While many major awards shows have seen ratings declines the last few years, Nickelodeon’s annual Kids Choice Awards seems to only get bigger. That, along with the fact its audience sees little distinction between their TV screens and their computers and mobile devices, has spurred the network to stream its “pre-show” live for the first time when it rolls out the “orange carpet” on Saturday.
Though viewers won’t have the choice of watching the awards program online, Nick will keep the streams going after the pre-show with constant “behind the scenes” looks during the main broadcast.
Among the Kids Choice Awards other firsts this time out:
— Mobile WAP and a mobile app will feature live streaming and in-show polling
— Fans are voting for who they think should win Kids’ Choice Awards on Facebook for the first time (Nick has more than 56 million fans on Facebook
— Nick has created a special website for users who access the webcast over the iPad.
— Kmart’s sponsorship includes a Nick.com channel all its own.
While this is just one night, Nick has given the show a six-week lead-up on the web. Aside from the fact that agreements with cable companies keep Nick from streaming the entire broadcast live on the web, Nick’s goal for all the digital moves its been doing the past few weeks has been to steer viewers to the broadcast.
“We have two main aspects of our digital initiatives,” said Steve Youngwood, Nickelodeon’s EVP of Digital. “The main thing is to enhance the on-air TV experience. The second is to create new internet experiences, especially around viewers’ voting, which is the primary part of the experience.”
Last year, the Kids Choice Awards received 118 million votes for its various categories. As of early last week, voting on Nick had already surpassed that number and is now up to 140 million votes tallied.
Aside from the iPad and smartphones, because Nick’s core audience ranges in age from seven to 12 (though there’s enough for tweens, teens and parents to be interested), one other device that doesn’t get as much attention is also central to its online efforts: the iPod touch. “The iPod touch is viewed as a second computer for kids eight to 10, especially as a gaming platform,” Youngwood said. “That device has influenced some of the things we’ve done.”
One thing the awards show will not be doing is “check-ins” to the broadcast. Lately, services like GetGlue, which counted 16 million Oscar check-ins across Twitter and Facebook last month. “It’s not because we don’t think [entertainment check-ins] are a good idea, but we wanted to focus on a few priorities,” Youngwood said. “We wanted to concentrate on having viewers interact throughout the broadcast, not just once.”