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Press Release: Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group Launches ParentsConnect.com

by on September 21, 2006

Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group Launches ParentsConnect.com Public Beta – A New Online Community Designed Exclusively for Parents


— First Brand Developed out of Newly Formed MTVN Kids and Family Group

— Nissan Charter Sponsor of Site’s Public Beta Launch

After 27 years of serving kids, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group is expanding to also serve parents with the public beta launch of ParentsConnect.com. Developed exclusively for parents and caregivers of kids of all ages, ParentsConnect is a new online community that will connect parents to each other and to the advice they seek in an easy-to-use format. The announcement was made by Cyma Zarghami, President of Nickelodeon and Head of MTVN Kids and Family Group.

“The first generation of ‘Nick kids’ are now having families of their own. They know and trust us, and we want to serve them as parents just as we served them as kids,” said Zarghami. “ParentsConnect puts parents in touch with the real parenting experts–each other.”

“This is another step in our company’s online strategy to super-serve passionate, targeted audiences…in this case, parents… with engaging and immersive new experiences,” said Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks. You connect to people and information that really speak to parenthood and family, with Nickelodeon’s personality and humor.
With many personalized features, ParentsConnect enables users to search for parent-to-parent advice and activities by their kids’ ages and stages, city/location and personal interests. Each parent can develop a unique, customized home page that updates dynamically each visit with local activities, relevant news, discussion postings and more. Parents can also use discussion boards to connect with each other and share parenting advice, experiences or laughs.

The ParentsConnect communities are led by Host Parents, a team of 20 trained moderators who are actual parents, chosen for their backgrounds, life experiences and writing abilities. Each Host Parent will provide member parents with assistance in using the site, maintain a personal blog, and recommend articles or links to useful information. In addition, ParentsConnect members may set up their own blogs and profile pages, as well as search member profiles and recommend articles or links to information they consider useful to other parents.

“We designed ParentsConnect to be the most useful parenting site,” said Kyra Reppen, General Manager of NickJr.com and ParentsConnect. “With distinct features such as localized content through GoCityKids, the ability for members to build their own customized home pages and choose only what’s relevant to them, and advice that comes from real parents with first-hand experience, rather than professionals, ParentsConnect is truly unique.”
ParentsConnect’s public beta launches with an online advertising campaign and charter sponsorships from marketers such as Nissan North America. The ParentsConnect site will feature display advertising as well as contextual, integrated and direct marketing opportunities, developed and sponsored by various marketers. OMD handled the media buying and planning for the Nissan/ParentsConnect deal.

“As Nissan launches its next generation of vehicles–including the family-friendly 2007 Nissan Quest–we strive to identify innovative ways to reach our customers,” said Jan Thompson, vice president of marketing, Nissan. “Through our partnership with ParentsConnect, we’re excited to associate ourselves with content that has a high level of engagement for our consumers. We also hope to reach parents who are early adopters and will identify with Nissan’s forward-thinking technology and design of its products.”

The GoCityKids website, recently acquired by Nickelodeon, will be featured on ParentsConnect as the online guide to local family destinations, activities and events. With a coast-to-coast team of local editors, and many contributions from users, it’s a parents’ local lifeline to kid-friendly things to do in their area. GoCityKids.com offers more breadth and depth within categories than any other city guide for parents, and features information on top destinations for family travel including San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, among others. Under Nick, GoCityKids has broadened its reach from 14 to 20 cities.

In fourth quarter 2006, ParentsConnect will launch ParentsConnect TV, and will become one of the first sites of its kind to include broadband video with user submitted content. It will also roll out local discussion boards, user-created polls and clubs, newsletters based on specific community interests, from recipes to travel, as well as enhanced social networking features.

The ParentsConnect brand joins Nickelodeon/MTV Networks Kids & Family Group parent and family-targeted offerings and brands including Nick at Nite, Nick Jr. preschool television, Nick Jr. Parents TV, Nick Jr. Family Magazine and the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn. In August 2005, the broadband video service Nick Jr. Parents TV launched on Nickjr.com, and has since averaged approximately 14.5 million streams for second quarter 2006. Built exclusively for the parent audience and intended to bring Nick Jr.’s parenting content to life through video, Nick Jr. Parents TV features playful “how-to” parent-child do-together activities, backstage peeks at the world of Nick Jr. and more.

Nick Jr. Family Magazine, in its seventh year, is the fastest growing magazine in the Parenting category. Published nine times a year, Nick Jr. Family Magazine provides today’s busy parents of kids age 0-11 with insights and smart ideas to enhance their role as a parent. The magazine offers engaging creative activities and ideas for spending time as a family, the latest information on child development as well as news on family products and travel.

The Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn in Orlando, Florida, celebrated its first anniversary this summer. The Nick Hotel allows kids to experience the thrill and excitement of the Nickelodeon brand. From the themed bedrooms to nightly “slimings” in Studio Nick, Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn(R) leaves kids asking to come back year after year.

Nickelodeon, in its 27th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for eleven consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NYSE:VIA and VIA.B).

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