It’s tough to gauge how many of those 7.6 million viewers came from Fred’s online fanbase versus the Nickelodeon marketing machine, but the premiere definitely beat the previous Saturday’s premiere of an iCarly episode guest-starring Jane Lynch, which received 5.9 million total viewers (and still managed to be the top kid and tween program of the week). Based on these ratings, Fred is now the number one TV cable movie of the year across all networks.
Fred the Movie, which this writer has not yet had the pleasure of watching (mostly because her editors have yet to send her that bottle of vodka she demanded), was originally meant for theatrical distribution but instead got picked up by Nickelodeon to potentially kick off a new franchise — one that’s now looking likely, thanks to those numbers.
Fred videos hosted on Nick.com also received 1.8 million streams prior to Saturday, but those are nothing compared to what’s been happening on Fred’s actual YouTube channel. The content there does not overlap with videos produced for Nickelodeon (with the exception of a a clip from the film featuring John Cena as Fred’s father), but it’s all cleverly tied into promoting the film — and racking up millions of views along the way. Not 7.8 million views on a single — not yet — but consistently in the one to two million range.
The latest video to drop is meant more to promote Cruikshank’s new album than the film — because that’s right, a Fred album dropped last week, which includes the single Who’s Ready to Party. Fun fact about this video: It was directed by Kevin Arbouet, who also co-directed some of the earliest Obama Girl music videos for Barely Political. Other fun fact about this video: Fred raps. Final fun fact about this video: It’s currently at 414,000 views, which makes it a bit of an underperformer, but that’s sure to climb.
Fred the Movie isn’t available anywhere online, but the film will have an encore this Friday, and will be available on DVD Oct. 5. Cruikshank is reaching a bigger audience than ever before thanks to Nickelodeon, but there’s a clear crossover affect occurring. For younger audiences, there’s simply no differentiation between a web video star like Fred and someone from a mainstream background. All they care about is the fact that he makes them laugh.
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