Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Nickelodeon to Produce Two 'SpongeBob' Spin-Offs for Netflix

Nickelodeon will be producing a brand-new music-based SpongeBob SquarePants spin-off centered on Squidward Tentacles, the malcontent anthropomorphic octopus as part of the network's freshly announced multi-year output deal with Netflix, The New York Times has learned.

Update (2/20/2020) - ViacomCBS confirmed today during the company's forth quarter 2019 earnings call that Nickelodeon is producing a SpongeBob spin-off for Netflix!:

"Nickelodeon, you know it is number one kids brand, big hits like SpongeBob. The reality is our linear platform only reaches 40% of kids today, but we can reach beyond that.

Update (3/11/2020) - ViacomCBS has confirmed that the SpongeBob spin-offs Nickelodeon is producing for Netflix will be able to air on its own channels once Netflix’s rights expire!

Update (3/6) - Nickelodeon are producing TWO feature-length SpongeBob spin-off movies for Netflix!

So what we are doing as an example with Nick, is we are putting a spinoff of SpongeBob on Netflix that will drive direct earnings, but also connect these characters with new fans, benefiting the franchise and related businesses like consumer products or future theatrical films.

And also maybe idea reverts back, because remember it is a rental, not a sale."

Announced today, Nickelodeon's new pact with Netflix will see the network produce original animated feature films and television series - based both on the Nickelodeon library of characters as well as all-new intellectual properties - for kids and families around the world.

No further details of the planned Squidward project were revealed.

Squidward Tentacles is SpongeBob’s not-so-happy neighbor who would do anything to get away from him. Unfortunately for Squidward, he and SpongeBob are also coworkers at the Krusty Krab. This clarinet-playing job-hating cashier just wants some peace and quiet. Squidward is often a very cynical, selfish individual and displays an unjustified air of superiority. He lives a a Easter Island, located between SpongeBob's pineapple home and Patrick's rock, and is voiced by Rodger Bumpas.

The project will be the second announced SpongeBob SquarePants spin-off, following the announcement of Kamp Koral, a original spinoff series of the network's iconic hit which follow a 10-year-old SpongeBob SquarePants during his summer at sleepaway camp. The series is set to premiere during summer 2020.

The news comes as Nickelodeon is looking at ways to expand the SpongeBob universe for fresh new stories. "Literally my second or third day here, I was asked to go to a SpongeBob season 12 or 13 pickup meeting. I asked a lot of questions. What I realized is that we’ve made a lot of shows over many, many years, but the shows basically stayed the same. We had all these great characters in the world of SpongeBob, but we never individually explored their origin stories or their histories or put them in their own environments," Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins recently told TV KIDS.

SpongeBob SquarePants, which was recently greenlit for a 13th season, has reigned as the number-one kids’ animated series on TV for the last 17 years, while generating a universe of beloved characters, pop culture catchphrases and memes, theatrical releases, consumer products, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical which is now touring North America and a global fan base. SpongeBob SquarePants is seen in more than 208 countries and territories, translated in 55+ languages, and averages more than 100 million total viewers every quarter. SpongeBob SquarePants is created by Stephen Hillenburg and produced by Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif.

Nickelodeon's is currently in the midst of the network's "Best Year Ever", a year-long global celebration of one of the most iconic TV series and characters ever created. The “Best Year Ever” launched with the premiere of “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” an original mixed live-action and animated special earlier this summer, and leads up to the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies theatrical, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, coming May 2020.

From Media Play News:

It’s a ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ World at ViacomCBS

“SpongeBob SquarePants” may be an American animated comedy television series originally created for Nickelodeon, but the series about a sea sponge and his aquatic friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom is also a distribution goldmine for ViacomCBS.

So much so that CEO Bob Bakish used the cartoon character to underscore how the media giant hopes to monetize content assets across emerging distribution platforms.

Speaking March 4 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom confab in San Francisco, Bakish outlined how “SpongeBob” IP helps link ViacomCBS’s three business units: linear television, video streaming and feature film.

Bakish said the cartoon franchise is currently distributed globally on television, including serving “roughly 40% of all children” in the United States. “SpongeBob” is distributed on both ad-supported Pluto TV and subscription-based CBS All Access and Noggin.

“That provides additional reach as we build out our assets,” Bakish said. “In the studio business, ‘SpongeBob’ will debut its third feature film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run in the second quarter. That film has tested very well and provides incremental reach and incremental monetization.”

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) generated $140 million at the worldwide box office, including $85 million in the United states. A sequel, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) generated $325 million at the global box office, including $163 million in the U.S.

Bakish said ViacomCBS is producing two feature-length “SpongeBob” spin-off movies for Netflix, representing a “profitable, low-risk rental business with set margins,” which he said translates to content ownership for separate distribution down the road, including consumer products and recreation.

“So, we’re convinced that both an O&O [owned and operated] and a third-party studio strategy is absolutely right for ViacomCBS,” Bakish said. “We believe that maximizing the value of our content asset, that is what you see us executing in 2020 and beyond.”

At Paramount Pictures, Bakish said the focus is to improve content ROI, which he said means a balanced release slate and co-financed movies. Pending releases include: A Quiet Place Part II and Top Gun: Maverick.

The studio in the most-recent fiscal period generated more revenue from home entertainment than theatrical distribution. Bakish dismissed that “aside” and pointed to Paramount’s improved growth in revenue and earnings over the previous eight fiscal quarters.

He said the studio has ramped up television content production, a business that didn’t exist five years ago. The segment is now producing 27 series, including “13 Reasons Why” for Netflix and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon Prime Video.

Bakish said Paramount’s “pay 1 window,” the period in which content rights are available to premium cable networks as Starz and HBO and subscription streamers like Netflix, has “tremendous” value.

“We’ve certainly gotten calls about it,” he said. “At the same time it certainly has strategic value to us.”


From ViacomCBS:

“Maximizing the Value of Our Content Assets”

Bakish was resolute that ViacomCBS’ core value hinges on content. In an era where media competitors are keeping their programming behind proprietary streaming platforms, ViacomCBS will continue to produce content for its own platforms as well as those operated by third parties. In other words, Bakish believes the value of its IP transcends its own platforms.

Consider what ViacomCBS has done with SpongeBob SquarePants. The television show appears on linear cable and streaming platforms. Paramount Pictures’ The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will hit theaters in May. Nickelodeon is also slated to produce two SpongeBob spinoffs for Netflix—which ViacomCBS can air on its own channels once Netflix’s rights expire. The company also makes money from SpongeBob consumer products and recreation. The net effect: the value of SpongeBob will only increase as it reaches more and more people across multiple platforms.

More Nick: 'The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage!' to Debut on Nickelodeon in December 2019!

Originally published: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 19:35 GMT.

H/T: Anime Superhero Forum /@kanc, Nickandmore!; Encyclopedia SpongeBobia, Seeking Alpha.
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