows come to Tim fully formed, ready to go, and so can become an acquisition. “There are so many ways to play these days.” There’s very much an open door policy to approach Tim with ideas, and he and his team try to get back within a 3 month period. Always open to ideas but “understand the brand!”

In the group Q&A session with the other execs, Tim added that what’s important in developing an idea is to engage with you (the producer/creator etc). He also highlighted one of the worst pitches he got, which was at Mip Jnr where someone came up to him and said: “OK, ignore the soft porn & erotica, but here’s a few ideas that might appeal to tweens”. Think we can all learn something there!

For full details of the speakers, check out the Session Guide here.

Danny Stack

About the author

Danny Stack

Nelson Nutmeg Pictures, Screenwriter

Danny’s writing credits include 'Octonauts', CBBC’s 'Roy', and the new 'Thunderbirds' for CITV. He also writes/directs, and is in pre-production for a live-action children's film called Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? Danny is known for his popular blog, Scriptwriting In The UK, which inspired him to set up the Red Planet Prize (a… Read more

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